Can someone please tell me if the earnings disregard in housing benefit should be awarded if a tenant is employed but currently on maternity leave?
Are they getting SMP?
Yeah they are in receipt of SMP . Only £97.00 per week as hours were 16 before having baby.
The additional earnings disregsard is applicable where:-
i) The 30 hour element is awarded in WTC
ii) claimant/partner is aged at least 25 yrs old and works on average 30 hours pw
iii) claimant/partner works on average 16 hours pw and they are responsible for a dependant child/young person
iv) for working age claims claimant/partner works on average 16 hours pw and their applicable amount includes a disability premium or the work related activety component or the support component
v) for pension claims claimant/partner works on average 16 hours pw and the employed person satisfies the conditions for the disabled or long-term sick earned income disregard.
Employment for the items ii) to v) above excludes Maternity, Paternity or Adoption Leave -
so unless she’s getting the 30 hour element in her working tax credits she will no longer get the earnings disregard as SMP doesnt count as being in remunerative work. However, she will still continue to qualify for Childcare costs disregard, if she had those immediately prior to starting her maternity leave
But the main earnings disregard should apply, as SMP is earnings.
Thanks the reply I got from the local authority was :-
“Thank you for providing a mandate. I can confirm that the reason the £25.00 disregard is not included is that Ms is in receipt of Maternity benefit, not earnings so disregard would not apply”
I find it odd, as my benefit system calculates as her being entitled to it. But thank you for your help.
See page 436 Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits handbook 2019/20 tenth bullet point.
Refer them to Reg 35(1)(i) of the HB Regs 2006: the definition of earnings clearly includes SMP.
There are two possibilities explaining the Council’s decision:
- they are confusing “earnings” with “remunerative work”. RW is required in order to get the extra £17-odd disregard (unless the equivalent WTC element is in payment), but the normal flat rate disregards, which would appear to be £25 in this case, apply to “earnings”
- it isn’t SMP, it’s Maternity Allowance