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The Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015

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Changes over time for: Cross Heading: Loss of benefit

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Changes to legislation:

The Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015, Cross Heading: Loss of benefit is up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 03 April 2020. There are changes that may be brought into force at a future date. Changes that have been made appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

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Changes and effects yet to be applied to Part 6 Crossheading Loss-of-benefit:

  • specified provision(s) amendment to earlier commencing S.R. 2009/4 by S.R. 2019/107 art. 2
  • specified provision(s) amendment to earlier commencing S.R. 2017/190 by S.R. 2019/4 art. 5
  • specified provision(s) amendment to earlier commencing S.R. 2017/190 by S.R. 2019/7 art. 3
  • specified provision(s) amendment to earlier commencing S.R. 2017/216 by S.R. 2018/1 art. 7
  • specified provision(s) amendment to earlier commencing SR 2016/46, art. 5(a) by S.R. 2016/166 art. 3

Changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Order associated Parts and Chapters:

Whole provisions yet to be inserted into this Order (including any effects on those provisions):

Loss of benefitN.I.

Benefit offences: period of sanctionN.I.

117.—(1) The Social Security Fraud Act (Northern Ireland) 2001 is amended as follows.

(2) Section 5B (loss of benefit in case of conviction, penalty or caution for benefit offence) is amended as follows.

(3) In subsection (11), for “the period of four weeks” substitute “ the relevant period ”.

(4) After subsection (11) insert—

(11A) For the purposes of subsection (11) the relevant period is—

(a)in a case falling within subsection (1)(a) where the benefit offence, or one of them, is a relevant offence, the period of three years,

(b)in a case falling within subsection (1)(a) (but not within paragraph (a) above), the period of 13 weeks, or

(c)in a case falling within subsection (1)(b) or (c), the period of four weeks.

(5) After subsection (13) insert—

(14) In this section and section 6 “relevant offence” means—

(a)the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud, or

(b)a prescribed offence which, in the offender's case, is committed in such circumstances as may be prescribed, and which, on conviction—

(i)is found by the court to relate to an overpayment (as defined in section 109A(8) of the Administration Act) of at least £50,000,

(ii)is punished by a custodial sentence of at least one year (including a suspended sentence as defined in section 33(1) of the Treatment of Offenders Act (Northern Ireland) 1968), or

(iii)is found by the court to have been committed over a period of at least two years.

(6) After subsection (14) (inserted by paragraph (5)) insert—

(15) The Department may by order amend subsection (11A)(a), (b) or (c), or (14)(b)(i), (ii) or (iii) to substitute a different period or amount for that for the time being specified there.

(7) In section 6 (loss of benefit for second or subsequent conviction of benefit offence), after subsection (1) insert—

(1A) The following restrictions do not apply if the benefit offence referred to in subsection (1)(a), or any of them, is a relevant offence.

(8) In section 10 (loss of benefit regulations)—

(a)in the heading, after “benefit” insert “ orders and ”;

(b)in subsection (3) after paragraph (d) insert—

or

(e)a provision prescribing an offence under section 5B(14)(b),;

(c)after subsection (3) insert—

(3A) An order under section 5B(15) shall be subject to the confirmatory procedure.

(3B) In this section “the confirmatory procedure” means the procedure described in subsection (3).;

(d)in subsection (4) after “make”, in both places, insert “ an order or ”.

Commencement Information

I1Art. 117 in operation at 2.5.2016 for specified purposes by S.R. 2016/215, art. 2(6)(d)

I2Art. 117 in operation at 9.9.2016 in so far as not already in operation by S.R. 2016/325, art. 2(3)

Benefit offences: sanctions for repeated benefit fraudN.I.

118.—(1) The Social Security Fraud Act (Northern Ireland) 2001 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 5B (loss of benefit in case of conviction, penalty or caution for benefit offence), in subsection (3) for “later” substitute “ current ”.

(3) Section 6 (loss of benefit for second or subsequent conviction of benefit offence) is amended as follows.

(4) In the heading, for “second or subsequent conviction of benefit offence” substitute “ repeated benefit fraud ”.

(5) For subsection (1)(a) to (e) substitute—

(a)a person (“the offender”) is convicted of one or more benefit offences in a set of proceedings (“the current set of proceedings”),

(b)within the period of five years ending on the date on which the benefit offence was, or any of them were, committed, one or more disqualifying events occurred in relation to the offender (the event, or the most recent of them, being referred to in this section as “the earlier disqualifying event”),

(c)the current set of proceedings has not been taken into account for the purposes of any previous application of this section or section 7 or 8 in relation to the offender or any person who was then a member of the offender's family,

(d)the earlier disqualifying event has not been taken into account as an earlier disqualifying event for the purposes of any previous application of this section or either of those sections in relation to the offender or any person who was then a member of the offender's family, and

(e)the offender is a person with respect to whom the conditions for an entitlement to a sanctionable benefit are or become satisfied at any time within the disqualification period,.

(6) In subsection (6), for the words from “in relation to” to the end, substitute “ in an offender's case, means the relevant period beginning with a prescribed date falling after the date of the conviction in the current set of proceedings ”.

(7) After that subsection insert—

(6A) For the purposes of subsection (6) the relevant period is—

(a)in a case where, within the period of five years ending on the date on which the earlier disqualifying event occurred, a previous disqualifying event occurred in relation to the offender, the period of three years;

(b)in any other case, 26 weeks.

(8) After subsection (7) insert—

(7A) Subsection (7B) applies where, after the agreement of any person (“P”) to pay a penalty under the appropriate penalty provision is taken into account for the purposes of the application of this section in relation to that person—

(a)P's agreement to pay the penalty is withdrawn under subsection (5) of the appropriate penalty provision,

(b)it is decided on an appeal or in accordance with regulations under the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 or the Social Security Act 1998 that any overpayment to which the agreement relates is not recoverable or due, or

(c)the amount of any overpayment to which the penalty relates is revised on an appeal or in accordance with regulations under the Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 or the Social Security Act 1998 and there is no new agreement by P to pay a penalty under the appropriate penalty provision in relation to the revised overpayment.

(7B) In those circumstances, all such payments and other adjustments shall be made as would be necessary if no restriction had been imposed by or under this section that could not have been imposed if P had not agreed to pay the penalty.

(9) In subsection (8), the following definitions are inserted at the appropriate places—

appropriate penalty provision” has the meaning given in section 5B(2)(a);;

disqualifying event” has the meaning given in section 5B(13).

(10) After that subsection insert—

(8A) Where a person is convicted of more than one benefit offence in the same set of proceedings, there is to be only one disqualifying event in respect of that set of proceedings for the purposes of this section and—

(a)subsection (1)(b) is satisfied if any of the convictions take place in the five year periods mentioned there;

(b)the event is taken into account for the purposes of subsection (1)(d) if any of the convictions have been taken into account as mentioned there;

(c)in the case of the earlier disqualifying event mentioned in subsection (6A)(a), the reference there to the date on which the earlier disqualifying event occurred is a reference to the date on which any of the convictions take place;

(d)in the case of the previous disqualifying event mentioned in subsection (6A)(a), that provision is satisfied if any of the convictions take place in the five year period mentioned there.

(11) After subsection (10) insert—

(11) The Department may by order amend subsection (6A) to substitute different periods for those for the time being specified there.

(12) An order under subsection (11) may provide for different periods to apply according to the type of earlier disqualifying event or events occurring in any case.

(12) In section 10 (loss of benefit regulations), in subsection (3A) (as inserted by Article 117(8)(c)), after “5B(15)” insert “ or 6(11) ”.

Commencement Information

I3Art. 118 in operation at 2.5.2016 for specified purposes by S.R. 2016/215, art. 2(6)(d)

I4Art. 118 in operation at 9.9.2016 in so far as not already in operation by S.R. 2016/325, art. 2(3)

Prospective

CautionsN.I.

119.  In section 5B of the Social Security Fraud Act (Northern Ireland) 2001 (loss of benefit in case of conviction, penalty or caution for benefit offence)—

(a)in the heading, for “, penalty or caution” substitute “ or penalty ”;

(b)in subsection (1), after paragraph (a) insert “ or ”;

(c)subsection (1)(c) (cautions) and the preceding “or” are repealed;

(d)in subsection (13), in the definition of “disqualifying event”, for “(1)(a),” substitute “ (1)(a) or ”.

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