Social Security Chamber Decisions Report

 

Individual Tribunal decisions will not be published by the Chamber but, from time to time, the Chamber President Anne Scott intends to publish updates on matters of interest and points of law arising in decisions. 

 

Decisions Report 3 - September 2019

Best Start School-Age Grant 2019

The first appeal has been decided.  Although many people think that this Grant is available to help with the expense when a child starts school, in fact, that is not the case.  It is a School-Age Grant.  It can be applied for whether or not the child goes to school.  An application for the School-Age Grant must be made in a window which is:

(a)  If the child’s birthday is in January or February it is the period between 1 June of the calendar year in which the child’s 4th birthday falls and the last day of February in the following year, or

(b)   In every other case it is the period between 1 June of the calendar year in which the child’s 5th birthday falls and the last day of February in the following year.

As with the other Best Start Grants there is no provision in the legislation for extending that period.  The Tribunal has no power to extend the time limit or to consider whether the result of the application of the law is fair.

 

 

Decisions Report 2 - August 2019

Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grant 2019

We continue to receive appeals in relation to Pregnancy and Baby Grant and the issues are the same as those in the first five appeals described in the Decisions Report of May 2019.



Best Start Early Learning Grants 2019 

The first appeal has been decided.  An application must be made in the period between the child’s second birthday and the day the child becomes three years and six months old.  In that case the appeal was dismissed because the appeal was made when the child was a few weeks older than three years and six months.

There is no provision in the legislation for extending that period even if there is a good reason why the application could not be made on time.  The Tribunal has no power to extend the time limit or to consider whether the result of the application of the law is fair.

14 August 2019

Decisions Report 1 - May 2019 

Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grant 2019

The first five appeals have been decided by the Tribunal.  The Agency chose not to attend any hearings and four of the appellants also opted for their appeals to be paper cases.

The Tribunal offered the appellant in the first appeal the opportunity to attend a hearing at a Tribunal Centre or alternatively to explain her point of view to the Convenor by telephone at a mutually convenient time.  She preferred to use the telephone.  That option would be offered to any appellant irrespective of whether or not the Agency wished to attend a hearing.  It is a more informal way of dealing with any appeal and can be arranged more quickly.

One of the appeals concerned someone who was not in receipt of a qualifying benefit.  The general rule is that on the date of the application, if there is no qualifying benefit in payment, then the application for this benefit cannot be successful.

In the remaining four cases, the application for the benefit was made after the baby was six months old.  In one case the application was only one day late.  In all four cases, the appellants gave reasons why the application was late.  Unfortunately for those appellants, the legislation is quite clear and the deadline is explicit.  The application will not be valid if it is made before the first day of the 24th week of pregnancy or after the end of the day, six months after the day the child was born.  There is no provision in the legislation for extending that window, even if there is a good reason why the application could not be made on time.

The Tribunal has no power to extend the time limit or to consider whether the result of the application of the law is fair.

31 May 2019