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The Social Security (Incapacity Benefit Work-focused Interviews) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008

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Consequences of a failure to take part in a work-focused interview

8.—(1) A relevant claimant in respect of whom a relevant decision has been made in accordance with regulation 7(3) shall, in accordance with this regulation, have his benefit reduced—

(a)by 50 per cent. of the work-related activity component in each of the first 4 benefit weeks to which, by virtue of Article 11(5) of the 1998 Order or regulations made under Article 11(6) of that Order, the reduction applies;

(b)by 100 per cent. of that component for each subsequent benefit week.

(2) If two or more specified benefits are in payment to a relevant claimant, a reduction made in accordance with paragraph (1) shall be applied, subject to paragraphs (3) to (6), to the specified benefits in the following order of priority—

(a)income support;

(b)incapacity benefit;

(c)severe disablement allowance.

(3) If the amount of the reduction is greater than some, but not all, of the specified benefits listed in paragraph (2), the reduction shall be made against the first benefit in that list that is the same as, or greater than, the amount of the reduction.

(4) For the purpose of determining whether a specified benefit is the same as, or greater than, the amount of the reduction for the purposes of paragraph (3), 10 pence shall be added to the amount of the reduction.

(5) In a case where the whole of the reduction cannot be applied against any one specified benefit because the amount of no one benefit is the same as, or greater than, the amount of the reduction, the reduction shall be applied against the first benefit in payment in the list of priorities in paragraph (2) and so on against each benefit in turn until the whole of the reduction is exhausted or, if this is not possible, the whole of the specified benefits are exhausted.

(6) If the rate of any specified benefit payable to a relevant claimant changes, the rules set out in this regulation for a reduction in the benefit payable shall be applied to the new rates and any adjustments to the benefits against which the reductions are made shall take effect from the beginning of the first benefit week to commence for that relevant claimant following the change.

(7) Paragraph (1) applies to a relevant claimant each time a relevant decision is made in accordance with regulation 7(3) in respect of that person.

(8) In the case of a relevant claimant whose benefit has been reduced in accordance with paragraph (1) and who subsequently takes part in a work-focused interview, the whole of the reduction shall cease to have effect on the first day of the benefit week in which the requirement to take part in a work-focused interview was met.

(9) In the case of a relevant claimant whose benefit has been reduced in accordance with paragraph (1) and who subsequently fails to meet the conditions specified in regulation 2(4) or (5), the whole of the reduction shall cease to have effect on the first day of the benefit week in which those conditions are no longer satisfied.

(10) For the purposes of determining the amount of any benefit payable, a relevant claimant shall be treated as receiving the amount of any specified benefit which would have been payable but for a reduction made in accordance with paragraph (1).

(11) Despite regulation 7(3), the consequences specified in paragraph (1) do not apply to a person who—

(a)brings new facts to the notice of the designated authority within one month of the date on which the initial determination was notified to that person and—

(i)those facts could not reasonably have been brought to the designated authority’s notice within 5 working days of the date on which the notification of the initial determination was received; and

(ii)those facts show that there is good cause for the person’s failure to take part in the work-focused interview;

(b)is no longer required to take part in a work-focused interview as a condition of continuing to be entitled to the full amount of the specified benefit that is payable to that person apart from these Regulations; or

(c)attains the age of 60.

(12) Despite anything to the contrary in this regulation, no benefit is to be reduced in any benefit week—

(a)below 10 pence;

(b)in relation to more than one relevant decision relating to a particular work-focused interview;

(c)by more than 100 per cent. of the work-related activity component.

(13) For the purposes of this regulation, “work-related activity component” is the amount specified in Part 4 of Schedule 4 to the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008(1).

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