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Not allowed to close UC claim in Live Service

 

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Client contacted UC Service Centre and advised that they no longer wished to claim UC live service claim. They had been asked for the reason and unfortunately had said they wanted to close it in order to claim legacy ESA due to being unwell.  Has now received a letter advising that they cannot close the claim and that she should just report her ill-health to UC. Can someone legally be stopped from closing a UC claim? They have no current challenges in against any decision and no UC decision outstanding. I thought the Government would be happy for anyone to close the claim!

     
Elliot Kent
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ADM A4120 onwards discusses relinquishing claims. Effectively, as long as you have capacity you can give up your claim for any reason.

     
Robbie Spence
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Relinquishment of benefit A4120 A claimant may decide that they do not want entitlement to benefit to continue for example where the amount of benefit is small. The request should be treated as an application for supersession.
A4129 Where a claimant no longer wishes to receive a benefit, and the DM accepts that the request is effective, the DM should supersede the awarding decision on a relevant change of circumstances and terminate the award.
SS Act 98, s 10; UC, PIP, JSA & ESA (D&A) Regs, reg 23(1)(a)

     
mycatismo
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Just wondering whether people think that there’s a possibility that “underlying entitlement” in A4121 -
” The claimant may ask not to receive payment of benefit while underlying entitlement continues. The DM should refuse to supersede following such a request. This is because if entitlement exists, the Secretary of State has an obligation to pay benefit in accordance with an award”

- would also include, in a FULL service claim, the 6 month period when rapid reclaims can be made when someone’s earnings temporarily float them off UC.
Or does it NOT count as “underlying entitlement” in this context because the claim has been closed. (Unlike in Live where it’s dormant).

I’ve been asked about a case where the timing of the claimant’s monthly assessment periods and her salary payment dates (which incidentally can’t be changed) interact such that every time her salary is paid early (because payment date falls on a weekend or bank holiday - same as happens with UC payments) she gets 2 sets of earnings in a monthly assessment period and “floats off”.
So I’m looking at how she can change her MAPs.
They can’t change under rapid reclaim so the only option I can see is for her to close her claim.
But does A4121 preclude this?

I would argue that “underlying entitlement” doesn’t apply as the claim is closed but could do with some other opinions.

     
Robbie Spence
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There are other threads on this including “UC claim in place…options to revert to legacy benefit” at http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/8387 - where Gareth Morgan refers in his reply at http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewreply/37328 to 2 other threads.

From Gareth’s reply and the other threads, it’s clear that the Lobster Pot rule does not apply in Live/Gateway areas.

Just realised that this thread is only about Live Service, but bear with me, if I ask, what is the rule in Full/Digital service areas? It seems from the quoted ADM above that you can relinquish a UC claim anywhere. But that’s not much help unless you can somehow link back to a previous legacy benefit claim that you didn’t really intend to close. That is the problem that is increasingly facing disabled people in Full Service. The typical case is the ESA claimant whose ESA is refused after a WCA and who then claims JSA during mandatory reconsideration.

There may be a way to get back out of this Lobster Pot too, as Simon Osborne suggests at http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/esa-uc: “Migration to UC is complete in any case where a claimant makes a new ‘claim’ for UC. ‘Claim’ is not defined, and arguably someone who withdraws the claim before it is decided, or whose claim is defective, has not made a claim, but this point is yet to be tested.”

     
Jeremy Barker
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mycatismo - 14 November 2017 12:07 PM


I’ve been asked about a case where the timing of the claimant’s monthly assessment periods and her salary payment dates (which incidentally can’t be changed) interact such that every time her salary is paid early (because payment date falls on a weekend or bank holiday - same as happens with UC payments) she gets 2 sets of earnings in a monthly assessment period and “floats off”.
So I’m looking at how she can change her MAPs.
They can’t change under rapid reclaim so the only option I can see is for her to close her claim.

This case might help: http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKUT/AAC/2017/347.pdf

My understanding of that is that the UC regulations should be flexible enough so that people who are paid monthly can always be treated as receiving pay exactly once in each assessment period. As far as I can tell what you have observed - with bouncing in and out - was never intended to happen under UC for anyone paid monthly.

While receiving pay a day or few days early due to weekends and holidays because it’s contractually due on the same day of each month is common it is also fairly common for a monthly pay day to be the last Friday of the month which typically results in pay being received at intervals of 4, 4 and 5 weeks. That causes real havoc if the UC assessment period ends towards the end of the month.

People who are paid at other intervals - weekly, 2-weekly or 4-weekly - are always likely to have problems but for them the government’s so-called “solution” appears to be that they employers should change to paying them monthly.

     
mycatismo
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Thanks Jeremy- I knew the case but had only thought of it having effect in cases where the wages were PAID in one MAP and REPORTED (by HMRC) in another.
I hadn’t considered that it might be used where the “normal” pay date differs from the actual.
Cheers.