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The Housing Benefit (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

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Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Housing Benefit (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and, subject to paragraph (2), shall come into operation on 1st May 2011.

(2) Regulations 4(7)(a) and (9)(b) and 5(7) shall come into operation—

(a)in relation to any case where rent is payable at intervals of a week or any multiple of a week, on 4th April 2011; and

(b)in relation to any other case, on 1st April 2011.

(3) 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 (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations

2.  In regulation 10(1)(b) of the Housing Benefit (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001(2) (notice of a decision against which an appeal lies) after “he may” insert “, within one month of the date of notification of that decision (or, if the decision was notified before 1st May 2011, before 1st June 2011),”.

Amendment of the Social Security (Notification of Change of Circumstances) Regulations

3.  In regulation 4 of the Social Security (Notification of Change of Circumstances) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001(3) (change affecting housing benefit)—

(a)for paragraph (1) substitute—

(1) Subject to paragraph (1A), where the benefit affected by the change of circumstances is housing benefit, notice must be given to the relevant authority at the designated office—

(a)in writing;

(b)by telephone—

(i)i)where the relevant authority has published a telephone number for that purpose or for the purposes of making a claim unless the authority determines that in any particular case or class of case notification may not be given by telephone, or

(ii)in any case or class of case where the relevant authority determines that notice may be given by telephone; or

(c)by any other means which the relevant authority agrees to accept in any particular case.

(1A) Notice may be given to the appropriate office by telephone where all the following conditions are met—

(a)the claimant or the claimant’s partner is in receipt of income support or a jobseeker’s allowance;

(b)the change of circumstances is that the claimant or the claimant’s partner starts employment;

(c)as a result of the change, either entitlement to housing benefit will end, or the amount of benefit will be reduced; and

(d)a telephone number has been provided for that purpose.; and

(b)in paragraph (2) for ““designated office” and relevant authority”” substitute ““appropriate office”(4), “claimant”, “designated office” and “relevant authority””.

Amendment of the Housing Benefit Regulations

4.—(1) The Housing Benefit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(5) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (9).

(2) In regulation 19(3) (circumstances in which a person is to be treated as being or not being a member of the household) after “as a member of the claimant’s household” insert “, nor as occupying the claimant’s dwelling,”.

(3) In regulation 81 (time and manner in which claims are to be made) for paragraph (12)(6) substitute—

(12) Where a claimant (“C”)—

(a)makes a claim which includes (or which C subsequently requests should include) a period before the claim is made; and

(b)from a day in that period, up to the date when C made the claim (or subsequently requested that the claim should include a past period), C had continuous good cause for failing to make a claim (or request that the claim should include that period),

the claim is to be treated as made on the date determined in accordance with paragraph (12A).

(12A) That date is the latest of—

(a)the first day from which C had continuous good cause;

(b)the day 6 months before the date the claim was made;

(c)the day 6 months before the date when C requested that the claim should include a past period..

(4) In regulation 84(1)(7) (duty to notify changes of circumstances) for sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) substitute—

(a)in writing;

(b)by telephone—

(i)i)where the relevant authority has published a telephone number for that purpose or for the purposes of regulation 81 unless the authority determines that in any particular case or class of case notification may not be given by telephone, or

(ii)in any case or class of case where the relevant authority determines that notice may be given by telephone; or

(c)by any other means which the relevant authority agrees to accept in any particular case..

(5) In regulation 86(2) (notification of decisions) after “signed by him,” insert “within one month of the date of the notification of that decision (or, if the decision was notified before 1st May 2011, before 1st June 2011)”.

(6) In regulation 93(2) (circumstances in which payment may be made to a landlord) omit “by sending to the claimant an instrument of payment payable”.

(7) In Schedule 4 (applicable amounts)—

(a)in paragraph 3 (family premium) for sub-paragraph (2) substitute—

(2) The amounts specified in sub-paragraph (1)(a) and (b) shall be increased by £10.50 where the claimant or the claimant’s partner is in receipt of child tax credit and the family element includes the amount in regulation 7(3)(a) of the Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002(8).; and

(b)in paragraph 20(9)(9) (amounts of premiums specified in Part III) in the first column omit “where the conditions in paragraph 15 are satisfied”.

(8) In Schedule 5 (sums to be disregarded in the calculation of earnings) in paragraph 17(3)(a) for “paragraphs 3 to 10” substitute “paragraphs 3 to 10A”.

(9) In Schedule 6 (sums to be disregarded in the calculation of income other than earnings)—

(a)in paragraph 15 in sub-paragraphs (ba) and (bc)(10) after paragraph (ii) insert—

(iia)the Army Pensions (Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 and Attributable Benefits Scheme) Warrant 2010(11);;

(b)in paragraph 26—

(i)in sub-paragraph (1)(12) omit “to the extent specified in sub-paragraph (3)”, and

(ii)omit sub-paragraph (3); and

(c)in paragraph 49A(2)(13) in the definition of “liable relative” for “Income Support (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987” substitute “Income Support Regulations”.

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

5.—(1) The Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(14) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (8).

(2) In regulation 19(3) (circumstances in which a person is to be treated as being or not being a member of the household) after “as a member of the claimant’s household” insert “, nor as occupying the claimant’s dwelling,”.

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

(a)in paragraph (1)(15) at the beginning insert “Subject to paragraph (1A),”; and

(b)after paragraph (1) insert—

(1A) In any case where paragraph (6)(a) applies, paragraph (1) does not entitle a claimant to claim housing benefit in respect of any day earlier than 3 months before the date on which the claim for state pension credit is made (or treated as made by virtue of any provision of the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987(16))..

(4) In regulation 65(1)(17) (duty to notify changes of circumstances) for sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) substitute—

(a)in writing;

(b)by telephone—

(i)i)where the relevant authority has published a telephone number for that purpose or for the purposes of regulation 62 unless the authority determines that in any particular case or class of case notification may not be given by telephone, or

(ii)in any case or class of case where the relevant authority determines that notice may be given by telephone; or

(c)by any other means which the relevant authority agrees to accept in any particular case..

(5) In regulation 67(2) (notification of decision) after “signed by him,” insert “within one month of the date of the notification of that decision (or, if the decision was notified before 1st May 2011, before 1st June 2011)”.

(6) In regulation 74(2) (circumstances in which payment may be made to a landlord) omit “by sending to the claimant an instrument of payment payable”.

(7) In paragraph 3 of Schedule 4 (family premium) for sub-paragraph (2) substitute—

(2) The amount specified in sub-paragraph (1) shall be increased by £10.50 where the claimant or the claimant’s partner is in receipt of child tax credit and the family element includes the amount in regulation 7(3)(a) of the Child Tax Credit Regulations 2002..

(8) In paragraph 1 of Schedule 6(18) (sums to be disregarded in the calculation of income other than earnings) in sub-paragraphs (ba) and (bc) after paragraph (ii) insert—

(iia)the Army Pensions (Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 and Attributable Benefits Scheme) Warrant 2010;.

Revocations

6.  Paragraph 9(a) of Schedule 2 to the Housing Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(19), regulation 4 of the Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendments No. 3) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008(20) and regulation 6(9)(a) of the Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009(21) are revoked.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department for Social Development on 22nd March 2011

(L.S.)

Anne McCleary

A senior officer of the Department for Social Development

The Department of Finance and Personnel hereby consents to Regulations 4(2) and (7) to (9) and 5(2), (7) and (8).

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Finance and Personnel on 22nd March 2011

(L.S.)

Adrian Arbuthnot

A senior officer of the Department of Finance and Personnel

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