Good Cause?

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  • #37939
    helevans
    Participant

    We have an appeal from a lady whose backdate has been declined. The basis of her appeal is that she didn’t claim from dec 2010 to feb 2011 because she cannot read and write very well and was too embarrassed to ask for help. She has just split up from her partner who used to help with previous claims for benefit in a different area. She has claimed IS at the relevant time but no app recd via the DWP. She says she didn’t know anyone in this area who could help her with her HB. Her landlord helped her complete the form after his return from Holiday.

    Has good cause been shown??

    Your thoughts would be appreciated, thanks

    #106772
    helevans
    Participant

    Sorry – to update she didnt claim I.S at the relevant time she phoned them to let them know she had moved. This didnt prompt her to make a claim via them and she thought it would be automatic that her claim for hb would be made at new address via DWP.

    #106773
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    [quote=helevans]The basis of her appeal is that she didn’t claim from dec 2010 to feb 2011 because she cannot read and write very well and was too embarrassed to ask for help[/quote] Any evidence of this? I would be inclined toward “good cause”. From your post [“she didn’t know anyone in this area “] I’m assuming the previous HB claim was outside your borough? If not it’s just a late notified change.

    #106777
    helevans
    Participant

    The only evidence we have is that her landlord has completed her app and she has had others wirte her letters to us. Her last claim was in another autority, she moved from there as she was fleeing her ex which explains why she doesnt have a support system here.

    #106779
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    I think I would contact the previous LA and see what kind of info they have, if they are willing to share, and then take it from there. If she has the same history and needds a support system then I would be looking to award the backdate.

    #106781
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    Does her inability to read and write prevent her from picking up a phone?

    She knew she needed to claim, she knew she would be eligible – is this not a similar line to inability to speak English not being sufficient?…

    #106783
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    [quote=jerrynash]Does her inability to read and write prevent her from picking up a phone?

    She knew she needed to claim, she knew she would be eligible – is this not a similar line to inability to speak English not being sufficient?…[/quote]

    Well, they are hinderances that need to be considered, “Good cause” is a matter of fact that needs to be determined by taking everything into account and that builds you the complete picture.

    #106788
    Anonymous
    Guest

    With modern claim processes for people receiving both DWP primary benefits and HB, there is supposed to be a fool-proof “tell-us-once” system in place. Reg 83 seems to get longer every month with yet more paragraphs inserted to deal with the introduction of enhanced contact procedures. I would not be surprised if one of those paragraphs applied here. The one I am thinking of in particular is Reg 83(4AC) in conjunction with paras (4C) to (4DA): what you might have here is a defective HB claim made by telephone at the same time as a change of circs was reported for IS purposes. You should now request the supporting evidence to remedy the defect and there is no need for good cause.

    #106795
    Andi M
    Participant

    Without all the details it is always difficult to say for sure.

    Remember with ‘good clause’ we must consider if it was reasonable for ‘the customer’ to act of fail to act as they did. In most cases where literacy is an issue, it is reasonable that customers make a phone call or a visit to a customer access point. However, what is reasonable for customers in general is largely irrelevant, it is the circumstances fot this customer which is important.

    Are there any other reasons as to why they might not have contacted you?

    She states she was too embarassed to ask for help. Thats reasonable, especially moving to a new area, having split from the major area of support in dealing with these matters (her ex-partner).

    So rather than looking at the literacy issue as good cause, was it reasonable for this lady, taking all her circumstances into account, to fail to claim on time.

    #106796
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    [quote=Peter Barker]With modern claim processes for people receiving both DWP primary benefits and HB, there is supposed to be a fool-proof “tell-us-once” system in place[/quote] Not holding my breath.

    If Peter’s analysis is correct then, agree, it would not be a backdate issue. BUT it all depends, was a claim made??

    #106798
    helevans
    Participant

    Im afraid not, she did notify I/S but no claim. I think i will go down the route of not being able to read or write and lack of support due to fleeing her home/area and backdate on this basis.

    Thanks for everyone’s input though it has been v helpful.

    #106853
    d-stainsby
    Participant

    I agree with Peter Barker, but will go further, because if no claim was made and she had just informed the DWP of the change of address, that may well be because the call centre worker did not go on to advise her what to do next, but was simply looking at the queue and so wanted to get onto the next call. Poor treatment by the call centre could of itself amount to good cause.

    If we professionals are unsure as to whether a valid claim has been made, and the claimant has the same information as us, and may well have literacy problems as well, then she may well have believed she did have a valid claim.

    This in my book amounts to good cause though a mistaken belief raesonably held.

    #106983
    Clive Hayward
    Participant

    I have to say that based on the claimant’s explanation (which is not unconvincing) I’d pay it all day long! The delay is not particularly lengthy, in the scheme of things. As Peter said, there’s every chance that it could be paid under Reg 83 anyway, but in answer to the question: yes, I would definitely accept good cause.

    #106991
    Sean Doak
    Participant

    When someone informs Income Support by phone of a change of address, they have a standard form that they have to run through. Amongst other things, the claimant is asked about the tenure of their previous and new addresses, whether they claim HB/CTB and whether they want to claim it at their new address.

    From this, it would not be unreasonable for the claimant to assume that they are making a claim for HB, or that the relevant HB department will be notified of the change…

    #107037
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Indeed Sean, but it’s not just a question of it being [u]reasonable to assume[/u] she was making a claim for good cause purposes – there is every chance she [b]was[/b] in fact MAKING A CLAIM! Reg 83 allows HB to be claimed by telephone where a parallel DWP process is also conducted by telephone.

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