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The Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Fuel costs

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8.—(1) This paragraph applies where the following condition is met.

(2) The condition is that in any assessment period the claimant is in debt for any fuel item.

(3) Where this paragraph applies, but subject to sub-paragraphs (5) and (6), the Department may, in such cases and circumstances as the Department may determine, deduct in relation to that assessment period the following amounts from the claimant’s award and pay them to the person to whom the payment is due.

(4) The amount which may be deducted in respect of any fuel item is—

(a)an amount equal to 5 per cent. of the standard allowance; and

(b)an additional amount which the Department estimates is equal to the average monthly cost necessary to meet the claimant’s continuing need for the fuel in respect of which the debt arose, except where current consumption is paid for by other means such as a pre-payment meter.

(5) Before the Department may commence (or re-commence) making deductions in respect of such a debt, the claimant’s earned income (or in the case of joint claimants their combined earned income) in relation to the previous assessment period must not exceed the work allowance.

(6) The Department must stop making such deductions if, in relation to the three assessment periods immediately preceding the date on which the next deduction could otherwise be made, the claimant’s earned income (or in the case of joint claimants their combined earned income) equals or exceeds the work allowance.

(7) As between liabilities for items of gas or electricity, the Department must give priority to whichever liability the Department considers it would, having regard to the circumstances and to any requests of the claimant, be appropriate to discharge.

(8) In this paragraph “fuel item” means—

(a)any charge for mains gas, including any charge for the reconnection of mains gas;

(b)any charge for mains electricity, including any charge for the disconnection or reconnection of mains electricity.

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