The Social Security and Child Support Commissioner
SOCIAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTIONS AND BENEFITS ACT 1992
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ACT 1992
APPEAL FROM DECISION OF SOCIAL SECURITY APPEAL TRIBUNAL ON A QUESTION OF LAW
DECISION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER
" (3) This sub-paragraph applies subject to sub-paragraph (5) where a person claims income support because of -
(a) the death of a partner; or
(b) being abandoned by his partner, and where the person's family includes a child."
Where sub-paragraph (3) applies, the person's housing costs, even though "new" by virtue of having been first incurred after 1 October 1995, are to be met as though they were existing housing costs, subject to a cut-off under sub-para (5) if the person should again become one of a couple.
"To be entitled to housing costs from the date of the claim it is necessary for [the claimant] to establish that she claimed income support because of being abandoned by her partner.
The tribunal found that [the husband] abandoned his wife some six months before her claim by abrogating his financial responsibilities and being cruel to her and the children. As a result of his conduct [she] sought legal advice and this eventually culminated in her solicitor's letter and [his] leaving the matrimonial home and ceasing to make the mortgage payments. It follows that her claim for income support resulted from [his] abandonment although this had taken place some months previously."
"However, we do recognise that, as yet, separation is not an insurable event. We therefore propose to introduce an easement for those claimants whose claim resulted from desertion and the claimant has care of children. [sic] In these circumstances new borrowers will be treated as existing borrowers."
That appears to me to support the conclusion I had reached by reference to the language itself and the authorities cited, that "abandoned" in para 8(3) should be construed in a similar way to "deserted".
P L Howell
20 July 1998