Defective HB claims



Defective HB/CTB claims have always been a useful concept, you could
treat almost anything in writing as a claim ("Dear sir, I can't pay my
poll tax") and if it took years to get the information you needed, you
could still assess them years later.

With regret I repost the latest mail from Nitpickers Anonymous:

"Dear All,

We have been made aware of a Commissioners decision made on September
9th 2004, by a tribunal of Commissioners, chaired by His Honour Judge
Hickinbottom, Chief Commissioner, with Commissioners Mark Rowland, and
S. J. Pacey as members.

They decided on cases CH/2155/2003 CH/3423/2003 CH/3511/2003

The essence of their judgement is that a claim is defective only in
of the completion of the form itself. The information and verification
for in connection with the claim do not render the claim defective if
they are
not provided. When we have a defective claim the claimant will be
from benefit by S 1(1) of the Administration Act - the requirement to
make a

If the claim form is complete but the accompanying information is not,
after 28 days, we must decide the claim, making "inferences" in relation
any missing information. HBR 76(2) is Ultra Vires and has no effect.

The letter you send out at the moment to say that the claim is defective
therefore the claim will not be considered, will only be appropriate in
very few cases, where the claim form remains unsigned or incomplete
after 28
days. S 1(1) of the Administration Act should be quoted and not

In other cases where the claim is decided but due to "inferences", made
missing information the award is nil, any notification should just be a
normal notification letter for a nil award.

Where the case has been decided on limited information, and the claimant

then provides further information within 1 month of our decision and
requests a revision, we are obliged to perform a review, and revise the
case where appropriate.

They also appear to say that such cases are open to appeals.

Where the case has been decided on limited information and the
of doubt do allow some benefit to be paid, then we in ***** consider
that we should be able to immediately suspend the case under Reg13(1)
continue to ask the claimant for the missing information, and either get
or eventually terminate.

We wondered what other Local Authorities are doing or understanding
this decision. The idea of "inferences" flies in the face of the earlier
Jacobs decision that all decisions must be based on verified facts.

I am not able to attach a copy of the decision as it is quite a big
and might crash our e-mail system when sent out on hundreds of e-mails


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