Notional income used for past period

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  • #40086
    craigworc
    Participant

    Hello,

    a common practice at the authority I work at is to include a notional income to nil qualify a claim for a past period … let me explain.

    a claim is currently being assessed on, say, JSA CB and we find out that for a couple of months, say March to May, earlier on in the year he came off JSA CB. We write out asking for proog of his income for the period and he doesn’t reply.

    We will then, after a month enter a notional income of £999 to nil the claim for the relevant period. Is this correct?

    Personally I’ve never liked doing this and think we should just do a limited period cancellation (we’re an Academy site).

    Any comments?

    Cheers

    Craig

    #114468
    Chris Robbins
    Participant

    I think your current practice is to be preferred.

    You need to understand the terminology. What do you mean by a ‘limited period cancellation’? Are you making a superseding decision to terminate the award, or are you drawing an inference that for that period income was such as to give no entitlement to benefit? You find out (now) that a claimant had a relevant cghange of circumstances for a past period, but there is nothing to indicate that the award currently in payment bneeds to be disturbed.

    In order to determine what you should do about that past period you write and ask for details of his circumstances. No reply.

    So, a month later that leaves you with a need to make a superseding decision but no info on which to do so.

    Your two alternatives are;

    1. A closed period supersession based on an inference that his income was at such a level as to give no entitlement to benefit. That really is what the default 999.99 on the system is for.

    2. You decide that you should terminate the award. (This is if you don’t believe in the legality of closed period supersessions). But you can only do that from the date you make the decision. All benefit awarded from the date of change to the date of decision is an O/P but is subject to Reg 104 (underlying entitlement). So you action in the same way as the above option by using a default income figure for the period of no JSA but underlying entitlement offsets the O/P in full from the date JSA was reawarded. The only practical difference is that option 2 will now require a new claim.

    #114469
    craigworc
    Participant

    Thanks Chris … a limited period cancellation is just an Academy function that allows us to cancel a claim for a specific period without cancelling the whole claim and re-setting it up again.

    I’ve obviously got the understanding of the terminology wrong. I assumed that a closed period supersession would be to cancel for the period that JSA wasn’t in payment and not put in a £999 figure to nil the claim.

    #114478
    Kevin D
    Participant

    Just to clarify some terminology (I know that Chris was using the terms specifically).

    Cmmrs and UTJs have often criticised LAs for using terms such as “cancel” / “cancellation” etc. It is precisely in the scenario of past periods etc that the importance of using the correct terminology becomes apparent.

    A “termination” decision can only be effected under DAR 14 (via DARs 11/13). If a LA wants to change an award for a period prior to a suspension / paid to date, whether or not through drawing an inference, any other from of “cancellation” must be by way of a “supersession” under DAR 7 (and the related provisions); not a “termination”.

    In the narrowest technical sense, a “termination” decision is a type of superseding decision BUT, to keep the boundaries clear, if a “termination” decision is thought of in the context of DAR 14 and a “superseding” decision is thought of as being outside DAR 14, there is much less room to go wrong. Er, at least in theory….

    #114501
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    [quote=Chris Robbins]Your two alternatives are;

    1. A closed period supersession based on an inference that his income was at such a level as to give no entitlement to benefit. That really is what the default 999.99 on the system is for.

    2. You decide that you should terminate the award. (This is if you don’t believe in the legality of closed period supersessions). But you can only do that from the date you make the decision. All benefit awarded from the date of change to the date of decision is an O/P but is subject to Reg 104 (underlying entitlement). So you action in the same way as the above option by using a default income figure for the period of no JSA but underlying entitlement offsets the O/P in full from the date JSA was reawarded. The only practical difference is that option 2 will now require a new claim.[/quote]

    I don’t quite understand option 2 – surely what you are describing is a superseding decision using an adverse inference? Nothing to do with termination (which I maintain is hardly ever the most appropriate action to take on any case!) as it doesn’t give you the right date option and (if you know ongoing entitlement exists and accept closed period supersessions) there is no need for a suspension while the info for the break in JSA is queried.

    As long as the actual decision taken is understood and notified, I would, from a practical point of view, advise the limited period cancellation as a system function to achieve your “gap”/overpayment in option 1 and then a further cancellation from the paid to date in option 2. Please note that I refer to a cancellation (as per Kevin’s response) purely in terms of system use.

    #114508
    nick dearnley
    Participant

    I agree with Andy’s last paragraph; having used Academy at my previous authority for 10+ years, I was quite pleased when the option to remove entitlement for a limited period was made available on the system – even if they did still insist on calling it ‘cancellation’!! But, it is, as Kevin & Chris say, vital that the decision notice is framed in the correct legislative provisions. What you’re doing is a closed period supersession, not a termination, based on an adverse inference. If I remember correctly Academy allows you to amend the online decision letter to that effect.

    #114509
    craigworc
    Participant

    Thanks for all the replies, Yeah Academy does allow you to edit the letters prior to printing.

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