Decision Summary Information

Back to Results | Search Again | Most Recent Decisions

Neutral Citation Number: 2010 UKUT 234 AAC
Reported Number:
File Number: CH 2270 2009
Appellant: Minter
Respondent: Kingston upon Hull City Council
Judge/Commissioner: Judge P. L. Howell Q.C.
Date Of Decision: 13/10/2011
Date Added: 04/08/2010
Main Category: Earnings and other income
Main Subcategory: other
Secondary Category: Housing and council tax benefits
Secondary Subcategory: recovery of overpayments
Notes: Court of Appeal decision reported as [2012] AACR 21. Earnings and other income – equal treatment claims by local authority workers – whether lump sum payments in settlement income or capital One-off lump sum payments were made by local authorities to the two appellants, their part-time employees, in order to settle claims for breaches of equal pay legislation over several years. In the first claimant’s case, her housing benefit was retrospectively re-assessed in the light of the payment she had received and repayment was sought from her in respect of the resulting overpayment. The claimant appealed to a First-tier Tribunal which held that the payment was income but not recoverable under the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006. The Council appealed and the Upper Tribunal judge affirmed the decision that the payment was income because it was earnings under regulation 35(1) but held that it was recoverable (Kingston upon Hull CC v DM (HB) [2010] UKUT 234 (AAC)). On the claimant’s further appeal, it was accepted by all parties that if the payment was properly classified as income or arrears of income regulation 79(6) of the Housing Benefit Regulations had the effect of attributing the income to a period in the past. The second claimant was in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance (JSA). She received a sum on account of an offer of settlement which she did not accept and this was assessed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as income for the purposes of the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 2006. On her appeal, the First-tier Tribunal held that the sum was not to be treated as income under regulation 98. The DWP appealed and the Upper Tribunal judge held that that the First-tier Tribunal was correct in deciding that the payment was not a compensation payment under regulation 98 but that it should have gone on to decide that it was nonetheless income rather than capital (SSWP v JP (JSA) [2010] UKUT 90 (AAC)). Both claimants appealed to the Court of Appeal, arguing that, as the legislation did not define what payments were to be classified as “income” or “capital”, the words were to be given their ordinary meaning in the statutory scheme for housing benefit and jobseeker’s allowance as sums paid to meet needs on a weekly basis calculated by reference to benefits in that week. The relevant Regulations only applied once the payment had been categorised as income or capital. The substantial one-off payments made to each of the employees viewed in this way did not have the characteristics of income and were not therefore income in the hands of the employees. Held, dismissing the appeals, that: 1. in determining the true characteristic of the payment in the hands of the recipient for the purposes of the legislative scheme, the label that the parties attach to it is irrelevant, as is the method of settlement or the size of the payment in contrast to the weekly or monthly wages of the employee (paragraphs 21 to 23); 2. the true characteristic of the payment to the first claimant was compensation for past lost income. Once this is identified, both statutory schemes are clear that the payments are income as opposed to capital. Under the Housing Benefit Regulations, as the payment was a payment of what should have been paid as wages, it fell within regulation 35. If it was not a payment of income within regulation 35, it must have been earnings within regulation 41(3) (paragraphs 25 to 28); 3. the payment to the second claimant was similarly compensation for past lost income and under the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations, the on-account payment was earnings within regulation 98 and not excluded by the exception in regulation (98)(2) and therefore income under the Regulations. If not, it was earnings within regulation 104(4) (paragraph 31).
Decision(s) to Download: CH 2270 2009-00.doc CH 2270 2009-00.doc  
[2012] AACR 21bv.doc [2012] AACR 21bv.doc  
[2012] AACR 21ws.doc [2012] AACR 21ws.doc