Verification of financial eligibility in criminal A&A

In assessing your client’s disposable income and disposable capital, you are required to have regard to guidance provided by us [Schedule 2, paragraph 2A of The Advice and Assistance (Scotland) Regulations 1996].

The purpose of this guidance is to help you comply with the regulations so that the advice and assistance is appropriately provided and we are in a position to pay your account.

Attached to these guidelines is a model mandate which can be used to obtain a clients’ authorisation to allow you to contact employers, banks, DWP etc. if they do not provide you with adequate verification themselves.

Any contribution payable is based on your client’s disposable income and verification is equally important for the purpose of identifying the level of a contribution.

General requirements in verifying financial eligibility

In assessing your client’s financial eligibility, you must:

  • Obtain financial or other documentation, so far as necessary and practicable
  •  Ascertain the income of your client in order to identify the level of contribution

Confirm the level of capital

  • Have regard to our guidance

In circumstances where we decide that advice and assistance should not have been provided to your client, we can withhold or recover payment.

We are not able to pay accounts for work done where you have not correctly applied the statutory tests.

In establishing eligibility, you should:

  • Assess your client’s financial eligibility
  • Ensure you ask your client about any disposable capital, even if your client is on benefits or claims no income
  • Obtain financial verification in the form of documentary evidence of income and capital
  • Obtain verification of financial circumstances before starting to work for the client
  • Obtain your client’s National Insurance number, benefit claimed, and date of birth if they are receiving a passport benefit, so we can check this (and from their partner if benefit is issued via them)
  • Keep evidence of financial eligibility on file

You cannot charge for any time or work involved in getting this information, assessing financial eligibility or writing for verification, whether at the time or during the course of the provision of A&A.

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