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The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Loss of benefit penalties: transition from existing benefits other than tax credits

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36.—(1) Subject to paragraph (6), this regulation applies in the cases set out in paragraphs (2) to (4).

(2) The first case is where—

(a)an award of universal credit is made to a claimant who is an offender;

(b)the claimant was entitled to old style JSA, old style ESA, income support or housing benefit (“the earlier award”) at any time during the period of one month ending with the date on which the claim for universal credit was made or treated as made (or would have been so entitled were it not for termination of that award by virtue of an order made under Article 2(2) of the Order or, as the case may be, the effect of these Regulations); and

(c)payments in respect of the earlier award were, on the relevant date, subject to a restriction under section 5B (loss of benefit in case of conviction, penalty or caution for benefit offence), 6 (repeated benefit fraud) or 7 (effect of offence on joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance) of the Fraud Act 2001.

(3) The second case is where—

(a)an award of universal credit is made to a claimant who is an offender;

(b)another person who was the offender’s family member (but is no longer their family member) was entitled to old style JSA, old style ESA, income support or housing benefit (“the earlier award”) at any time during the period of one month ending with the date on which the claim for universal credit was made or treated as made; and

(c)payments in respect of the earlier award were, on the relevant date, subject to a restriction under section 8 (effect of offence on benefits for members of offender’s family) of the Fraud Act 2001.

(4) The third case is where—

(a)an award of universal credit is made to a claimant who is an offender’s family member;

(b)the offender, or the claimant, was entitled to old style JSA, old style ESA, income support or housing benefit (“the earlier award”) at any time during the period of one month ending with the date on which the claim for universal credit was made or treated as made; and

(c)payments in respect of the earlier award were, on the relevant date, subject to a restriction under section 5B, 6, 7 or, as the case may be, 8 of the Fraud Act 2001.

(5) Where this regulation applies—

(a)any subsequent payment of universal credit to the claimant in respect of an assessment period which falls wholly or partly within the remainder of the disqualification period applicable to the offender is to be reduced in accordance with regulation 37; and

(b)regulation 3ZB of the Loss of Benefit Regulations 2002(1) does not apply.

(6) This regulation does not apply if the earlier award was a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance and—

(a)payments in respect of the award were, on the relevant date, subject to a restriction under section 7(2) of the Fraud Act 2001; or

(b)the award of universal credit is not made to joint claimants who were, on the relevant date, both entitled to the joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance.

(7) In this regulation and in regulation 37—

“the Fraud Act 2001” means the Social Security Fraud Act (Northern Ireland) 2001(2);

“the Loss of Benefit Regulations 2002” means the Social Security (Loss of Benefit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2002(3);

“disqualification period” has the meaning given in section 5B and 6 of the Fraud Act 2001, interpreted in accordance with regulations 1A and 2 of the Loss of Benefit Regulations 2002(4);

“earlier award” is to be interpreted in accordance with paragraph (2)(b), (3)(b) or, as the case may be, (4)(b) and, for the purposes of regulation 37, where there is more than one earlier award, the term refers to the award to which the claimant became entitled most recently;

“offender” means an offender within the meaning of sections 5B(1), 6(1), and 8(2)(c) of the Fraud Act 2001;

“offender’s family member” has the same meaning as in section 8(2)(a) of the Fraud Act 2001;

“the relevant date” means—

(a)

in relation to the first case—

(i)

where the claimant was not entitled to the earlier award on the date on which the claim for universal credit was made or treated as made, the date on which the earlier award terminated,

(ii)

where the claimant is not a new claimant partner and was entitled to the earlier award on the date on which the claim for universal credit was made, that date,

(iii)

where the claimant is a new claimant partner and was entitled to the earlier award on the date on which the claim for universal credit was treated as made, that date;

(b)

in relation to the second case, the date on which the person entitled to the earlier award ceased to be the offender’s family member or, if the award terminated before that date, the date on which the earlier award terminated;

(c)

in relation to the third case—

(i)

where the claimant was entitled to the earlier award but that entitlement terminated before the date on which the claim for universal credit was made or treated as made, the date on which the earlier award terminated,

(ii)

where the claimant is not a new claimant partner and was entitled to the earlier award on the date on which the claim for universal credit was made, that date,

(iii)

where the claimant is a new claimant partner and was entitled to the earlier award on the date on which the claim for universal credit was treated as made, that date,

(iv)

where the offender’s family member was entitled to the earlier award, the date on which that person ceased to be the offender’s family member or, if earlier, the date on which the earlier award terminated.

(8) For the purposes of this regulation, the fact that payments in respect of an earlier award were subject to a restriction is to be taken into account, even if the earlier award subsequently terminated before the date on which payments became subject to a restriction by virtue of an order made under Article 2(3) of the Order (in so far as it was an award of income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance), regulation 5 or, as the case may be, regulation 6.

(1)

Regulation 3ZB was inserted by regulation 9 of S.R. 2016 No. 225.

(4)

Regulation 1A was inserted and regulation 2 was substituted by regulation 2(3) of S.R. 2011 No. 291.

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