end of PC(G) ?duty to notify L.A

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  • #22689
    irene lowe
    Participant

    I have a claimant who in Aug 05 was advised he would received PC(G) , he provided this notification to us along with details of his occupational pension and SRP all were payable from his 65 th birthady at the end of July 05. We awarded benefit on the basis of his PC(G) entitlement

    Three months later he is advised that his occupational pension has been missed from the pension services calculation and on review he is not entitled to PC(G) at all, unfortunatly he does not notify us of this change until we request he completes a postal review in August 2007, hence large O/P is calculted.

    Thats the background now for my question- In Ward and Zebedee( page 291 of current edition) in table 17.3 it says the claimant need not notify the begining or end of PC (either kind) and in the footnote it states ‘it is the DWP’s duty and no-one else’s to notify the authority of the change’

    I have read the regulations indicated in the margin and cannot quite see where this comes from, I even raised it with a tribunal chairman who was equally confused – my only thought is that as it is not listed in the things that must be reported, by its ommission from that list means it does not need to be reported ( if you catch my drift)

    Can any one help with a further refernce in the regulations to clarify this or perhaps a commisioners decision

    #9136
    damo
    Participant

    hmmm… i am having trouble finding out what zebedee means in relation to the regs as well. As far as i can see rg 69 states that the claimant has a duty to notify the LA of a change any circs which they might reasonably know would affect their benefit. I can kind of see the arguement that they may not need to notify the authority about an award of pc starting as per the relevant/qualifying benefit rules but i reckon they are still under a duty to notify us about it ending. i found CH/0601/2004 seems to support this.

    #9137
    Anonymous
    Guest

    If you look further down reg 69 then it says at para 6
    [quote:d911b12b4e]6) A person on housing benefit who is also on state pension credit must report—
    (a) changes to his tenancy, but not changes in the amount of rent payable to a housing authority;
    (b) changes affecting the residence or income of any non-dependant normally residing with the claimant or with whom the claimant normally resides;
    (c) any absence from the dwelling which exceeds or is likely to exceed 13 weeks. [/quote:d911b12b4e]

    Para 7 then refers to changes to be reported when getting Savings Credit only.
    However, after that, para 8 says [quote:d911b12b4e] (8 ) A person who is on housing benefit and on state pension credit need only report to the designated office the changes specified in paragraphs (6) and (7). [/quote:d911b12b4e]

    I think therefore the argument is that as this is not specified as a reportable change, then it is not reportable. 8)

    #9138
    damo
    Participant

    oh yes i see they slipped that in at the end… but if they have cancelled his pc then he isn’t currently “on” pc and hb – unless he is now getting pcsc only…

    #9139
    irene lowe
    Participant

    just for your info his PC(G) and PC(S) were ended at the same time – the tribunal chairman compared the 60+ C of C regs and the same regs relating to JSA(IB) and I.S, Reg 88, in his opinion the omission of the reference to the begining and ending of PC(G) in reg 69 (HB60+) appears to be an unintentional oversight – he has adjurned for a couple of weeks pending further investigation by all.

    #9140
    Anonymous
    Guest

    No-one has mentioned Reg 60 yet. This operates in tandem with the limited reporting duties described above and is designed to ensure that all comings and goings in Pension Credit cases are ETD-driven and the claimant is never penalised for DWP delay in issuing the notification to the Council. It is a very important regulation because it has the effect of making the overpayment go away – THERE IS NO OVERPAYMENT until the DWP issues an ETD. No claimant error, no DWP error, no nothing: the change of circs simply doesn’t happen in HB until the ETD arrives.

    Reg 60 does make specific reference to the commencement of a Pension Credit award, so I think we can infer from that reference that there is no duty to report the commencement of Pension Credit under Reg 69: as soon as the claimant gets Pension Credit, he or she is “on” PC and subject to the restricted reporting duties.

    It is true that Reg 60 does not specifically refer to the cessation of Pension Credit, as distinct from a reduction in the amount of it. Is cessation a subset of reduction, or is it something different? And in Reg 69, does the meaning of a person “on” PC for reporting purposes stretch to include the moment at which PC ends? I don’t know – neither Regulation is terribly clear about this. I think the intention is probably to say that the complete cessation of Pension Credit is supposed to be dealt with in the same way as a reduction that leaves residual enitlement and that the DWP will take care of the notification side of things.

    The other unclear aspect of Reg 60 is what is supposed to happen if, in a case like this, there has been no change in the claimant’s circumstances since the award of PC, but the PC award has been revised (for official error in this case I assume). Does this lead to an overpayment of HB (albeit non-recoverable insofar as it goes back before the date on which DWP cancelled – there I’ve said the c-word – Pension Credit); or is there no effect on HB until the ETD arrives, as in other Reg 60 scenarios?

    I think your Tribunal needs to direct itself on all these matters before deciding the case. If it has not yet seen Reg 60, a supplementary submission should be prepared addressing that point and setting out the otions for interpretation.

    Personally I am not convinced by the Trinbunal’s interim suggestion of a drafting oversight. I think the difference in wording between the working age and pensioner regs is quite deliberate. The issues here are:

    – whether the end of PC is qualitatively different from a mere reduction in the context of both Regs 60 and 69
    – whether the revision of a PC decision is qualitatively different from a change of circumstance affecting PC for the purposes of Reg 60

    Finally, it is arguable that all of the above only applies to the HB decision in force at the time when the PC award was ended. More recent HB decisions have been made in ignorance of the material fact that the claimant was no longer getting Pension Credit. However, if the Tribunal concludes that the DWP has the primary responsibility for informing the Council about that, any overpayment would be DWP error.

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