Income support suspension

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    Chris Cook

    We have a joint working fraud investigation with DWP on which an Income Support Decision Maker has made a decision to suspend Income Support.

    I cannot find anything in HB/CTB regs about how the LA should deal with a suspension of a passported benefit.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction for Regs, guidance etc as cannot find in the HB/CTB Guidance Manual and other reference books.

    Do we have to make our own decision independant of the IS suspension?

    As a further point on this matter can the IS suspension remain indefinitely or does it have to undergo a regular review by the DWP decision maker?

    Again if anyone has any Regs or guidance would be most grateful.

    Chris Cook

    Kevin D

    Doesn’t DAR 11 cover it? In particular, para 2(a)(ii)?

    True, you’d have a stronger hand it you can get the DWP to say why there is a doubt, but if there is a doubt over IS entitlement, there is surely a doubt about the circumstances of the clmt (income? capital? household? etc).

    And, in the circumstances, there is nothing wrong in asking the CLMT why there is a doubt about his IS – while reminding him/her in the same letter of their duty to notify the LA of changes in circs.


    Chris Cook

    Kevin, thank you for the above.

    We know the reason why IS is suspended as the claimant has income coming into her bank account from 2001-2006 that she will not account for. 2 IUC’s carried out, 2nd no comment. The matter is moving on.

    One of the problems I have with the suspension of IS is that the investigation started in Jan 06 and neither IS or the LA have upto date information on the bank account since end Feb 06. If we do not have the current information how can the IS decision maker make a decision on current entitlement? The LA have now requested upto date bank statements but these have not yet been provided.

    The claimant has a social worker who is now asking about the payment of benefits as the LA have issued a Notice Seeking Possession for rent arrears and a decision is likely to be made in the next two weeks in respect of possession proceedings.

    The DWP investigator is in the process of obtaining details of all the cheques paid into this lady’s bank account over the last 5 years but this may take months, to get all this information together from the Operational Intelligence Unit.

    No appeals have been made about the suspension of either IS or HB/CTB at present but I wonder if she could/should do so.

    As the fraud manager I am not the person making the benefit decisions but I want to see the LA get this right in respect of benefits and welfare considerations.

    Any further comments would be appreciated.

    Chris Cook

    Alistair A

    Have you tried A2/97. It gave some guidance about suspensions etc. Not sure it’ll help though.

    Kevin D

    I would be wary of any circulars pre July 2001 on suspensions – that was when the new DARs came in and the rules on suspensions were substantially changed.

    If the LA has itself asked for evidence, you also have DAR 13 at your disposal. In turn, DAR 14 can be applied.

    There is no right of appeal against suspension (because it is not a “relevant decision”). Although, if a suspension was unreasonable, it is conceivable that a clmt could seek a Judicial Review to get the claim desuspended.

    Based on the info given, I’d maintain the suspension until the DWP investigation is finalised. As the clmt has refused to identify the payments, that provides good grounds for a suspension as any undisclosed income could clearly affect IS entitlement which, in turn, may substantially affect HB/CTB.



    I agree with Kevin.

    But I would add, I think it might be helpful if you behave like a joined-up authority here. Your housing management colleagues will look foolish in court if the Council applies for possession on the basis of rent arrears arising from its non-appealable refusal to pay HB. Possession action is premature in my view until the question of the claimant’s entitlement to HB for the period under investigation has been determined.

    Kevin D

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