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Pension Credit & Support for Mortgage Interest - date of award supersession request

 

Nick L
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(i)Future Money Team (ii) Talking Money - Bristol

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Hi all,

I’ve got a client who’s currently in the process of waiting for a tribunal date for a first-tier tribunal for a Pension Credit Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) decision.

The client applied for and was awarded PC in October 2013, a month later she applied for SMI and was sent the Mi12 form to complete. She didn’t complete the Mi12 in time because of considerable health conditions. She made a couple of further attempts to complete newly requested a Mi12 forms over the coming 3 years. Client suffers with heart disease after 2 previous heart attacks, leg and spinal injuries from a car crash many years ago, osteoarthritis and has come through 2 bouts of stage 3 cancer, she has been in receipt of higher rate AA since October 2013. Her heart condition is her main complaint and it means that she gets breathless and exhausted easily and this is what stopped her being able to complete the forms previously.

She finally completed it with the help of ourselves at the end of 2016 and SMI was in payment until a few weeks ago when it became the loan. It was paid from 07/11/16 which was the date she requested the most recent (and finally fully completed) SMI form.

We prepared an argument that said she should at least be entitled to the SMI from November 2013 when she first applied for SMI but was unable to complete the Mi12 form as she had still notified them that she had housing costs.

We found caselaw that we thought indicated that in fact she should be entitled to SMI from the date she notified PC that she had housing costs, which was her date of claim. This case law (attached in full) is:
The Upper Tribunal decision [2013] UKUT 138 (AAC) in relation to CJSA/516/2013

A copy of our representations in the submission (I can attach a redacted version of this if need be:

12. M was unable to complete the original MI12 form issued on 26/11/2013 in time due to worsening health conditions. As mentioned previously M receives the higher rate of the disability benefit Attendance Allowance and has done since 31/10/2013.
13. The Upper Tribunal decision [2013] UKUT 138 (AAC) in relation to CJSA/516/2013 (see attached Decision Summary) outlines that the effective date of a supersession in relation to help with mortgage costs is the relevant date that the change in circumstances occurred. i.e. for the benefit Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), after the 13-week waiting period. It further contends that the return of the MI12 form is not a notification of the relevant change in circumstance because the Secretary of State is already aware of the fact mortgage costs exist as would have been declared in the original application for the respective benefit.
14. In accordance with the above caselaw we request the date of supersession be the date that the relevant change of circumstances occurred. In this instance the relevant change of circumstance is the date of claim for Pension Credit (28/10/2013) as this is the date from which M could have claimed SMI if she were well enough to do so.

We have now received a response from The Pensions Dispute team via the tribunal service which I have also attached.

I think this means that they suggest that the decision outlined in the caselaw relates only to Regulation 7bb and not 7b (i) or (ii) so the caselaw doesn’t back our case up.

Can anybody shed any light on whether this caselaw is as irrelevant as The Pension Service says and if this is there any alternative case law to support the appeal? Does the appeal have any legs at all!?

Many thanks in advance

Nick

     

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Elliot Kent
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Shelter

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Joined: 14 July 2014

The note to DMG 04656 confirms the DWP’s official view that SK applies equally in the SPC context to permit supersession from an earlier date. Perhaps that ought to be drawn to the DM’s attention.