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Civil service injury award and Incapacity Benefit: alerting advisers

The Law Centre successfully represented a former civil servant who had appealed a decision to reduce her Incapacity Benefit because the Social Security Agency had said her civil service injury award was equivalent to a pension and therefore affected her entitlement.

This lady had to retire due to ill health in 2003. She was awarded Incapacity Benefit and declared receipt of her civil service pension.  Pension income affects entitlement to Incapacity Benefit.  Where pension income is more than £85 per week then Incapacity Benefit is reduced by an amount equal to 50% of the excess over £85.

The issue at the heart of this case was whether the additional and separate payment that she received under the civil service injury award scheme was a pension.  The Department of Finance and Personnel, which is responsible for the scheme, provided evidence that payments under the scheme are not pensions but are discretionary and solely attributable to accident or illness.

An appeal tribunal allowed the appeal and the Department missed the deadline for appealing and had to implement the decision, although they stated that they disagree with the decision.

She has now migrated to Employment and Support Allowance and the Law Centre has a parallel appeal running for ESA.

This issue affects many former civil servants.  Those affected need to lodge appeals and then the appeals will be stayed pending final resolution of the issue.

Advisers encountering similar cases are encouraged to contact the Law Centre’s advice line on: 028 9024 4401 or 028 7126 2433, Monday to Friday 9.30am to 1pm.

This case was referred to the Law Centre by North Belfast Advice Partnership.

Relevant Legislation

Section 30 D (5) and (6) of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 and section 1 of the Pensions Schemes (NI) Act 1993

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