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Tribunal Representation

Tribunal Representation

Mr M was awarded Income Support in April 2005. He then made a claim for Disability Living Allowance and was awarded middle care and low rate mobility in July 2005 (backdated to April 2005). There had been no other change to his circumstances, other than the Disability Living Allowance award, since he made his claim for Income Support.
As Mr. M was living alone and no one was claiming Carer’s Allowance he was also entitled to a Severe Disability Premium and a disability premium. Falls DHSS paid him the Disability Premium but apparently as Mr M did not return the IS10 that was sent to him they did not pay him the Severe Disability Premium. When Mr. M changed address in 2006 the clerk at DHSS noticed that a Severe Disability Premium should have been awarded.

When this was applied for and to be backdated the Department refused to backdate and quoted Regs 19 which deal with backdating of a benefit, not backdating of a premium. They were wrong as Severe Disability Premium is a premium, not a stand-alone benefit that some-one claims. Our Representative took the case to tribunal and provided the correct legislation that the Department should have used. Unfortunately, the tribunal ruled against him taking the Department’s side. This was an error in law and the case was sent to the Commissioner. The Department looked at the case again and admitted that they had got it wrong and that the tribunal had got it wrong also. The Commissioner however did make a full decision, as he wanted to clarify this type of situation. The Department stated that they would make this clearer in their training program and also to their Decision-makers. This is now part of NI legislation and can be now used in any further cases. The client was paid back £4,443.73 and we also managed to negotiate further compensation for loss of interest and stress caused.

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