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The Social Security (Loss of Benefit) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

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Citation and commencement

1.  These Regulations may be cited as the Social Security (Loss of Benefit) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and shall come into operation on 1st September 2011.

Amendment of the Social Security (Loss of Benefit) Regulations

2.—(1) The Social Security (Loss of Benefit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002(1) are amended as follows.

(2) In regulation 1 (citation, commencement and interpretation)—

(a)in paragraph (2)—

(i)in the definition of “disqualification period”—

(aa)after “section” insert “5B(11) or”, and

(bb)for “regulation 2” substitute “regulations 1A and 2”;

(ii)after the definition of “disqualification period” insert—

“the determination day” means (subject to paragraph (2A)) the day on which the Department determines that a restriction under—

(a)

section 5B or 6 of the Act would be applicable to the offender were the offender in receipt of a sanctionable benefit;

(b)

section 7 of the Act would be applicable to the offender were the offender a member of a joint-claim couple which is in receipt of a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance; or

(c)

section 8 of the Act would be applicable to the offender’s family member were that member in receipt of income support, jobseeker’s allowance, state pension credit, employment and support allowance or housing benefit;;

(iii)at the end of the definition of “the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations” omit “and”;

(iv)in the definition of “offender” after “section” insert “5B or”;

(v)after the definition of “offender” add—

“pay day” in relation to a sanctionable benefit means the day on which that benefit is due to be paid; and

“relevant authority” in relation to housing benefit means the relevant authority administering the benefit of the offender or the offender’s family member.;

(b)after paragraph (2) insert—

(2A) Where, for the purposes of section 5B of the Act, the disqualifying event is an agreement to pay a penalty as referred to in section 5B(1)(b) of the Act, the determination day is the 28th day after the day referred to in the definition of that term in paragraph (2)..

(3) For regulation 2(2) (disqualification period) substitute—

Disqualification period: section 5B(11) of the Act

1A.(1) The first day of the disqualification period for the purposes of section 5B(11) of the Act (“DQ-day”) shall be determined as follows.

(2) This paragraph applies where on the determination day—

(a)the offender is in receipt of a sanctionable benefit;

(b)the offender is a member of a joint-claim couple which is in receipt of a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance; or

(c)the offender’s family member is in receipt of income support, jobseeker’s allowance, state pension credit, employment and support allowance or housing benefit.

(3) Where paragraph (2) applies and paragraph (4) does not apply (but subject to paragraph (7))—

(a)in relation to a sanctionable benefit which is paid in arrears, DQ-day is the day following the first pay day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the determination day; and

(b)in relation to a sanctionable benefit which is paid in advance, DQ-day is the first pay day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the determination day.

(4) This paragraph applies where on the determination day the offender or (as the case may be) the offender’s family member is in receipt of—

(a)housing benefit; and

(b)no other sanctionable benefit.

(5) Where paragraph (4) applies—

(a)in relation to housing benefit which is paid in arrears, DQ-day is the day following the first pay day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the first day after the determination day on which the Department is notified by the relevant authority that the offender or the offender’s family member is in receipt of housing benefit or has been awarded housing benefit; and

(b)in relation to housing benefit which is paid in advance, DQ-day is the first pay day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the first day after the determination day on which the Department is so notified by the relevant authority.

(6) Where neither paragraph (2) nor paragraph (4) applies, DQ-day is the first day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the determination day.

(7) Where on the determination day—

(a)paragraph (2) applies in the case of an offender or (as the case may be) the offender’s family member, but

(b)that person ceases to be in receipt of a benefit referred to in that paragraph before the first day of the disqualification period that would apply by virtue of paragraph (3),

DQ-day is the first day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the determination day.

Disqualification period: section 6(6) of the Act

2.(1) The first day of the disqualification period for the purposes of section 6(6) of the Act (“DQ-day”) shall be determined as follows.

(2) This paragraph applies where on the determination day—

(a)the offender is in receipt of a sanctionable benefit;

(b)the offender is a member of a joint-claim couple which is in receipt of a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance; or

(c)the offender’s family member is in receipt of income support, jobseeker’s allowance, state pension credit, employment and support allowance or housing benefit.

(3) Where paragraph (2) applies and paragraph (4) does not apply—

(a)in relation to a sanctionable benefit which is paid in arrears, DQ-day is the day following the first pay day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the determination day; and

(b)in relation to a sanctionable benefit which is paid in advance, DQ-day is the first pay day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the determination day.

(4) This paragraph applies where on the determination day the offender or (as the case may be) the offender’s family member is in receipt of—

(a)housing benefit; and

(b)no other sanctionable benefit.

(5) Where paragraph (4) applies—

(a)in relation to housing benefit which is paid in arrears, DQ-day is the day following the first pay day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the first day after the determination day on which the Department is notified by the relevant authority that the offender or the offender’s family member is in receipt of housing benefit or has been awarded housing benefit; and

(b)in relation to housing benefit which is paid in advance, DQ-day is the first pay day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the first day after the determination day on which the Department is so notified by the relevant authority.

(6) Where neither paragraph (2) nor paragraph (4) applies, DQ-day is the first day after the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the determination day on which the Department decides to award—

(a)a sanctionable benefit to the offender;

(b)a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance to a joint-claim couple of which the offender is a member; or

(c)income support, jobseeker’s allowance, state pension credit or employment and support allowance to the offender’s family member.

(7) For the purposes of the preceding provisions of this regulation, DQ-day is to be no later than 5 years and 28 days after the date of the conviction of the offender for the benefit offence in the later proceedings referred to in section 6(1) of the Act; and section 6(9) of the Act (date of conviction and references to conviction) shall apply for the purposes of this paragraph as it applies for the purposes of section 6 of the Act..

(4) In regulation 3(3) (reduction of income support and income-related employment and support allowance)—

(a)in paragraph (1) for “to (4)” substitute “and (3)”;

(b)omit paragraph (4).

(5) In regulation 5(3) (meaning of “person in hardship”)—

(a)after sub-paragraph (a) add “or”;

(b)in sub-paragraph (b) after “Article” insert “10 or” and before “circumstances” insert “attendance, information and evidence;” and

(c)omit sub-paragraph (c) and the word “or” immediately before it.

(6) In regulation 6(2) (circumstances in which an income-based jobseeker’s allowance is payable to a person who is a person in hardship) before “6(2)” insert “5B(5) or ”.

(7) In regulation 7(2) (further circumstances in which an income-based jobseeker’s allowance is payable to a person who is a person in hardship) before “6(2)” insert “5B(5) or”.

(8) In regulation 9 (provision of information) before “6(4)(b)” insert “5B(7)(b) and”.

(9) In regulation 11(4) (application of Part and meaning of “couple in hardship”)—

(a)in paragraph (2) for “regulation 13” substitute “regulation 12”;

(b)in paragraph (3) for “regulation 14” substitute “regulation 13”;

(c)in paragraph (4)(b)—

(i)after “subject” insert “or are to be treated as subject”;

(ii)after “Article” insert “10 or”, and

(iii)before “denial” insert “attendance, information and evidence;”.

(10) In regulation 18 (circumstances where housing benefit is payable) after “income support” insert “, an income-related employment and support allowance, state pension credit,”.

(11) After regulation 19 (social security benefits not to be sanctionable benefits) insert—

Benefits to be treated as neither sanctionable nor disqualifying

19A.  Each of the following benefits is to be treated as neither a sanctionable benefit nor a disqualifying benefit—

(a)statutory adoption pay;

(b)statutory paternity pay;

(c)health in pregnancy grant..

(12) In regulation 20 (deductions from benefits) before “6” insert “5B,”.

Amendment of the Social Security (Credits) Regulations

3.—(1) The Social Security (Credits) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1975(5) are amended as follows.

(2) In regulation 7A(1)(6) (credits for carer’s allowance) after “section”, in the first place it occurs, insert “5B or”.

(3) In regulation 8A(2)(d)(7) (credits for unemployment) after “section” insert “5B,”.

Amendment of the Income Support (General) Regulations

4.—(1) The Income Support (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1987(8) are amended as follows.

(2) In Schedule 1B(9) (prescribed categories of person) in paragraph 4(b) (persons caring for another person) after “section” insert “5B or”.

(3) In Schedule 2 (applicable amounts) in paragraph 13(5)(10) (severe disability premium) after “section” insert “5B or”.

Amendment of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations

5.—(1) The Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996(11) are amended as follows.

(2) In regulation 47(4)(b)(ii)(12) (jobseeking period) after “section” insert “5B,”.

(3) In Schedule 1 (applicable amounts)—

(a)in paragraph 15(9)(13) (severe disability premium) after “section” insert “5B or”; and

(b)in paragraph 20I(7)(14) (severe disability premium) after “section” insert “5B or”.

Amendment of the Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations

6.—(1) The Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999(15) are amended as follows.

(2) In regulation 3 (revision of decisions) for paragraph (8A)(16) substitute—

(8A) Where—

(a)a restriction is imposed on a person under section 5B, 7, 8 or 9 of the Fraud Act as a result of the person—

(i)being convicted of an offence by a court, or

(ii)agreeing to pay a penalty as an alternative to prosecution under section 109A of the Administration Act(17) or section 115A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992(18); and

(b)that conviction is quashed or set aside by that or any other court, or the person withdraws his agreement to pay a penalty,

a decision of the Department made under Article 9(1)(a) or 11 in accordance with regulation 6(2)(i) or (j) may be revised at any time..

(3) In regulation 6(2)(i)(19) (supersession of decisions)—

(a)after “section”, in the first place it occurs, insert “5B,”; and

(b)for “same meaning as in section 6” substitute “meaning given in section 5A”.

(4) In regulation 7(27)(20) (date from which a decision superseded under Article 11 takes effect) after “section” insert “5B or”.

(5) In Schedule 1 (decisions against which no appeal lies) for paragraph 25(21) substitute—

Loss of Benefit

25.(1) In the circumstances referred to in sub-paragraph (2), a decision of the Department that a sanctionable benefit as defined in section 5A of the Fraud Act is not payable (or is to be reduced) pursuant to section 5B, 6, 7 or 8 of that Act as a result of—

(a)a conviction for one or more benefit offences in one set of proceedings;

(b)an agreement to pay a penalty under section 109A of the Administration Act or section 115A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 in relation to a benefit offence;

(c)a caution in respect of one or more benefit offences; or

(d)a conviction for one or more benefit offences in each of two sets of proceedings, the later offence or offences being committed within the period of 5 years after the date of any of the convictions for a benefit offence in the earlier proceedings.

(2) The circumstances are that the only ground of appeal is that any of the convictions was erroneous, or that the offender (as defined in section 5B(1) of the Fraud Act) did not commit the benefit offence in respect of which there has been an agreement to pay a penalty or a caution has been accepted..

Amendment of the Housing Benefit (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations

7.—(1) The Housing Benefit (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001(22) are amended as follows.

(2) For regulation 4(6A)(23) (revision of decisions) substitute—

(6A) Where—

(a)a restriction is imposed on a person under section 5B, 6, 7 or 8 of the Fraud Act (loss of benefit provisions) as result of the person—

(i)being convicted of an offence by a court; or

(ii)agreeing to pay a penalty as an alternative to prosecution under section 109A of the Administration Act or section 115A of the Social Security Administration Act 1992; and

(b)that conviction is quashed or set aside by that or any other court, or the person withdraws his agreement to pay a penalty,

a decision of the relevant authority made in accordance with regulation 7(2)(f) or (g) may be revised at any time..

(3) In regulation 7(2)(f)(24) (decisions superseding earlier decisions)—

(a)after “section”, in the first place it occurs, insert “5B,”; and

(b)for “same meaning as in section 6” substitute “meaning given in section 5A”.

(4) In regulation 8(8)(25) (date from which a decision superseding an earlier decision takes effect) after “section” insert “5B or”.

Amendment of the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations

8.  In regulation 3(i) of the Discretionary Financial Assistance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001(26) (circumstances in which discretionary housing payments may be made) after “section” insert “5B,”.

Amendment of the Housing Benefit Regulations

9.—(1) The Housing Benefit Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(27) are amended as follows.

(2) In regulation 2(3)(d) (interpretation) after “section” insert “5B,”.

(3) In Schedule 4 (applicable amounts) in paragraph 14(7) (severe disability premium) after “section” insert “5B or”.

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

10.—(1) The Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006(28) are amended as follows.

(2) In regulation 2(3)(d) (interpretation) after “section” insert “5B,”.

(3) In Schedule 4 (applicable amounts) in paragraph 6(8)(b) (severe disability premium) after “section” insert “5B or”.

Amendment of the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations

11.—(1) The Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008(29) are amended as follows.

(2) In regulation 157(3)(a) (disqualification for misconduct, etc.) after “section” insert “5B or”.

(3) In Schedule 4 (amounts) in paragraph 6(8) (severe disability premium) after “section” insert “5B or”.

Revocations

12.  The provisions specified in column (1) of the Schedule are revoked to the extent specified in column (3).

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department for Social Development on 29th July 2011

(L.S.)

Anne McCleary

A senior officer of the Department for Social Development

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