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Making allowances (4)

In the final article in the series, Hugh Howard offers practical suggestions on preparing wefare benefit cases for appeal

28 February 2003

When advising clients on a benefits appeal, there are two essential preliminary steps: Signed authority First, you must obtain a signed authority from the client. The Benefits Agency (BA) and the Appeals Service (AS) will refuse to act on correspondence unless there is an authority. The authority should be couched in wide terms, eg: ‘I authorise Messrs Bloggs solicitors to act on all matters in connection with my claim for [name benefit] to include lodging an appeal on my behalf and to take all such steps as are necessary up to and including an appeal to the Commissioner.’ Funding The client may qualify for public funding by way of advice. Extending CW1s and CW2s to cover representation is a little way off. However the matter is being considered, particularly as under the new tax credit regimes tribunals will be empowered to impose penalties. In the meantime it may be necessary to open two files, one for publicly funded advice and another...

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