When to use closed period supersession

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    Can the closed period supersession guidance be used where we don’t know what income the customer has for a limited period?

    We quite often get ETDs advising us that the customer ceased to be entitled to JSA at a certain date, followed by another ETD advising that JSA is now back in payment but there is a break between the two periods.

    We have no idea what income the customer had during the break, so of course we would write out to them, but we do know what their income is once JSA resumes of course.

    So can we assess the benefit for the periods either side of the break in JSA, and just leave it up to the customer to provide income details for the missing period if they choose to, otherwise benefit entitlement for that period remains at nil.

    Of course, this does mean you would have to use notional income to take the customer out of entitlement during the period of the break, which goes against data protection rules, so I just wondered what other authorities did in this instance?


    [quote:c7d76e83ff]use notional income to take the customer out of entitlement during the period of the break, which goes against data protection rules[/quote:c7d76e83ff]
    This doesn’t make sense – who’s data would you be jeopardising by making a figure up?

    Basically you’re right regarding CPS – you can apply them for unknown periods, but only after you’ve asked the claimant what their income was. This is known as a negative inference.

    There are some individuals and LAs who are unconvinced about the legality of CPS, and would point out they are not legislated for. But if your LA has adopted them in general there is no reason you could not apply one in the situation you describe.

    Kevin D

    I agree with Michael’s analysis. If your LA considers closed period supersessions to be lawful, that is the way in which retrospective “nil” periods must be dealt with – it isn’t a discretionary process. I don’t think there are any DPA issues about holding inferred income / capital details SO LONG as you have followed the process set out by Michael – i.e. before drawing inferences, the LA must FIRST try and establish what the true circumstances were during the “gap” period.

    If your LA is one of those who considers close period supersessions are NOT lawful, the process should be:

    1) Suspend.

    2) Write to claimant asking for details.

    3a) If no response, draw inferences. Presumably, this would result in nil entitlement which means the award ends and a new claim would be required before further benefit could be paid; or

    3b) If the claimant responds appropriately, assess entitlement. If nil, see 3a above. But, if there is still entitlement with no gap or end to the award, HB/CTB continues in the same way as for any other change(s) of circs.

    david kearney

    Agree with MWigg, and I can’t imagaine there are many authorities that are not doing this. Kevin’s misgivings are no doubt on a sound legal basis, but they are administraitively inconvenient for authority and customer, and we do have the authority of our DWP masters to do it

    What Sharon is presumably saying re DPA is that by adversing inferencing we are holding data about an individual that we know is almost certainly not accurate. Which does appear to to breach one of the principles of the the DPA. Our take, is that this is acceptable as long as you are clearly recording that the details are an adverse inference and not an accurate recording of a data subjects information.


    Thanks all – yes, David, that is what I meant in terms of data protection, it’s the fact that we are holding information about the customer which we are fairly sure is incorrect, but I can go with your authority’s take on that!

    Before closed period supersessions came in, we did exactly what Kevin was outlining, i.e. we would suspend, request info, if not supplied terminate, calculate underlying entitlement for the period when we knew JSA had re-started up to the paid to date, and invite a new claim.

    Closed period supersessions just make things so much easier! We have been very slow to adopt them, but I think we agreed with David in the end that it is with the DWP’s blessing.


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