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Right time performance indicator FAQs – New claims

General information on new claims

Purpose of the indicator

The purpose of the right time performance indicator is to establish the average time taken by an LA to process all new HB/CTB claims and change events from the date of receipt to the date of decision.

General rule

Receipt of a claim for HB/CTB at any designated office, whether it is effective or defective, will be the starting point at which the processing time begins. The processing time stops the day a decision is made. See below for exceptions to the general rule. Claims can be made in a number of ways

Written claims

For claims made in writing on a claim form provided specifically for that purpose or in some other form acceptable to the LA, the time taken to process will start from the date the claim is received at the designated office.

Electronic claims

For electronically submitted claims, whether or not the LA requires a signature, the date of receipt is the day the form is received electronically. This could be a non-working day. The time taken to process will start with the date the claim is electronically received, whether or not it is effective or defective, and will end on the day the LA makes a decision.
Where an LA has e-enabled its business (see HB/CTB Circular A18/2006) a handwritten signature will no longer be required, although an electronic signature may be.

Tele-claims

In the case of tele-claims (see HB/CTB Circular A18/2006) the time taken to process will start from the date of the telephone call when the claim details are taken, regardless of whether the LA then requires a signed confirmation of the details.

Intention to claim

Where the customer contacts the LA stating their intention to make a claim in advance of making the claim by any of the methods described above, the time taken to process will start from the date of receipt of the claim not the date of first contact.

Processing times

When calculating processing times all days should be counted, not just working days. This must include any days when there are reasons for additional processing days beyond the LA's control, for example, a customer’s failure to provide additional information and delays between:

Note:

Example
An LA receives a claim for HB/CTB on 1 April.  The LA makes a decision on 28 April. The time taken to process the claim for the purposes of right time indicator is 28 days.

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Exceptions to the general rule

Claim made in advance

Where a claim to HB/CTB is made in advance under HB R 83(10), 83(11), the clock starts ticking for the performance indicator on the date the claim is Treated As Made by the LA under those regulations. If the claim is properly decided on or before the Treat As Made date, the time taken to process the claim for the purposes of the performance indicator will be one day. However, if the claim is not decided on or before the Treat As Made date, the time taken to process will continue to count until the date a decision is made.

Example
A customer aged 60 on 4 October makes a claim for HB/CTB on 6 July. The LA determines the Treat As Made date as 4 October. The decision is made on 29 September. The time taken to process the new claim is one day.


Property unbanded for Council Tax purposes

If an LA is unable to make a decision on a new CTB claim because the property in which the customer lives is unbanded for Council Tax pending a valuation, the processing time starts on the date the Council Tax payable is notified to the benefits section.

Example
A customer makes a claim for HB/CTB on 6 July. The benefits section is notified of the Council Tax payable on 13 July. The decision is made on 17 July. The time taken to process the new claim is five days.


Claim form and Local Authority Input Document/ Local Authority Claim Information (LAID/LACI)

When a customer makes an HB/CTB claim direct to the LA instead of or in addition to, making a claim at the Jobcentre Plus office, the processing time starts from the date the LA designated office receives the claim form or the date it receives the LAID, whichever is earlier.

Example
A customer makes a claim for HB/CTB at their Jobcentre Plus office on 3 August. The customer also makes a claim direct to the LA on 4 August. The LAID is forwarded to the LA on 8 August. The decision is made on 25 August. The time taken to process the new claim is 22 days.

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New claim FAQs

Q. What is meant by a decision on claims?

A. Claims are normally decided once the customer has been given an opportunity to provide all the information requested on the form, and any additional information the LA may require has been received from the customer and/or third parties. This includes decisions made on claims where the customer may have been requested to provide further information but has declined to or has not taken the trouble to reply to the request within the time given. A decision will result in the claim being successful or unsuccessful.

Q. Should all ineligible claims be counted as ‘effective’ new claims? For example, when the customer’s capital exceeds the limit?

A. Yes, all claims which are ineligible should be counted in the same way as other effective new claims.

Q.  What happens when a CTB claim is received for property which has not yet been valued?

A. In this instance the processing time starts on the day the benefits section is notified of the Council Tax payable.

Q. When should the time taken to process a claim start? Is it with the receipt of a "properly" completed claim form or LAID i.e. when the customer has filled in the form correctly and has also provided all information that was requested on that form, or is it from the receipt of the claim form or LAID regardless of whether or not it has been properly completed?

A. The time taken to process a claim starts from the day that the claim form or LAID is received regardless of whether or not the claim form or LAID has been properly completed or whether any additional information necessary to determine the claim has been provided. The processing time will only stop when a final decision has been made on that claim.

Q. Is the processing time working days only?

A. No, the processing time includes all calendar days (including the day claim is received and the day the claim is decided)

Example
The local authority receives the claim March 1st.
The local authority makes a decision March 28th.
Processing time = 28 days.


Q.  What date should be used for the most recent HB claim received?

A.  Date HB claim (or ‘relevant information’ forwarded by DWP) is physically received at a designated office of the local authority.  ‘Relevant information’ would include the Local Authority Input Document (LAID) forwarded by Jobcentre Plus and from October 2008, the Local Authority Claim Information (LACI) forwarded by The Pension Service. This does not include an intention to claim benefit, for example by requesting a claim form from the LA. Processing times will be measured from the date that an electronic claim form is received, even if it is unsigned.  Do not treat an initial date of contact as the start date. The date of receipt must be used.

Q. When all the necessary information has been provided but the Rent Officer determination has not been received, can we use the Indicative Rent Level to make a payment, count this as a decision, and then treat the actual determination, when received, as a change event?

A. No. Where it has been decided to use an Indicative Rent Level to ensure that a payment is made pending the Rent Officer's decision, this is a payment on account and should not be counted towards the indicator. A decision can only be made once all information is received, including the Rent Officer's determination. For the purposes of this indicator, the processing time should be counted to the day that the decision is made, and NOT the day that the payment on account is made.

Q. A customer has failed to provide a properly completed claim, even when given 1 calendar month (or such longer period as is reasonable) to rectify the defect. Does this count towards the indicator?

A. Yes. Such claims should be treated as defective and counted ‘new claims decided unsuccessful’. Therefore they will be included.  Remember that you should give a decision that the customer has failed to satisfy the conditions of entitlement to HB/CTB because they have not made a claim in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed time (by virtue of section 1(1) (a) of the Social Security Administration Act -see para 22 et esq. of Circular HB/CTB U9/2004).

Q. A customer has provided a properly completed claim form, including the information and evidence requested on that form, but has not provided the additional information requested. Does this count towards the indicator?

A. Yes. As the claim has been properly completed, this will be an effective claim. If the additional information or evidence requested is not forthcoming, you will need to make a decision based on the information and evidence available (see para 12 et esq. of Circular HB/CTB U9/2004). Depending on your decision the claim will be counted as successful or unsuccessful.

Q. Should the period of any backdated award be counted in the processing time?

A. No, backdated awards are not included in the time taken to process.

Q. What happens if a decision is made on a claim which is subsequently appealed?  Will the subsequent revision count towards the indictor?

A. No.  Revisions do not count towards the indicator.

Q. A claim received on 1 April was decided (with a start date of a 4 April) on 14 April, (processing time 14 days) following a decision on 30 May to accept a backdated claim the case is revised to show date of claim as 6 January. Should the claim be counted again for the performance indicator.

A. The right time performance indicator measures the time from the day that the claim is first received at the designated office (unless it is an advance claim) until the day that a full decision is made.

Any subsequent decisions resulting from appeals, backdating or revision should not be counted again towards the performance indicator. Although a claim for backdating is considered separately from the main claim, it is not counted separately for the purpose of the right time performance indicator.

Q. Where a claim is accepted and logged up to 13 weeks before the tenancy actually commences, is the calculation for the days to process based on application date to determination?

A. No. Where a claim is made in advance under HB R 83(11); CTB R 69(12) and (13); HB SPC R 64(11); CTB SPC R 53(12)  the clock starts on the Treat As Made date determined by the LA.  If the claim is processed and a decision made prior to the TAM date then processing time will be one day.  If the decision is made after the TAM date then processing time will start on the TAM date and end on the day the decision was made.

Q. If the customer notifies a change of circumstances before a decision is made on a new claim should this be counted as a new claim successful and a change event or just as a new claim as the change has been notified prior to the benefit decision being made on the new claim.

A. The change would not count as the notice was not received "during the course of the benefit award", as benefit had not been awarded at that time. This applies whether or not a payment on account is made. Instead, the change was notified as part of the making of a new claim.