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The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Extended Period of Sickness) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

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Citation, commencement and interpretation

1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Extended Period of Sickness) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 and shall come into operation on 30th March 2015.

(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 Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations

2.—(1) The Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996(2) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (5).

(2) In regulation 14(1) (circumstances in which a person is to be treated as available)—

(a)in sub-paragraph (k)(3) after “regulation 55 (short periods of sickness)” insert “55ZA (extended period of sickness) or 55A (periods of sickness and persons receiving treatment outside Northern Ireland)”; and

(b)omit sub-paragraph (kk)(4).

(3) In regulation 19(1) (circumstances in which a person is to be treated as actively seeking employment) after sub-paragraph (k)(5) insert—

(kzk)in any week during which he is treated as capable of work or as not having limited capability for work under regulation 55ZA (extended period of sickness) unless it would be reasonable for him to take steps in that week to seek employment and he has not taken such steps;.

(4) In regulation 55 (short periods of sickness)—

(a)in paragraph (1)—

(i)for “(4)” substitute “(6)”, and

(ii)in sub-paragraph (c)(6) for “but for his disease or disablement, would satisfy” substitute “during the period of his disease or disablement, satisfies”;

(b)in paragraph (3) for “Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall” substitute “Paragraph (1) does”;

(c)in paragraph (4)(7) for “Paragraphs (1) to (3) shall” substitute “Paragraph (1) does”;

(d)in paragraph (5)(8) for “The preceding provisions of this regulation shall” substitute “Paragraph (1) does”; and

(e)after paragraph (5) add—

(6) Paragraph (1) does not apply to any person—

(a)during any period where the person is treated as capable of work or as not having limited capability for work under regulation 55ZA (extended period of sickness); or

(b)where the first day in respect of which that person would, apart from this sub-paragraph, have been treated as capable of work or as not having limited capability for work under this regulation falls immediately after the last day on which the person is so treated under regulation 55ZA..

(5) After regulation 55 insert—

Extended period of sickness

55ZA.(1) This regulation applies to a person who—

(a)has been awarded a jobseeker’s allowance;

(b)proves to the satisfaction of the Department that he is unable to work on account of some specific disease or disablement;

(c)either—

(i)i)declares that he has been unable to work, or expects to be unable to work, on account of that disease or disablement for more than 2 weeks but he does not expect to be unable to work on account of that disease or disablement for more than 13 weeks; or

(ii)is not a person to whom regulation 55(1) (short periods of sickness) applies by virtue of paragraph (3) of that regulation;

(d)during the period of his disease or disablement, satisfies the requirements for entitlement to a jobseeker’s allowance other than those specified in Article 3(2)(a), (c) and (f) (availability for and actively seeking employment and capable of work or not having limited capability for work); and

(e)has not stated in writing that for the period of his disease or disablement he proposes to claim or has claimed an employment and support allowance.

(2) The evidence which is required for the purposes of paragraph (1)(b) in a case where paragraph (1)(c)(i) applies is—

(a)evidence of incapacity for work or limited capability for work in accordance with the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1976(9) (which prescribe the form of a doctor’s statement or other evidence in each case); and

(b)any such additional information as the Department may request.

(3) The evidence which is required for the purposes of paragraph (1)(b) in a case where paragraph (1)(c)(ii) applies is a declaration made by the person in writing, in a form approved for the purposes by the Department, that the person has been unfit for work from a date or for a period specified in the declaration.

(4) Subject to the following paragraphs, a person to whom this regulation applies is to be treated as capable of work or as not having limited capability for work for the continuous period beginning on and including the first day on which he is unable to work on account of the disease or disablement (“the first day”) and ending on—

(a)the last such day; or

(b)if that period would otherwise exceed 13 weeks, the day which is 13 weeks after the first day.

(5) This regulation does not apply to a person on more than one occasion in any one period of 12 months starting on and including the first day applying for the purpose of paragraph (4).

(6) Paragraphs (4) and (5) of regulation 55 apply for the purposes of this regulation as they apply for the purposes of paragraph (1) of regulation 55..

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

3.—(1) The Social Security and Child Support (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999(10) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) After regulation 3(5H)(11) (revision of decisions) insert—

(5I) A decision by the Department under Article 9 awarding an employment and support allowance may be revised at any time where—

(a)it is made immediately following the last day of a period for which the claimant was treated as capable of work or as not having limited capability for work under regulation 55ZA of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (extended period of sickness) and that period lasted 13 weeks; and

(b)it is not a decision which embodies a determination that the claimant is treated as having limited capability for work under regulation 30 of the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (conditions for treating a claimant as having limited capability for work until a determination about limited capability for work has been made)..

(3) In regulation 7(37)(12) (date from which a decision superseded under Article 11 takes effect) for “the beginning of the 14th week of entitlement” substitute “the day after the last day of the relevant period as defined in regulation 4(4) of the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations”.

Amendment of the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations

4.—(1) The Employment and Support Allowance Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008(13) are amended in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) In regulation 4(14) (the end of the assessment phase)—

(a)in paragraph (1) from “a period of 13 weeks” to the end substitute “the relevant period”;

(b)in paragraph (3) for “the 13 week period referred to in paragraph (1)” substitute “the relevant period”; and

(c)after paragraph (3) add—

(4) In this regulation “the relevant period” means the period of 13 weeks beginning with and including—

(a)the first day of the assessment phase as determined under section 24(2)(a) of the Act; or

(b)where that day immediately follows an extended period of sickness, the first day of the extended period of sickness.

(5) In paragraph (4) “extended period of sickness” means a period in which the claimant was—

(a)entitled to a jobseeker’s allowance; and

(b)treated as capable of work or as not having limited capability for work under regulation 55ZA of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (extended period of sickness)..

(3) In regulation 5 (the assessment phase-previous claimants) after paragraph (1)(15) insert—

(1A) For the purposes of paragraph (1), any period when the claimant was—

(a)entitled to a jobseeker’s allowance; and

(b)treated as capable of work or as not having limited capability for work under regulation 55ZA of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations (extended period of sickness),

is to be treated as a period when the claimant was previously entitled to an employment and support allowance.

Revocations

5.  Regulation 17(3) of the Social Security and Child Support (Jobseeker’s Allowance) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996(16) and regulation 3(2)(a) of the Social Security (Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004(17) are revoked.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department for Social Development on 6th March 2015

(L.S.)

Anne McCleary

A senior officer of the Department for Social Development

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