Thursday, 4th November, 2021.
Full-Day Workshop (9:30 - 4:30/4:45)
Workshop Fee: £220 + VAT. 4th Place Free .
A full-day Workshop looking at the key principles of assessing earnings and other income in HB and in the most common CTR schemes
This Workshop is aimed at Officers who assess HB and CTR cases, Team Leaders and Policy and Appeals staff members (suitable for all levels).
The session begins by looking at earnings from employment: What does and does not count as earnings, including how to treat salary sacrifice schemes.
The Covid pandemic has raised many new questions about earnings for benefits purposes, especially the question of remunerative work when furloughed or shielding. This in turn affects the treatment of childcare fees. We will suggest what we consider to be the correct approach in such cases and, while on the subject of child care fees, we take the opportunity to clear up a frequent question concerning provision on school premises for children under 8. We will consider how to calculate child care fees where, for example, the claimant only uses child care during school holidays. And what about Ofsted-regulated childcare that the claimant uses for reasons other than work – for example additional tuition at weekends? Should the fees for this provision be disregarded?#
Fluctuating earnings: The HB Regulations allow a lot of room for judgement in cases where the claimant’s earnings fluctuate unpredictably (i.e. no regular or seasonal pattern): Covid-related downturn, zero hours contracts, occasional bonuses, anomalous months with far more/fewer hours than usual etc. We will suggest best practice for dealing with these cases.
Identifying a change in earnings: The most common errors discovered by auditors involve changes in the amount of earnings, especially where an increase in the amount of earnings has been overlooked or taken into account from the wrong date. The Regulations specify the effective date from which a clear change of earnings has effect (e.g. increase in hourly/weekly/monthly rate; change of job), but in other cases the date of change is less clear - if there has been a gradual increase in average fluctuating hours, on what date did the claimant’s earnings change for HB purposes? Again, the regulations allow room for discretion and the Council’s preferred approach will be covered in the notes.
Self-employed earnings and company owner / directors: During a wide-ranging session like this, we cannot provide in-depth coverage of the earnings of small business owners (we offer separate day Workshops dedicated to self -employment and to company directors respectively), but we will briefly look at the key principles including how to treat SEISS and other Covid-related grants and loans, and an overview of the different ways in which company owners receive income from their businesses.
Income other than earnings: We have assembled a list of frequently asked questions about miscellaneous income sources and we provide the answers in this session. For example, treatment of rent income from tenants, treatment of various different payments made to householders under social services legislation (e.g. foster carers, special guardians, “shared lives” carers etc); and a very brief update on recent changes to student income (but, as with self-employed people and company directors, we can only very briefly cover the subject on this course and recommend our separate full day Workshop on “student claims” should in-depth training on the topic be required).
Finally, while each local authority in England and the devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland have their own working age Council Tax Reduction schemes, most schemes share common features and we will cover some of the most frequent issues that arise, especially when dealing with applicants who are on Universal Credit:
Contact us for In-House 'Zoom' booking information for this topic.
We are always pleased to arrange most of our Workshops, such as this one, for staff from an individual organisation. Please email us with your requirements for details.
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