Living on fresh air

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  • #22839
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Can anyone advise on this one-
    A joint owner of a property living with the other owner, her brother recieves Council tax Benefit , she does not claim any Social Security benefits. She has not had any income for five years until March of this year when her brother started to give her £35 per week house keeping money.
    We have asked all questions over the last five years regarding her income, she only recently declared the £35 per. The claim has been running on nil income for the past seven- how long can we continue to pay this.

    #9800
    aosulliv
    Participant

    How long is it reasonable to assume that she can live of £0.00.

    This should be looked at extremely urgently

    #9801
    Anonymous
    Guest

    We know this but our Fraud section are not interested in investigating.

    Is there any regulations that state if a person does not want to claim any state benefits and can’t provide a good enough reason for this we can exclude them from receiving Council Tax benefit.

    #9802
    Anonymous
    Guest

    No

    #9803
    Anonymous
    Guest

    If you are satisfied that she is being wholly supported by her brother, I can’t see why you don’t assess her on a nil income?

    #9804
    gerryg
    Participant

    No there isn’t any such provision cjd

    If you are that way inclined you could suspend on the grounds that there is a doubt as to continuing entitlement and ask her to prove what she has been living on and terminate if she is not forthcoming.

    You could go for notional income of what she could get if she applied but you’d have to be pretty sure of what she could apply for. Chances are it wouldn’t be very much anyway.

    She may have been living off savings but would have to have been pretty frugal to last 7 years on something that wasn’t sufficient to attract a tariff (if she ever declaired it). She could have been living on charitable or voluntary payments (tin of soup and a bread roll = £1 per day) from family or friends.

    #9805
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Her savings have gone up and down over the last five years although she has had no income! Her claim has been suspended on two previous occassions but has always ended up being reinstated as we can not prove she has other income.

    Thanks for all replies

    #9806
    andyrichards
    Participant

    I answer to the original question, are there any grounds to supercede or revise the original decision? (sorry, it’s another question!) I do not know all the circumstances but it seems to me that the claimant could conceivably be managing to live on a very low income if her brother is providing her meals and meeting all the bills.

    I can see why Fraud do not want to touch it; where would you start?

    #9807
    Anonymous
    Guest

    We can’t revise the original decision as there is no income to revise!
    That is the problem.

    #9808
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Sorry, but you can. You are revising the decision to assess on nil income.

    #9809
    Anonymous
    Guest

    My fraud section would relish this sort of case! We would run credit history checks for starters, approach OIU for Inland Revenue information and analyse all the bank statements etc with a view to establishing where any deposits have come from. If you did assume a notional income of at least IS level (and I don’t see why you shouldn’t) you will get no further forward as there would still be full benefit entitlement.

    #9810
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The case has previously been passed to Fraud but it did not score high enough to merit investigation.

    #9811
    Anonymous
    Guest

    [quote:0dcafad48f]tin of soup and a bread roll = £1 per day[/quote:0dcafad48f]

    Is she showing signs of scurvy, ricketts, beriberi, nightblindness, pellagra, gingivitis or other diseases associated with long-term vitamin/mineral deficiencies?

    #9812
    Kevin D
    Participant

    If the LA is not satisfied with the clmt’s info (AND assuming reasonable enquiries have been made), there is a further alternative…..

    Adverse inference – [b:8bb2fb3b1e]R(H) 3/05[/b:8bb2fb3b1e].

    #9813
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I dont agree with Kevin on this one, nor do I agree that you can suspend and terminate or revise.

    The reason is you simply have no grounds because revison/supersession can only be done on grounds of mistake as to material fact or law or official error.

    You have no grounds to say that the earlier decision was based on a mistake or an official error.

    If you suspend because of a failure to comply with an infroamtion requirement, you must show that the person did fail. I dont think you can do that because a person cannot fail to provide information that he does not have. Indeed D&A Regulation 13(4)(b) provides for the claimant to satisfy the LA that either the infromation does not exist or it is not possible to obtain it.

    If Regulation 13(4) is satified, the LA must restore payment.

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