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Funeral payment difficulties

 

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Client’s husband passes away 16.02.17 and funeral takes place 06.03.17 (therefore 3-month period for claiming Funeral Payment runs until 06.06.17).

Client applies for Funeral Payment on 09.05.17. Unfortunately, Pension Credit which had been in payment previously had stopped with effect from 05.03.17 and didn’t resume until 15,.05.17, a mere six days after the FP claim made.

As no entitlement to a qualifying benefit at date of claim, her FP application turned down and decision notified on 23.06.17 - so outside 3-month reclaim window now.

She sees our adviser in September who asks for MR on 14.09.17, and DWP allege client called on 26.10.17 to be told no change to decision and MR notice sent (she doesn’t recall speaking to anyone nor receiving paperwork).

Despite reg.3(3) of the D&A regs allowing revision of a decision on a funeral payment in various circumstances, it’s pretty clear this is limited to cases where a new FP application has been made (which it wasn’t in this case at any time since the original claim).

However, looking at the C&P regs, i note reg.13 which allows:

Reg.13 (1) Where, although a person does not satisfy the requirements of entitlement to benefit on the date on which a claim is made, the Secretary of State is of the opinion that unless there is a change of circumstances he will satisfy those requirements for a period beginning on a day (“the relevant day”) not more than 3 months after the date on which the claim is made, then the Secretary of State may–
(a) treat the claim as if made for a period beginning with the relevant day; and
(b) award benefit accordingly, subject to the condition that the person satisfies the requirements for entitlement when benefit becomes payable under the award

Is there a way that we can appeal on the grounds that the orginal decision to refuse the FP claim was correct as she wasn’t receving PC at the date of claim, but that consideration should have been given to reg.13 and treated the claim as having been made from the date that PC was awarded again? Obviously, we’re into the realms of late appeals etc but I’m struggling to see whether this has legs or not. The decision maker for the FP claim was aware at the time of the FP decision that PC had been awarded from a later date (we have DWP email to this effect).

Any thoughts on this one would be gratefully received, I think this client has been treated very poorly by the DWP who could have explained things back when she first made the relevant claims? Thanks in advance :-)

     
Daphne
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I would definitely give it a go Paul - there’s definitely an argument as you make out and I’m sure any tribunal would want to interpret the law as favourably as possible given that your client has been so badly treated - go for it and good luck and let us know how you get on. And, at the end of the day, the tribunal is putting itself in the shoes of the DM so can use whatever legislation is available to it can’t it?

I guess if all else fails you could ask for ex-gratia compensation.

Just another thought - was it correct that the PC stopped or should it have continued in which case could do anytime revision of FP decision??

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Paul don’t know if you have seen the CPAG Welfare Rights Bulletin 261 Dec 2017- UC and disabled student’s by Angela Toal, if not have a look at the bit referring to ‘ask for UC claim not to be decided’ - refers issues 155 April 2000 - could be analogous to a further argument to the argument above.

Anyway here’s an extract which states ‘in CG/1479/1999, it was held that it was unlawful to adjudicate on a claim to make a nil award in a case where entitlement depended on something else (in this case,a claim for Income support that depended on the outcome of a claim for DLA. This was because it was in breach of section 21(1) of the SSA 1992. This part of the Act has now been repealed, but arguably section 8 of the SSa 1998 contains a similar duty’.

See CG/1479/1999 attached

     

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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Thanks both. Might see if the adviser wants to give it a go for the client then.