Obtaining income verification and the importance of bank statements     

Income is likely to come from:

  • Employment.
  • Self-employment.
  • Benefits (either passported or non-passported).
  • Private pension.

If your client declares no income, it is important that you ask them to explain how they support themselves.

You can get good information about your client’s income and outgoings from bank statements, always ask them to bring these. Most benefits and wages are paid into bank accounts.  If your client claims to have no bank account you should decide if this is likely and record on file why you accepted the position. You may be satisfied from a bank statement that your client is eligible for advice and assistance, but you may wish to see additional or alternative evidence.

Required income verification for your client in employment

The latest wage slip is the best evidence. You may also be satisfied seeing a recent letter of appointment confirming the salary or a very recent P60.  Your client may have more than one type of income or capital– you should get verification of each type.

It is also possible to accept a bank statement showing the net pay received. However, it is important to remember that the only allowable deductions from pay are tax and national insurance. Some employees may have other significant deductions made at source. Those working in financial services may have their mortgage repayments deducted directly from their salaries. Therefore, if you intend to use a bank statement as evidence of earnings check with your client there are no significant deductions. When there are such deductions you should obtain additional documentary evidence such as payslips.

 

Your Self-employed client: required income evidence to provide us with

Business accounts, self-assessment tax returns, bank statements (personal and business) or recent audited accounts are helpful in evidencing income.  In the absence of these the onus is on your client to satisfy you on their income.

Evidencing your client is in receipt of benefits

Benefits are paid directly into bank or post office accounts, so bank statements are once again a good source of verification. Alternatively, ask for the most recent award letter or other correspondence from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If your client has applied for Universal Credit but payment has not yet been made, you can ask to view their online Universal Credit Journal.

We explain later in this guidance about the direct link we have with the DWP to check passported benefits.

Verifying that your client has no income

When your client declares no income, you should still verify this. You should ask to see a bank statement in all cases to confirm there is no income or capital. If your client claims to have no such account, and you are satisfied, you should record this.

If your client is a young person and claims to be living with their parents you may either ask for confirmation of that from the parents or judge that your client’s age and circumstances make this likely to be true. For older clients you should ask and record how they support themselves without any income, decide whether this is credible, and record the basis for your decision.

SLAB’s role in verifying receipt of income-related benefits: DWP link

It is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that your client is financially eligible. However, we have a direct link with the Department for Work and Pensions, which allows us to check cases where your client is receiving passport benefits – that is, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance and Universal Credit.  We can confirm via the DWP if your client is receiving any benefits or not.  You must provide the client’s national insurance number and date of birth on the form to allow us to do this.  You must also provide this for any spouse or partner to whom the benefit is paid, since we take into account the resources of spouses or partners.

If we cannot confirm through the link that your client is receiving the benefit, we will treat the application as though you had not yet verified the client’s income and will contact you and your client for further information.

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