Ping Anthony - have you seen this?


S

Sue

This plopped into my work mailbox while I was off sick - it's from
another LA and must've been widely BCC'd.
What do you think ?


Subject: Abolition of Benefit Periods

Dear Colleague

My name is [vvvvvvv] Information Officer at [xxxxxx] Housing Benefits.

I have attempted to get clarification from DWP about the new Housing
Benefit
regulations implementing the abolition of benefit periods, but have not
so
far received any satisfactory answer.

The query I have relates to the requirement for a person to make a
claim.
Under the old regulations it was clear that a claim could attain only a
limited period of entitlement, and that a renewal claim would need to
be
made to give further entitlement. If a change of circumstances brought
benefit down to nil then we would need to end the benefit period early
to
bring an end to that claim.

Under the new regulations all this has gone, and where entitlement is
brought down to nil, what meaning does that have in relation to the
original
claim made, as required by Section 1 of the Social Security
Administration
Act, to gain entitlement? Does the claimant need to make a new claim in
order to regain the entitlement that has been lost, or does that claim,
once made, satisfy Section 1 for ever, even where the entitlement
resulting
from that claim has come to an end?

I understand perfectly well that the whole idea of ending benefit
periods
is to create open-ended claims. The problem is in the administrative
implications of this. If each person only has to make a claim once in
an
entire lifetime, which would be one interpretation of the law as it
stands,
then:

* that claim record must remain live on your computer system until
they move to another authority, upon which you would have to pass the
record on to that authority, as there would be no legal requirement for
them to claim there.

* When changes in a claimant's circumstances create nil benefit or
nil
entitlement, you would have to leave that case running "live" on the
computer. Changes to the applicable amount could bring such cases back
into payment years later, without your knowing, and without all the
other changes of circumstances which undoubtedly would have occurred
being taken into account.

* These "live" but dormant cases could not be archived off the
computer system, and would slowly but surely bring your system to its
knees.


Also what is meant by "Termination".

My understanding is that "Termination" as introduced in Reg 14,
Decisions
and Appeals Regulations 2000, by the meaning of that word, is intended
to
end the entitlement entirely and that in order to become entitled
again, a
new claim must be made for a person to regain entitlement under Section
1
of the SSAA. Again there is no explicit link between entitlement
ending,
even by "Termination", and the requirement to claim, so even this is
not
definitely the case.

We wondered here at [xxxxxx], if any of you in other Councils had
considered this problem, or had any views.
 
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R

Robbie

From: Sue (e-mail address removed)
Date: 20/04/04 20:39 GMT Daylight Time
Message-id: <[email protected]>


This plopped into my work mailbox while I was off sick - it's from
another LA and must've been widely BCC'd.
What do you think ?


Subject: Abolition of Benefit Periods

Dear Colleague

My name is [vvvvvvv] Information Officer at [xxxxxx] Housing Benefits.

I have attempted to get clarification from DWP about the new Housing
Benefit
regulations implementing the abolition of benefit periods, but have not
so
far received any satisfactory answer.

The query I have relates to the requirement for a person to make a
claim.
Under the old regulations it was clear that a claim could attain only a
limited period of entitlement, and that a renewal claim would need to
be
made to give further entitlement. If a change of circumstances brought
benefit down to nil then we would need to end the benefit period early
to
bring an end to that claim.

Under the new regulations all this has gone, and where entitlement is
brought down to nil, what meaning does that have in relation to the
original
claim made, as required by Section 1 of the Social Security
Administration
Act, to gain entitlement? Does the claimant need to make a new claim in
order to regain the entitlement that has been lost, or does that claim,
once made, satisfy Section 1 for ever, even where the entitlement
resulting
from that claim has come to an end?

I understand perfectly well that the whole idea of ending benefit
periods
is to create open-ended claims. The problem is in the administrative
implications of this. If each person only has to make a claim once in
an
entire lifetime, which would be one interpretation of the law as it
stands,
then:

* that claim record must remain live on your computer system until
they move to another authority, upon which you would have to pass the
record on to that authority, as there would be no legal requirement for
them to claim there.

* When changes in a claimant's circumstances create nil benefit or
nil
entitlement, you would have to leave that case running "live" on the
computer. Changes to the applicable amount could bring such cases back
into payment years later, without your knowing, and without all the
other changes of circumstances which undoubtedly would have occurred
being taken into account.

* These "live" but dormant cases could not be archived off the
computer system, and would slowly but surely bring your system to its
knees.


Also what is meant by "Termination".

My understanding is that "Termination" as introduced in Reg 14,
Decisions
and Appeals Regulations 2000, by the meaning of that word, is intended
to
end the entitlement entirely and that in order to become entitled
again, a
new claim must be made for a person to regain entitlement under Section
1
of the SSAA. Again there is no explicit link between entitlement
ending,
even by "Termination", and the requirement to claim, so even this is
not
definitely the case.

We wondered here at [xxxxxx], if any of you in other Councils had
considered this problem, or had any views.
Surely all that will happen is the benefit rules will fall in line with that of
Income Support? It should make administration of the benefit easier than the
current system?

I was always puzzled why benefit periods were introduced in the first place.
What was the reasoning behind that? Was it a fall back to the old rent rebate
system that existed prior to 1983, which was more aligned to tax years and was
closely connected with council funding?

Robbie
 

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