A recent case at the Upper Tribunal has clarified that the use of the phrase ‘credits-only claim’ is misleading when describing entitlement to National Insurance (NI) credits.
In this case, the client had exhausted their entitlement to contribution-based JSA but was continuing to receive NI credits on grounds of unemployment, under Reg 8A SS (Credits) Regs 1975.
The DWP decided to end the credits as the client had failed to participate in an interview at the Jobcentre, as required by Regs 23 and 25 JSA Regs 1996 (he had failed, when asked, to provide evidence of his identity).
The Upper Tribunal allowed the client’s appeal, holding that the DWP (and the First Tier Tribunal) had erred by applying the JSA regulations as the client was not actually entitled to JSA.
An award of credits under Reg 8A did not contain any provision to end those credits on the grounds that JSA would not have been payable due to a failure to participate in an interview.
There may have been grounds to end the credits under Reg 8A(3)(b) if the client had failed to provide evidence which DWP had requested in relation to the basic conditions of entitlement to JSA, but that was not the case here.
The judge comments that the DWP practice of referring to a JSA ‘credits-only claim’ is misleading, as there is in fact no ‘claim’ for JSA at all and advises that the DWP ‘...may consider it wise to re-visit the terminology, procedure and paperwork being used to deal with unemployment credits to avoid this sort of situation recurring’.