Undisclosed Partners: Compliance Issues Overview
The main compliance risks associated with partners are:-
- an incorrect initial claim is made where someone claims to be single.
- an incorrect initial claim is made and this is repeated in the end of year declaration.
- the initial claim is correct but the customer fails to tell us within 1 month that a partner has joined their household.
- the initial claim is correct but the customer fails to tell us within 1 month that a partner has joined their household and this is still not disclosed in the end of year declaration.
Before 6 April 2007 customers had 3 months to notify a change of circumstances.
Where the customer is
- married to the undisclosed partner see CCM15035
- not married to the undisclosed partner see CCM15040
- of the same-sex as the undisclosed partner see CCM15290.
Where you establish that a partner joined the household you must notify the customer of your conclusion - see CCM15350. You must then terminate the claim as of the date they became a couple. This is because Section 3(4)(b) says that entitlement ceases from the point they were no longer eligible to claim as a single person. Where you establish the partner was always living with the customer you should terminate the claim as of the date it was made because it was never a valid claim. Although the claim must be terminated in this way we may decide not to recover all of the resulting overpayment - see CCM15500.
You might occasionally see the opposite situation where 2 people claim to be living as a couple when, in fact, they are only entitled to claim as single people. This is a much less common situation because there are fewer financial rewards. The criteria described in this chapter can still be used to decide whether they are single or a couple.