Relevant Benefit Changes, Overlapping Income

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  • #39505
    R Southall
    Participant

    Apologies for the length of the post but I’ve also attached a reply from Northgate. Could any other Northgate site provide any further guidance regarding how they’re implementing changes to income following the award of a Relevant Benefit or a change to a Relevant Benefit as we’re having issues with income overlapping.

    We’ve only recently amended Northgate to take account of the claims converting from IB-ESAC. For these claims I understand Northgate will now, along with other Relevant Benefits apply the changes from the actual date of the award of the ESAC. It seems to be handling these claims OK however with changes to other Relevant Benefits it’s overlapping the income.

    An example would be an award of ESAC ending 21/9/11 & JSAC from 22/9/11. When this claim is calculated it overlaps the income held for the period 22/9-25/9 & nils the Benefit. This is also occurring when the amount of Pension Credit held is amended.

    Northgate have replied and advised the following:

    “Please refer to the 6.3 release notes. The hold change on start indicator only controls the start date of incomes and not the end date.

    In this instance both incomes should be used in calc please see the reply we received when confirming this.

    DWP REPLY
    The legal provision is in the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations, regulation 7(2)(i) and 8(14). Where a relevant benefit ends or reduces, the effective date is determined using HB reg 79(1) so the effective date is the start of the benefit week following the date the relevant benefit ends or reduces.

    This means that where for example a customer moves from JSA(C) to ESA(C) on Wednesday 18 May 2011 there are two changes of circumstances ie the end of the JSA(C) and the start of the ESA(C). The effective date of the start of the ESA(C) is Wednesday 18 May 2011 and the effective date of the end of the JSA(C) is Monday 23 May 2011, meaning that for the period 18 – 22 May the ESA(C) and the JSA(C) are taken into account as income and from Monday 23 May 2011 only the ESA(C) is taken into account.

    However, where a customer’s relevant benefit increases there is only one change of circumstance ie the relevant benefit increases. There is no end of a relevant benefit and the start of one, all that has happened is that the relevant benefit has increased. As I have said above, where a relevant benefit increases the effective date is the date entitlement to the increase arises. So where JSA(C) increases on Wednesday 18 May 2011, the increased amount is taken into account from that date meaning for the week commencing 16 May 2011 the lower rate of JSA(C) is taken into account for 16 and 17 May and for 18 – 22 May the higher rate of JSA(C) is taken into account, there is no overlap.”

    From the Northgate/DWP reply it indicates both Relevant Benefits should be included? Is this really the intention of the Regs. or is there a alternative way of dealing with the changes.

    Also, they’ve advised with a change only to a Relevant Benefit there should be no overlap however we are getting one, specifically when dealing with Pension Credit changes. Has anyone else experienced this?

    Thanks for any assistance,

    #112353
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I accept that DWP are quoting the law but in this case the law is an ass (or more especially, badly drafted). It cannot be the intention that two relevant benefits overlap. Indeed you could argue that it is all one “benefit” but happens to have two different names depending on whether customer is sick or unemployed – of course on UC it will be all one 🙂 We take the commonsensical approach here and take out the hold change on start tick for the “new” income. It might be wrong, but it is less wrong than the alternative. (I know Kevin disagrees with me!)

    BTW pension credit is subject to its own rules (which Northgate don’t deal with entirely correctly either) but I’m not sure what overlaps you are talking about here

    #112357
    Kevin D
    Participant

    [quote=Chris Dring](I know Kevin disagrees with me!)[/quote]

    *laughs* Well, yes and no. I agree that on this point (yet another), the legislation is indeed an ass. As to how in all practicality this situation is dealt with in “real world” is another matter. On the other hand, you certainly won’t get an appeal from the clmt, unless s/he has the same level of intelligence as the drafter of the legislation….

    #112358
    R Southall
    Participant

    Thanks for taking the time to reply Chris.

    The issue with the Pension Credit was when there was a change to an AIF/SC on an existing PC claim notified via ETD it’s also overlapping the income similar to an ESA-JSA new claim, it’s using the new award details from mid week & continuing to apply the previous figures until the end of the week. This appears to conflict with the information provided by the DWP/Northgate.

    I’d realised the only way to avoid the overlapping income was to remove the hold change on start and wondering if if that’s what others were doing. By doing so it will resolve the issue on all the claims at least. May not be wholly right but at least makes sense for the customer.

    #112362
    Anonymous
    Guest

    We don’t have this issue with increases of AIF/SC because we don’t have them set as a relevant benefit (I realised quite early on that the functionality was incorrect). If you want to “unset” them you will need a script from Northgate

    #112364
    R Southall
    Participant

    Thanks for the further reply Chris, much appreciated.

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