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The Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008

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Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 and shall come into operation on 1st October 2008.

(2) The Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954(1) shall apply to these Regulations as it applies to an Act of the Assembly.

Amendment of the Housing Benefit Regulations

2.—(1) The Housing Benefit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(2) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (4).

(2) In regulation 81 (time and manner in which claims are to be made)—

(a)in paragraph (1)(3) for “paragraph (4A)” substitute “paragraphs (4A) to (4AE)”;

(b)after paragraph (4A)(4) insert—

(4AA) If the Department agrees, where—

(a)a person makes a claim for a benefit referred to in paragraph (4)(a); and

(b)the Department has made provision in the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987(5) for that benefit to be claimed by telephone,

that person may claim housing benefit by telephone to the telephone number specified by the Department.

(4AB) A claim for housing benefit may be made in accordance with paragraph (4AA) at any time before a decision has been made on the claim for the benefit referred to in paragraph (4)(a).

(4AC) If the Department agrees, where a person, in accordance with regulation 32 of the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987(6) (information to be given and changes to be notified)—

(a)furnishes the Department with such information or evidence as it may require; or

(b)notifies the Department of any change of circumstances,

that person may claim housing benefit in the same manner in which the information or evidence was furnished or the notification was given.

(4AD) If the Department agrees, where a person, in accordance with regulation 24 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations(7) (provision of information and evidence)—

(a)furnishes the Department with such certificates, documents and other evidence as it may require; or

(b)notifies the Department of any change of circumstances,

that person may claim housing benefit in the same manner as the certificate, document and other evidence was furnished or the notification was given.

(4AE) A claim for housing benefit may be made in accordance with paragraph (4AC) or (4AD) at any time before a decision has been made on the award of benefit to which the information, evidence, certificates, documents or notification relates.;

(c)in paragraph (4B) after “by telephone” insert “in accordance with paragraph (4A)”;

(d)after paragraph (4B) insert—

(4BA) The relevant authority or the Department may determine that a claim made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (4AA) to (4AE) is not a valid claim unless the person making the claim approves a written statement of his circumstances, provided for the purpose by the Department.;

(e)for paragraph (4C) substitute—

(4C) A claim made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (4A) to (4AE) is defective unless the relevant authority or the Department is provided with all the information requested during that telephone call.;

(f)in paragraph (4D) for “is to” substitute “must”;

(g)after paragraph (4D) insert—

(4DA) Where a claim made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (4AA) to (4AE) is defective—

(a)the Department may provide the person making it with an opportunity to correct the defect;

(b)the relevant authority must provide the person making it with an opportunity to correct the defect if the Department has not already done so, unless the relevant authority considers that it has sufficient information to determine the claim.;

(h)in paragraph (4E) for “of the date it” substitute “of the date the relevant authority or the Department”;

(i)after paragraph (4E) insert—

(4F) If the person does not correct the defect within one month, or such longer period as the relevant authority considers reasonable, of the date the relevant authority or the Department last drew attention to it, the relevant authority may treat the claim as if it had been duly made in the first instance where it considers that it has sufficient information to determine the claim.; and

(j)for paragraph (5)(d) substitute—

(d)except where sub-paragraph (a), (b) or (c) is satisfied, in a case where a properly completed claim is received in a designated office, an authorised office or an appropriate office within one month, or such longer period as the relevant authority considers reasonable, of the date on which—

(i)a claim form was issued to the claimant following the claimant first notifying, by whatever means, a designated office, an authorised office or an appropriate office of an intention to make a claim, or

(ii)a claimant notifies, by whatever means, a designated office, an authorised office or an appropriate office of an intention to make a claim by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (4A) to (4AE),

the date of first notification; and.

(3) For regulation 83(8) (amendment and withdrawal of claim) substitute—

83.(1) A person who has made a claim may amend it at any time before a decision has been made on it by a notice in writing delivered or sent to the designated office.

(2) Where the claim was made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (4A) to (4AE) of regulation 81, the amendment may also be made by telephone.

(3) Any claim amended in accordance with paragraph (1) or (2) shall be treated as if it had been amended in the first instance.

(4) A person who has made a claim may withdraw it at any time before a decision has been made on it by notice to the designated office.

(5) Where the claim was made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (4AA) to (4AE) of regulation 81, the withdrawal may also be made by telephone to the telephone number specified by the Department.

(6) Any notice of withdrawal given in accordance with paragraph (4) or (5) shall have effect when it is received..

(4) For regulation 110(9) (criminal offence) substitute—

110.  Any supplier who fails to supply relevant information to the requirer as, when and how required under this Section shall be guilty of an offence under section 107 of the Administration Act..

Amendment of the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations

3.—(1) The Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(10) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (4).

(2) In regulation 62 (time and manner in which claims are to be made)—

(a)in paragraph (2)(11) for “paragraphs (5A) and (5B)” substitute “paragraphs (5A) to (5BD)”;

(b)for paragraph (5B)(12) substitute—

(5B) If the Department agrees, where—

(a)a person makes a claim for a benefit referred to in paragraph (5)(a); and

(b)the Department has made provision in the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987 for that benefit to be claimed by telephone,

that person may claim housing benefit by telephone to the telephone number specified by the Department.

(5BA) A claim for housing benefit may be made in accordance with paragraph (5B) at any time before a decision has been made on the claim for the benefit referred to in paragraph (5)(a).

(5BB) If the Department agrees, where a person, in accordance with regulation 32 of the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987 (information to be given and changes to be notified)—

(a)furnishes the Department with such information or evidence as it may require; or

(b)notifies the Department of any change of circumstances,

that person may claim housing benefit in the same manner in which the information or evidence was furnished or the notification was given.

(5BC) If the Department agrees, where a person, in accordance with regulation 24 of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (provision of information and evidence)—

(a)furnishes the Department with such certificates, documents and other evidence as it may require; or

(b)notifies the Department of any change of circumstances,

that person may claim housing benefit in the same manner as the certificate, document and other evidence was furnished or the notification was given.

(5BD) A claim for housing benefit may be made in accordance with paragraph (5BB) or (5BC) at any time before a decision has been made on the award of benefit to which the information, evidence, certificates, documents or notification relates.;

(c)in paragraph (5C)—

(i)after “by telephone” insert “in accordance with paragraph (5A)”, and

(ii)omit “or the Department”;

(d)after paragraph (5C) insert—

(5CA) The relevant authority or the Department may determine that a claim made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (5B) to (5BD) is not a valid claim unless the person making the claim approves a written statement of his circumstances, provided for the purpose by the Department.;

(e)for paragraph (5D) substitute—

(5D) A claim made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (5A) to (5BD) is defective unless the relevant authority or the Department is provided with all the information requested during that telephone call.;

(f)in paragraph (5E)—

(i)omit “ or (5B)”, and

(ii)for “is to” substitute “must”;

(g)after paragraph (5E) insert—

(5EA) Where a claim made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (5B) to (5BD) is defective—

(a)the Department may provide the person making it with an opportunity to correct the defect;

(b)the relevant authority must provide the person making it with an opportunity to correct the defect if the Department has not already done so, unless the relevant authority considers that it has sufficient information to determine the claim.;

(h)in paragraph (5F) after “of the date the relevant authority” insert “or the Department”;

(i)after paragraph (5F) insert—

(5G) If the person does not correct the defect within one month, or such longer period as the relevant authority considers reasonable, of the date the relevant authority or the Department last drew attention to it, the relevant authority may treat the claim as if it had been duly made in the first instance where it considers that it has sufficient information to determine the claim.; and

(j)for paragraph (6)(d) substitute—

(d)except where sub-paragraph (a), (b) or (c) is satisfied, in a case where a properly completed claim is received in a designated office, an authorised office or an appropriate office within one month, or such longer period as the relevant authority considers reasonable, of the date on which—

(i)a claim form was issued to the claimant following the claimant first notifying, by whatever means, a designated office, an authorised office or an appropriate office of an intention to make a claim, or

(ii)a claimant notifies, by whatever means, a designated office, an authorised office or an appropriate office of an intention to make a claim by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (5A) to (5BD),

the date of first notification; and.

(3) For regulation 64(13) (amendment and withdrawal of claim) substitute—

64.(1) A person who has made a claim may amend it at any time before a decision has been made on it by a notice in writing delivered or sent to the designated office.

(2) Where the claim was made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (5A) to (5BD) of regulation 62, the amendment may also be made by telephone.

(3) Any claim amended in accordance with paragraph (1) or (2) shall be treated as if it had been amended in the first instance.

(4) A person who has made a claim may withdraw it at any time before a decision has been made on it by notice to the designated office.

(5) Where the claim was made by telephone in accordance with paragraphs (5B) to (5BD) of regulation 62, the withdrawal may also be made by telephone to the telephone number specified by the Department.

(6) Any notice of withdrawal given in accordance with paragraph (4) or (5) shall have effect when it is received..

(4) For regulation 91(14) (criminal offence) substitute—

91.  Any supplier who fails to supply relevant information to the requirer as, when and how required under this Section shall be guilty of an offence under section 107 of the Administration Act..

Revocations

4.  Regulations 2(3) and 3(3) of the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(15) are revoked.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department for Social Development on 8th September 2008

(L.S.)

John O’Neill

A senior officer of the Department for Social Development

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