PFA – Self employed or not??

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  • #38139
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Hi,

    We have a claim that came in December 2010 which is as yet undecided due to various requests for further information and doubt about the legitimacy of the arrangements.

    The claimant (a) is Polish and has declared that she is a self-employed cleaner working for 16hours per week on a saturday and a sunday every week for a gentleman. She gets approx £90 per week. She travels to her place of employment by train with her 3 children every weekend and stays in the gentlemans house. The train journey to work is over an hour each way and the cost of her train fares would almost certainly reduce the amount she earns by more than half. She has no self employed accounts and all she has provided is receipts to show what she has been paid.

    In addition, a telephone conversation took place with her employer when her claim was originally submitted where he stated she was his partner, a later letter submitted by the employer states that she is not his partner, she only works for him and that they were friends before she started cleaning for him. We are going back to them both to clarify the living arrangements, etc.

    Also her bank statements show cashline withdrawals in the City where her employer resides on days other than weekend leading us to believe that she is residing up there on a regular basis and that her self employment as a cleaner was only set up to allow her to claim HB and CTB. She has however completed a tax self-assessment with HMRC.

    To top it all off we have had a claim for benefit from another polish lady also stating she is a self employed cleaner working for (a) above for 16 hours per week.

    Can we reject these claims based on the fact that we believe the self-employment is a sham and has been created to take advantage of the scheme? Is anyone aware of any cases like this?

    #107415
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    [quote=flynnp]Can we reject these claims based on the fact that we believe the self-employment is a sham and has been created to take advantage of the scheme? Is anyone aware of any cases like this?[/quote]

    LTAHW are notoriously difficult things to prove but that would be the only reason for you to refuse HB/CTB, as far as I can see, so it would be a fraudulent claim. Can you prove that?

    #107422
    Anonymous
    Guest

    They may be seeing each other as partners but there is nothing that would support us going down the LTAHW route.

    It’s more the fact that we don’t believe she is self employed and that the receipts for self employment have been fabricated so that she would have a status to be granted HB. Likewise with the 2nd case, they claim to be cleaning for the 1st case but if the 1st claimant only works 16 hours per week as a cleaner why does she need to employ a cleaner to do her house? I believe both ‘cleaning businesses’ have been created purely out of fiction for the purposes of securing entitlement to HB.

    I’m just not sure if there is any way we can knock it back on this basis but the circumstances surrounding the self employment is very suspicious.

    #107428
    andyrichards
    Participant

    You could look at the work being not “effective and genuine”, which is a requirement for EEA workers. This in itself is hard to judge. Looks like it is just about minumum wage and 16 hours is probably long enough. You are left with trying to prove that no genuine work is going on, but I do not see how you could ever prove that.

    #107440
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    [quote=flynnp]I’m just not sure if there is any way we can knock it back on this basis but the circumstances surrounding the self employment is very suspicious.[/quote]

    You can decide they are not self-employed, ergo, no right to reside for benefit purposes.

    As an aside, if you decide that a claimant is self employed, as you would any UK claimant, “genuine and effective” does not come into it, IMHO, so you will need to deal with the “fraud” aspect as they will have R2R. I think cases are pending on the issue itself so hopefully we get a decision soon, either way.

    #107441
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    [quote=flynnp]I believe both ‘cleaning businesses’ have been created purely out of fiction for the purposes of securing entitlement to HB.[/quote]

    We have a bell in our office that assessors can ring whenever they open up a claim from an EEA national (usually a former A8 or A2 national) who is supposedly a self-employed cleaner working exactly 16 hours per week.

    Last week we were told to take the bell down as the constant ringing had resulted in the council tax department thinking the fire alarm was going off…

    #107445
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    😀 . Not a joke though.

    #107455
    Anonymous
    Guest

    “We have a bell in our office that assessors can ring whenever they open up a claim from an EEA national (usually a former A8 or A2 national) who is supposedly a self-employed cleaner working exactly 16 hours per week.

    Last week we were told to take the bell down as the constant ringing had resulted in the council tax department thinking the fire alarm was going off…”

    🙂

    Where’s the “like” button?

    #107466
    Chris Robbins
    Participant

    Going back to your original post, if claimant b) has provided evidence of payment from claimant a) can you not go back to claimant a) and ask for proof of how she is managing to make these payments and evidence of the way in which they are made?

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