All you need to know about dealing with BPS preliminary checks

Here is everything you need to know about responding to preliminary checks for the online Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) applications.

Preliminary checks are ‘pre-checks’ for online BPS applications. The preliminary check system notifies applicants of any non-compliance in the areas of overclaims, dual claims and overlaps.

Farmers are now being offered the opportunity to rectify any such non-compliance by the deadline, June 19, with no penalty applied where the non-compliance is fully rectified by the deadline.

The purpose of this provision is to enhance the correctness of BPS applications, with the aim of lowering reductions and administrative penalties.

Who do preliminary checks apply to?

Preliminary checks can only be applied to online BPS applicantions.

As the department continues to progress towards the EU regulatory requirement of 100% online BPS applications by 2018, these checks add a further benefit to farmers who apply online and increase the efficiency with which BPS applications can be processed.

Issues addressed by preliminary checks

Preliminary checks will identify any over-claims, overlaps or dual claims in respect of online BPS applications.

Where a preliminary check identifies such an issue, applicants are given the opportunity to amend their claim. Applicants may wish to retain their original claim, or to amend their claim in light of the preliminary check.

For example, where a preliminary check highlights a dual-claim the response can confirm that the applicant asserts the right to claim the dual-claimed parcel; or withdraw the relevant parcel without penalty where the land may have been inadvertently claimed.

Time-frame for preliminary checks

The first run of preliminary checks has commenced.

All responses must be made by midnight on June 19.

All notifications and responses can only be made via the online BPS system. No late responses can be submitted after June 19.

How will farmers be notified of preliminary checks?

Where a preliminary check identifies a dual claim, overclaim, or overlap, a notification will issue on the BPS online system – no paper-based notification will issue. Farmers and advisors should therefore check the correspondence section of their BPS online account.

Where a farmer is signed up for text message alerts, a text will issue to advise them that they have a notification on their BPS account.

Where a farmer has applied online through an advisor, the advisor will receive notification via the BPS online account. Farmers who have applied through an advisor will also get a text message alert, if they are signed up for this service.

Approximately 1,000 farmers are receiving the benefit of a preliminary check and have not applied online via an agent for their BPS. These farmers will be contacted separately and advised as to how to respond to their preliminary check online.

What to do if you get a notification

When a notification of a preliminary check is received, you should firstly log into your BPS online account to read the notification.

Where a preliminary check has identified a dual-claim, overlap, or over-claim, there will be a clear indication of this in the centre of the BPS home screen.

Farmers who have applied through an advisor should contact their advisor, in relation to responding to the preliminary check.

How to respond to a preliminary check

Click on the ‘view preliminary checks‘ button to see the detail in each case.

It is important to note that a preliminary check can only be responded to once.

In each instance, the farmer, or advisor, will be given the opportunity to either amend the original claim to take account of the preliminary check or to maintain the original claim.

There will be instances where it is valid to maintain the original claim.

Where a response to a preliminary check is sufficient to fully rectify the issue at hand, no penalty will apply.

Further administrative checks will still need to be carried out on all applications. Therefore, further issues, and reductions or penalties, may arise later in the process in respect of any application.

Not all online applicants will get a notification of a preliminary check. An action is only required of farmers, or advisors, where a preliminary check has identified a dual-claim, over-claim or overlap on an application.

Available support

In order to help farmers and advisors to respond to preliminary checks, a number of supports are in place.

If a farmer or advisor receives a notification of a preliminary check they can contact the Direct Payments Helpdesk at: 0761-064420. A member of staff will be available to talk them through the process of responding.