Particular aspects: estimated income - evidence
You should ask the customer(s) to provide some evidence in support of their estimated figure. What you want to see will depend on the particular circumstances. In the case of an employed customer(s), you might ask for payslips for, say, the past 4 weeks. If the customer(s) is self-employed, they may have had some interim accounts prepared, or may have had to produce some financial statements for their bank.
You should consider carefully whatever evidence the customer(s) produces, without testing it extensively, to decide whether you think their estimate is a realistic reflection of their likely level of income over the year. If so, you should accept the figure. If not, you are entitled to amend the award using your own estimate. But you should normally revert to the figure of PY income stated on the claim form, unless there are compelling reasons for not doing so, for example, the PY figure turns out to have been mis-stated. In that case, you should substitute the correct PY figure.
If you consider that the customer’s income has indeed dropped, but not to the extent of the estimate they have supplied, you should substitute your own estimated figure. This should normally fall somewhere between the customer’s estimate and the figure of PY income. You may occasionally consider that the income for the year is likely to exceed both the customer’s estimate and the PY figure, this may be most likely to happen if you are examining an estimate close to the end of the year.
For guidance on when it may be appropriate to substitute an estimate higher than the PY figure, see CCM6890.
In some cases, you may be examining the claim some time after the customer(s) has asked for the award to be recalculated on the basis of an estimated figure. If so, you should bear in mind that the customer’s income may have risen again since the estimate was submitted. If the customer tells you this has happened, you should ask to see evidence covering both the earlier and the later period and decide, based on a consideration of both, what would be a reasonable estimate of income over the year. You should attempt to agree with the customer(s) an appropriate estimated figure to cover the whole year.