Entitled to JSA or not?

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  • #38886
    twill
    Participant

    Following a joint fraud investigation a claimant’s JSA(IB) was revised to include partner’s part time earnings. These earnings nilled the award of JSA(IB) and created an overpayment.

    The claimant’s notification letter reads,
    ‘I am writing to tell you that following a decision made on…your entitlement will change.
    This means that from … to ….you are entitled to Income Based Jobseekers Allowance but this has been reassessed to take into account your partners undeclared earnings.
    As a consequence you have been overpaid Income Based Jobseekers Allowance.’

    The DM decision notice from the DWP shows the decision as REVISED and DECREASED – not disallowed or disqualified. The revised decision reads,
    ‘ Mr…remains entitled to Income Based JSA from …to … because the remunerative work exclusion does not apply, but earnings are to be attributed subject to the normal disregards.

    As a result Mr…has been overpaid Jobseekers Allowance.’

    My question is, do I revise the HB for the period in question based on the earnings? What exactly does ‘entitled to’ mean? Does there have to be an amount ‘in payment’?

    The period in question spans several years!

    #110075
    Kevin D
    Participant

    Was JSA(IB) actually nilled?

    The letter suggests there was still entitlement to JSA(IB), albeit reduced. For all periods there is still entitlement to JSA(IB), HB/CTB remains passported. The LA’s only concern will be for any periods not remaining passported – if there are no such periods, you have no work to do (apart from a bit of noting up and filing).

    If JSA(IB) entitlement has been determined as nil, HB/CTB must be reassessed for any / all affected periods based on the clmt’s true circumstances. If the clmt remains entitled to HB/CTB even with the higher income, that entitlement continues.

    #110083
    twill
    Participant

    Thanks Kevin. This is what is confusing – the claimant’s letter and DM decision is worded as in the posting, which to me suggests entitlement remains. However, the QB14 which details the overpayment details as follows:
    Incorrect weekly paid rate – £94.95 Correct weekly rate – £0.00 Excess – £94.95, in other words there is no entitlement at all!
    I should add that the above amounts and the overpayment cover the whole of the period JSA was awarded for.

    #110087
    Anonymous
    Guest

    In my opinion, if there is zero entitlement to JSA, they are not entitled to JSA.

    Comes up a lot in extended payment cases, eg:

    Extended payments nil JSA award

    #110090
    Kevin D
    Participant

    Having had experience of assisting in cases of alleged fraud where a passporting benefit such as IS or JSA(IB) has been at issue, I don’t think the information from the DWP can be relied on in its current form (one way or the other).

    I would advise writing to the DWP, setting out the conflicting information and asking for written confirmation of the following:

    a) whether any account has been made for any entitlement based on the true circumstances (possibly underlying entitlement – and yes, ULE does exist for other DWP bens); and

    b) if there was any actual (or underlying) entitlement to a passporting benefit, what periods was it for; and

    c) if there was no entitlement (actual or underlying), could that be confirmed.

    NB: The level of earnings in itself won’t necessarily end entitlement to a passporting benefit – it will depend on whether the clmt is in remunerative work (if so, nil IS/JSA(IB) irrespective of earnings) and, if not in remunerative work, whether the clmt’s overall income exceeds IS/JSA(IB) levels. Bear in mind that the meaning of “remunerative work” is different for IS/JSA(IB) when compared to HB/CTB.

    {Edited to add}: I agree with Michael.

    #110098
    Chris Robbins
    Participant

    Totally agree with Kevin. As it happens I have a similar scenario at the moment. Following a joint fraud investigation by DWP/LA into a living together allegation the DWP Investigator sent a bundle of evidence off to an IS Specialist Decision Maker. In a four page decision he declined to supersede as he was not satisifed the evidence established the LT, and sent it back to the Investigator.
    It appears that nobody could be bothered to actually read the Decision Notice. It got sent off for an O/P decision to be made and an O/P of the full amount of IS for the period of the alleged LT was calculated and notified. This decision and O/P notification was copied to the LA and we also superseded and removed HB/CTB. It was only on receipt of an appeal that I was forced to gently point out that no superseding decision had been made to end entitlement to IS.

    #110103
    Kevin D
    Participant

    Unfortunately Michael, I have assisted in cases where phrases such as “to take into account your partner’s earnings” has not necessarily been a reliable reflection of what has actually happened or not happened. Given the potential o/p is likely to be huge in this case, I would definitely seek confirmation.

    By analogy, LA letters sometimes say benefit has ended “because you have started work” when, in fact, there should still be entitlement….

    #110102
    Anonymous
    Guest

    In this case it does look like the DWP have properly reassessed JSA “to take into account your partners undeclared earnings” – so its not a case where actual or underlying entitlement has yet to be determined, or a superseding decision has not been properly made.

    Based on the original post, it seems to me to be another case of the DWP getting confused about the meaning of “entitled to”.

    “You are still entitled to JSA, except for the fact that your earnings are too high”

    #110105
    twill
    Participant

    Kevin, I’ve gone with your advice and requested confirmation from the DWP. Roll on Universal Credit!!

    #110110
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I suspect that the partner was working fewer than 24 hours, so whilst the claimant was not precluded from JSA by a simple stand-alone provision (remunerative work), the earnings then reduced the entitlement to nil.

    That fits the wording in the DM’s JSA decision.

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