Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Nineteenth Report


S.I. 2003/492: second memorandum from the Commissioners of Inland Revenue

6.  In a letter from the Commons Clerk of the Joint Committee dated 8 April 2003 the following questions were asked-

The Department's memorandum states that it is intended that a person to whom regulation 20 applies should continue to be entitled to make an election under that regulation. If that is the intention, explain:

(1)  what is meant by "the day on which benefit was payable for the first four weeks in respect of which arrangements for four-weekly payment were made" in regulation 20(2)(a);

(2)  in the case cited by the Department of a person who has maintained a continuous entitlement to child benefit since before 15 March 1982, how it would be possible for that person to make an election within the specified time limit if she had not made an election in 1982, and why, if she had done so, she needs to make a further election.

Answer

7.  As the Committee will appreciate, regulation 20(2)(a) derives from paragraph 1(a) of Schedule 8 to the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987 (S.I. 1987/1968) and its Northern Ireland equivalent. In considering whether it was necessary to replicate this provision in the new regulations, the Department took the view that it was possible to construe "the day on which benefit was payable for the first four weeks in respect of which arrangements for four-weekly payment were made" as having a continuing effect on the basis that such arrangements might be made at any time.

8.  This may be illustrated by an example. A person might have maintained a continuous entitlement to child benefit since before 15 March 1982 and might have maintained weekly payment of the benefit. At a later date, even on or after 7 April 2003, that person might switch to four-weekly payment. In those circumstances, the regulations can be construed as giving such a person the right to make an election for weekly payment provided, of course, that the election is made before the end of the period of 26 weeks beginning with the day on which benefit was payable for the first four weeks in respect of which arrangements for four-weekly payment were made.

9.  It is therefore correct that it would not be possible for persons who have maintained a continuous entitlement to child benefit since before 15 March 1982 to make an election within the specified time limit if they had not made an election in 1982. What the new regulations are intended to preserve is the ability of persons who had made an election in 1982 (and, therefore, have been used to weekly payment of benefit) to have what amounts to a trial period of four-weekly payment with the continuing right to further elect for weekly payment if four-weekly payment does not suit their particular needs.

10th April 2003


 
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