Tax Credits – HMRC compliance investigations and credit agency checks

HMRC routinely collects information from credit reference agencies for data matching against tax credit claims. When this information leads HMRC to suspect an award of tax credit may be incorrect the award may be suspended while the compliance section conducts an investigation. A common scenario is where HMRC suspect a single claimant may have an ‘undeclared partner’ living with them. It is often very difficult for advisers to assist clients when compliance teams are involved.

At the recent NAWRA meeting in Neath a number of advisers reported this to be a growing problem.

HMRC have promised to hold a special meeting of the Benefits & Credits Consultation group to discuss this matter further (date to be arranged). It would be helpful to collect more examples of the problems that have arisen.

Two NAWRA members have agreed to collate examples to take to HMRC. It would help if members could send examples to the following email contacts:

For CAB advisers: sue.royston@citizensadvice.org.uk
For all other NAWRA members: alban.hawksworth@turn2us.org.uk

Thanks to both for their help and to you all for your input.

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Help NAWRA respond to DWP consultation on PIP

The DWP are inviting responses to the third and final consultation on PIP by the 30th June, so once again we are asking NAWRA members to help in putting together our response. Thanks to those of you who contributed last time; we’re asking a bit earlier so we’re hoping for even more this time!

Whether by brief bullet points or polished paragraphs all views, comments and examples – be they in general terms or for specific groups of clients – can only add weight and credibility to our response. Please do not feel confined to the consultation questions asked by the DWP – they may as ever not be the right ones.

This consultation is mainly around the non-disability criteria for PIP and contains DWP proposals on matters such as payability (e.g. in hospital, residential care), qualifying periods, residence conditions, age (e.g. what happens coming up to 16 and after 65), the reassessment process for current DLA claimants and passporting effects (including the absence of disability elements in Universal Credit). Regulations will follow in the Autumn.

The proposals are available on the DWP website.

Read a summary of the main points in the consultation document along with our concerns.

Read the previous NAWRA consultation response.

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE CONSULTATION

We would also welcome any views on how else you would like NAWRA to respond to the PIP proposals, whether by facilitating the sharing of materials, resources and ideas as we raise awareness of the impending changes or challenging their inevitability by campaigning against them.

While we do not have the resources of big disability groups, but perhaps can bring our welfare rights perspective and expertise to groups such as the Disability Benefits Consortium. Together we might conclude that the case for change is perhaps more poorly made and the potential negative impacts on individuals, poverty and personal independence more clearcut than than many MPs have been led to believe.

As the important process of influencing the PIP proposals draws to a close, disability and advice organisations might step back and see if the resulting package is in any way acceptable? Or perhaps an alternative case needs to be advanced for a more modern flexible and cost effective benefit that is capable of delivering a personalised assessment of individual claimants and that does not rely on outdated failed medical models of disability and assessment?

HOW TO JOIN IN

We want then to draw on the strength and expertise of NAWRA members. All contributions gratefully received – by June 24th 2012, please – to tom@nawra.org.uk on both:

  • concerns, comments and case studies around the proposals in the 3rd consultation
  • and more generally – around the abolition of DLA for adults and what is to be done?
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New website goes live!

If you are thinking ‘this looks different’ then you are right!  Our redesigned website has now launched – we hope you like it.

Why not have a look around?

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