Advice and assistance and financial eligibility: cases where no documentary evidence of eligibility is immediately available

Although in general you should not act until you have verified your client’s capital and income by seeing documentary evidence, we accept that occasionally it may not be possible, at least in the early stages of the case, to get that evidence. For example, your client may have had to flee the family home because of domestic violence and be unable to get at the evidence, or may be in custody or detention – for example, in a matter related to immigration or asylum. You should explain this on the application for advice and assistance/ABWOR or for an increase.

It may also be difficult to get documentary evidence from applicants with literacy or mental health issues or chaotic lifestyles, but even in these cases you should try to get it and, if you cannot, clearly explain to us why you have granted advice and assistance/ABWOR.

Even if documentary evidence is not available, this may be only temporary and you should continue, as the case progresses, to try to get it. With each application for an increase you should explain why it is not reasonably possible to obtain documentary evidence of financial eligibility. In such cases if

  • you have given us adequate information during the case, and acted diligently and in good faith based on the circumstances of the case and the information your client provided and
  • it later transpires that the client is ineligible

we will honour the increases we granted and assess and pay your account accordingly, subject to the normal assessment procedures.  However, we will seek repayment from your client.

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