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CTR claim process when also applying for UC

Jon (CANY)
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Welfare benefits - Craven CAB, North Yorkshire

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Our council say that someone if someone is applying for UC, and ticks the box in the application to say they also want to apply for CTR, then that stands as the CTR application. They take the data from the UC system, and no further claim form is required to put the CTR into payment. The claimant is not asked to sign any declaration for the council. This is at odds with the Shelter handbook (16.8), which says that such a notification is not an application for CTR, and the application must be made direct to the council, citing The Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements) (England) Regulations 2012, Sch 7 para 2-3:

2.  An application may be made—

(a)in writing,
(b)by means of an electronic communication in accordance with Part 4 of this Schedule, or
(c)where an authority has published a telephone number for the purpose of receiving such applications, by telephone.
3.—(1) An application which is made in writing must be made to the designated office on a properly completed form.

(2) The form must be provided free of charge by the authority for the purpose.

The above is repeated in the local scheme, but since 2014/15 it also includes a rule saying:

Notwithstanding other paragraphs within this section, the authority will determine the method by which claims are to be made as well as where claims should be sent or delivered. For the purposes of this scheme a Local Authority Information Document (LAID) or Local Authority Customer Information document (LACI) issued by the Department for Work and Pensions shall be treated as a valid claim.


I guess that allows for the council’s procedure? Anyway, I can see that it streamlines the process for a lot of claimants. But one problem I can see from the council’s approach is that they don’t gather info about non-dependent’s income, so they just routinely apply the maximum deduction.

Our local CTR scheme doesn’t allow any backdating, so I’m not sure what should happen if a UC award is backdated under C+P reg 26 (or reg10!).

Are there any other issues that could arise from not asking for claim forms?

 

andyrichards
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City services - Brighton and Hove City Council

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Well there is the little matter of how they’d ever prosecute for fraud, or be able to argue generally that the claimant failed to disclose something, if there was never a written declaration and undertaking to report changes.  If I was in that position I’d argue that “well, your honour, I never asked the Council for this reduction in the first place”.  I don’t think simply indicating to UC that they’d be interested in claiming CTR is sufficient.

I also don’t see how they can be sure that they’ve gathered all the necessary information. The relevant notification - the UCLCTR - is not the same thing as a LAID or a LACI.  It frequently mentions “other income” without specifying what it is.

andyrichards
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City services - Brighton and Hove City Council

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I also wonder how it sits with GDPR.  If there’s no written claim form is there a consent to the processing of data?

I’m not claiming to be a GDPR expert though….....

Jon (CANY)
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Welfare benefits - Craven CAB, North Yorkshire

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Thanks Andy, the fraud issue had crossed my mind ..

Ok, from digging around on the internet, here is an excerpt from a ‘Memorandum of Understanding between DWP HDD and Local Authorities 2017-2018’:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/483449/response/1169978/attach/3/MOU%20HDD.pdf?cookie_passthrough=1

10. When the initial claim information is gathered by DWP, the customer will be asked if they are already in receipt of a LCTR. If they are, DWP will continue to share DWP data. However if the customer indicates they are not receiving help DWP will ask them if they ‘Have an intent to apply for a reduction in their council tax?’ Where they indicate an interest, DWP will continue to send through the data we have collected for the DWP benefit on the LAID and LACI documents.

11. Due to the fact that DWP cannot take claims for LCTR schemes, amendments have been made to the initial DWP data gather. There will be areas where information will no longer be available, details of these changes and more information on this is included in the following housing benefit ‘circular A4/2013’ which can be found here.

Also, I see that Winchester council have a similar clause to ours but with extra wording:

For the purposes of this scheme a Universal Credit notification, a Local Authority Information Document (LAID) or Local Authority Customer Information document (LACI) issued by the Department for Work and Pensions shall be treated as a valid claim

http://www.winchester.gov.uk/assets/attach/16245/CTR%20scheme%202018-2019_.pdf

Anyway, our LA seems satisfied that they have enough income data to decide CTR.

[ Edited: 30 Aug 2019 at 03:20 pm by Jon (CANY) ]
Jon (CANY)
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Welfare benefits - Craven CAB, North Yorkshire

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I had forgotten this previous thread, in which Andy P noted that Kirklees also do this in their CTR scheme:
https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/13261/#62573

Any more? Any thoughts on whether it’s useful? (or lawful??)

Tom B (WRAMAS)
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WRAMAS - Bristol City Council

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Jon (CHDCA) - 30 August 2019 10:17 AM

Our council say that someone if someone is applying for UC, and ticks the box in the application to say they also want to apply for CTR, then that stands as the CTR application.

What does the text on the UC claim form actually say about applying for CTR? Does anyone have a screenshot?