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Individual Tribunal decisions will not be published by the Chamber but, from time to time, the Chamber President Anne Scott intends to publish updates on matters of interest and points of law arising in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


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