Savings Credit – When to amend from?

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    Darren Broughton

    Any help/advice on the following would be appreciated –


    We are informed in March 04 that the partner of one of our HB/CTB claimants went into a nursing home 8 Dec 03. The claim is running on SC only.

    We send LA17 to the Pension Service (6 Apr 04) stating the details that we have been informed of, and requesting new details for claimant.

    LA17 returned to us 16 Apr 04 stating new SC details for Mr – SC reduced by £2, savings by £7000.

    My problem is, when do we amend case from?

    If we amend claim details and remove Mrs. from the date that we received the notification from the Pension Service (16 Apr 04), the details for Council Tax will be incorrect. There should be a Single Person Discount on this property from 8 Dec 03 (our Benefits and CTAX systems will not interface if there is a discrepency in household numbers)

    If we remove Mrs. from claim from 8 Dec 03, an overpayment will be created because the applicable amount will decrease. Also, what AIF would we use for the period 8 Dec 03 – 16 Apr 04???

    Any ideas?


    He’s not self employed and from one of the EU accesion countries is he? Seriously, you have posed a quite complex scenario and I’m not suprised that no one has attempted an answer yet. But hey, I’ll give it a bash (no doubt too late to be of any help to you).

    There are a number of elements to this that need resolution:

    1) Date to remove partner from assessment.

    2) Date the single persons occupancy discount is awarded.

    3) Date the changes in the SC award take effect.

    4) Date that changes in the AIF takes effect.

    So lets take them in turn (I’m only including the HB references but there are parallel provisions in CTB too):

    1) The partner will have to be removed from the assessment from the point that they can no longer be considered part of the household (HB Reg 15(2). I’m assuming here that the partner has no intention to return.

    2) There are no time limits on the award of a single person’s occupancy discount. The Council Tax liability should be amended all the way back to when the partner moved out.

    3) The savings credit award has decreased. Therefore, the HB/CTB award will increase as a result (you have to look at the increase/decrease situation in isolation from other factors). Therefore, the increased HB/CTB from this change will be payable from the Monday of the week in which the Pension Credit award itself decreased (HB Reg 68B(4)). You will need to get this date from the Pension Service if you don’t already have it. Remember that it’s the Pension Service (not the claimant) who has the responsibility to tell you all this so time limits on notification are irrelevant.

    4) There’s been many long running (and ongoing) debates about when revised AIF’s get taken into account. As it stands, the rules are bizarre in that the special “increase/decrease” rules that apply to the SC award itself do not appear to apply to the AIF as well. In practice, this can lead to all sorts of odd results and the DWP seem to be planning some changes to the law to fix the problem. They already fixed it (well sort of) for April increases. I just wish they’d get a move on for the rest.

    Now, in your case, none of this stuff really matters. I’m assuming that the AIF will have gone down so the requirement to use the revised AIF from the date it actually changed isn’t at all problematic. So that’s what you do – use the revised AIF from the date it actually changed. Presumably, this will be the same date as the date the SC award itself changed. There is a slight difference though – the HB/CTB here will be affected from the Monday after the AIF changes (HB Reg 68(1)) whereas the change in the SC award itself will take effect from the Monday of the week in which it changed . In other words you will be using 2 diffferent Monday’s!!

    You also raised the possibility of creating overpayments and whether they should be created. The answer to this is always yes – use the dates and amounts that the law requires and if that creates overpayments then so be it. But of course, for some of the periods in question the overayments should be classed as official error (either DWP or LA) and should not be recovered. After all, if we can’t work this stuff out what chance has the claimant got? So it’s seems fair to say that you’ll need to give stong consideration to whether the claimant knew they were being overpaid.

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