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Client can’t cancel CA or IS claims due to possible administration error so has had no income at all for 4 months

 

JAS1
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Hello,

I have a slightly weird one -

Client (A) was a carer for someone (B) until Jan this year.

In Oct 2017 DLA suspended the DLA of B or as they believed B was in prison. Client says this is not true. B never went to Prison. Apparently there was an administration error and someone with the same name and DOB went to prison and DLA thought it was B (how does this even happen? Does this sound likely?).

Either way, DLA suspended the claim of B in October 2017.

As DLA suspended the claim of B, CA suspended the CA for A in December 2017.

IS then suspended the IS claim of A.

Client now has no income, he has not had any income since December 2017. He is thankfully living with family until this is sorted so at least has a roof over his head but is getting desperate for money as his family can’t support him much longer.

Current situation -

CA won’t end his claim. They say they need DLA to confirm that there was an error and B was never in Prison. IS won’t end his claim, they say they need CA to end his claim. Client can’t claim any other benefits due to IS claim being active (unless there is any way round this?).

I spoke to CA today, they said they contacted DLA on 28/03/2018 to request confirmation of the error. DLA had apparently contacted the prison but hadn’t heard back. I was told there was nothing CA could do, it’s up to DLA.

I can’t speak to DLA as I don’t have authority to speak on B’s behalf. B refuses to speak to DLA, DLA obviously won’t speak to A either.

This situation has now been ongoing for about 4 months now (I got involved a couple of weeks ago).

Any idea of how I can push this as it needs sorting ASAP? I am going to chase CA again in 2 weeks but my other thought is to take this to the MP as it doesn’t seem to be getting sorted.

Thanks

      [ Edited: 9 Apr 2018 at 09:47 am by JAS1 ]
Mairi
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Even though B won’t speak to DLA, do they have any letters which confirm the DLA is back in place as I would assume (always dangerous I know!) that they have letters showing that DLA was suspended and then put back into payment.

Can you / would you be prepared to get authorisation from B to contact DLA to confirm the situation?

It’s not that rare that 2 people with the same name and date of birth live in the same area - I guess local surnames, popular forenames at particular times aren’t that uncommon.

If no luck I’d certainly approach the MP.

     
JAS1
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Thank you Mairi.

I have not attempted to contact B yet. From speaking to A I get the feeling that their friendship has fallen apart and so it may not be possible. I get the sense B has washed his hands of it, his money is back in payment so he has not been inconvenienced so I feel he doesn’t want anything to do with it and is just ignoring the whole thing. I will check again though as it seems to be the only way of speeding this thing up! I’ll go the MP too probably

     
stevenmcavoy
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if the relationship has fallen apart and carers and is going back in payment isnt likely then the client can end their is and carers allowance claims.  the department dont have the right to force you to have a claim you dont want.

the missing period is more of an issue though if b hasnt taken action to correct the error on their side.

re the chances of the mistake happening id have thought slim as dwp go on ni number first surely but never say never.

     
JAS1
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Cheers Steven. I hit a brick wall when I asked, CA flat out to refuse to close the claim. No matter what I requested they said they will 100% not close the claim until DLA confirm the error. CA say they can’t decide whether to pay the 8 week run on or what date to pay until without this info from DLA. IS say they won’t close without confirmation from CA.

I agree though the client is basically forced to have an IS/CA claim he doesn’t want until DLA finally confirm the error.

I am taking the client on face value that the prison situation is indeed an error. It seems strange to me but I will trust this is what happened until I hear otherwise!

     
nevip
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This is absurd.  There is no claim to close.  The claim ceases to subsist once a decision is made on it (s8(2)(a) of the Social Security Act 1998).  All that exists are operative CA and IS entitlement decisions.  Your client simply needs to write to them requesting that decision be superseded based on a change of circumstances (not caring for 35 hours p/w).  Ditto to IS (not legally entitled to CA from such and such a date).  At the same time a new claim should be made for another benefit (presumably JSA/UC).

As a matter of law the DWP cannot prevent him making a new claim due to the CA/IS claims ‘being active’.  If it means they cannot build two claims (say, an IS and JSA claim) onto the IT system at one time then they have to construct the new claim manually.  If that’s more work for them then tough!

Your client might also want to throw the threat of JR at them if they don’t get a move on.

     
JAS1
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Thanks Nevip. Re your first point ‘The claim ceases to subsist once a decision is made on it (s8(2)(a) of the Social Security Act 1998)’ -

They told me that a decision has not yet been made. The claim is suspended until they can decide. Is that relevant? Just checking so I know what line I am taking when I speak to them again!

I will double check with client exactly what happened when he tried to make another claim (would have been for UC), this was before my involvement. He told me it got turned down because of this whole situation. Could he not make an ‘advance claim’ for UC though? I will look in to this.

Unfortunately during this mess, in the interim his JC has gone full service UC so he his now probably locked out of a new IS claim.

     
nevip
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No the s8 decision is the initial award decision.  That is the decision that needs to be superseded.  That can be based on the facts of not caring alone, and should be done forthwith.  If the DWP later want to revise that second (removal) decision of their own accord, to alter the date that that decision takes effect (because of issues linked to the DLA) then it can do that as a secondary issue.

As to your second point, yes, issues around advance claims and revising the UC refusal decision should also be explored.  And, finally, when the dust has settled, if your client has lost out financially, and you can pin the blame squarely or substantially at the door of the DWP, your client should seek compensation for maladministration.

     
ClairemHodgson
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stevenmcavoy - 11 April 2018 01:11 PM

re the chances of the mistake happening id have thought slim as dwp go on ni number first surely but never say never.

i did once see a case - a good few years ago - where two people had one NI number.  one of them had had his ID stolen.  my recollection is that it was affecting the CRU position, it was a colleagues case not mine…

     
ROBBO
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I had a case with duplicate NI numbers - the Tax Credit claimant kept having his claim reduced to nil because they thought he had a much increased income from his NI doppelganger.  When I spoke to the Revenue about it, they advised that it does happen every now and then, and muttered about it taking ages to sort it all out, or some such.  As I guess you might expect.

     
stevenmcavoy
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well there you go then.

it turns out it is good practice to assume a public body (especially those we deal with) could create a new and unlikely way to make a mistake.