ETD – Termination and Adverse Inference

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    Me and my performance manager (PM) have bashed our heads together on this one and as there are still some disagreements. I'm hoping the HBINFO community can clarify the situation in regards to terminations after 1 month of suspension and adverse inference decisions due to no response.



    ETD received 04.03.2013 advising JSA(IB) has ended on 14.02.2013 due to claimant starting work.

    Claim suspended on 09.03.2013.

    No response received within 1 calendar month.

    No entitlement to HBRO (ext. payment)


    My PM is of the understanding that we just need to apply an adverse inference (decision) to apply an assumed income level WEF 18.02.2013 (Mon following JSA(IB) termination. He does not believe a termination decision needs to be given too.


    My understanding is the same but that we do need to give notification that the claim has been terminated, i.e. from the paid to date (for HB) and suspension date (for CTB). My wording would be something along the lines of:


    "Your claim for HB has been terminated from (paid to date) and CTB from (suspension date) because you have failed to provide a response to the Council's request within 1 calendar month of your benefit being suspended"




    "Your claim for HB and CTB has been superseded from 18th February 2013 because your Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based) has stopped due to you starting work. Unfortunately, you no longer qualify for benefit because your income is too high to qualify. This is known as an adverse inference (decision). Because you have failed to provide evidence of your earnings it has been assumed that your earnings are too high to qualify for benefit".


    The notification would include a breakdown schedule and appeal rights.


    Who is right? Or shame us both by saying we are both wrong, if that's the case.


    My other question is:

    If I am right, are we not essentially giving two decisions and if so, should we record 2 decision statistics? This is the question that bought to light the conflict of our understandings!


    Some thoughts from Peter Barker on a previous thread:
    “I have often wondered whether you can make a decision that both supersedes/revises from an earlier date and then adds termination for good measure later on. I think the revision/supersession on adverse inference grounds pulls the rug from under the termination – there is nothing left to terminate.”

    Can this claim be terminated before date of suspension

    I think if you terminate first, you can then supersede from an earlier date. But if you’ve already superseded to NIL, there is nothing left to terminate.

    Regarding notification, the important thing is that the decision is clearly communicated to the claimant. I would keep it simple:
    “We previously notified that your claim had been suspended from DATE
    …Since you have not provided the requested items, an inference has been made that ___ and we have decided that you no longer qualify from DATE
    …this means you have been overpaid Housing Benefit. The overpayment is calculated as follows…”


    That’s great clarification, thank you Michael! I guess the win is in the wording.

    The orgins of my understanding go back to an appeal received where we had made an adverse decision which nil qualified a claim but our notification letter never stated the claim had terminated. The claimant assumed that if they qualified again within 13 weeks they wouldn’t need to reclaim.

    Anyway, I don’t wish to digress into this…

    That is clear enough to me that we do not need to terminate but it is important our notification letters make it clear the claim is essentially “closed”.

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