An advanced guide to the mechanisms for changing HB decisions.
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A Workshop that combines an analysis of the mechanics of HB adjudication (revision, supersession, grounds and time limits) with a closer look at the correct effective date from which to apply a superseding decision in a range of situations.
Correct decision making is an important part of HB administration. Apart from calculating the amount of the claimant’s HB correctly it is important to make sure that it is awarded from the correct date. This includes not just the start of a new award, but changes to existing entitlement. It is an area in which Councils frequently make mistakes, with implications ranging from the relatively trivial (implementing a superseding decision from the following week instead of the current week) to the more serious: Making a superseding decision from the current week instead of revising a decision made some time ago. And any error can have subsidy implications when extrapolated across a large caseload.
It is also important to recognise the limitations of the revision mechanism: The Council cannot arbitrarily change its mind about something and “cancel” HB – proper grounds for revision must be established.
In this Workshop we will look at all the available grounds for revision and identify those which carry a time limit and those which do not. Similarly, we will look at grounds for making a superseding decision and identify those situations where the claimant is required to report event within a time limit and those where s/he is not. Where a time limit does apply, when can it be extended? What are the consequences if the time limit is not extended?
Where a superseding decision is required, it must be implemented from the correct date. Getting the date wrong is an error frequently picked up on by external auditors. Common errors include Pension Credit upratings; multiple events falling in the same benefit week; supersession instead of out-of-time revision; and changes affecting other state benefits. The default action of applying all changes and adjustments from the following Monday is often the wrong one!
Matters covered during the day include the following:
· The basics: Revision v Supersession – what is the difference between the two? Why are there two different mechanisms anyway?
· Revising and superseding multiple decisions over a period of time: how many decisions have you made? Is the annual uprating a decision?
· Can a decision be revised by the Council after the case has been to a Tribunal?
· What if the Council refuses to revise or supersede: Is that a decision in itself?
· Getting the date right when making a superseding decision, including:
o Annual uprating coincides with another change
o Uprating of Pension Credit cases
o Award/increase/reduction/cessation of other state benefits
o Multiple changes in the same week: when does the “two-change” rule apply and when not?
o Superseding when it is too late to revise
There is a lot of technical language in the law relating to revision and supersession. How can you notify the claimant of what you have done in language that s/he will understand while at the same time complying with the technical requirements? How should you go about leaving a note explaining what you have done for the benefit of others who have to work on the case in the future? Presented by Peter Barker, this Workshop will clarify all the issues involved in a detailed and fact-filled day.
9.30 Arrivals and coffee/tea
9.45 Introductions and course overview
11.15 Coffee/tea break
1:00 Lunch break
3.15 Coffee/Tea break
4.30 Workshop ends
We are always pleased to arrange most of our Workshops, such as this one, for staff from an individual organisation to be held at their own training venue. Please email us with your requirements for details.
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