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UC & NHS charges exemption - NHS BSA doesn’t understand UC?

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Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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This is probably a question for those who have been dealing with UC for a while and are more likely to know the answer.

I think I’ve read elsewhere that when a claimant accesses their UC journal they can only see information relating to the last assessment period and not to earlier assessment periods. If that’s wrong and a client can see calculations that go back in time then the following question doesn’t apply. If it’s correct the question is, if a client needs to provide evidence about an earlier assessment period 1) how do they obtain it, and 2) how long does it take?

     
Daphne
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Peter Turville - 10 August 2018 03:50 PM

We have now received a reply from the NHS BSA which includes:

“A PCN [penalty charge notice] requesting the unpaid NHS charge as well as an additional NHS penalty charge is sent to a patient where entitlement to the exemption claimed, cannot be confirmed.”

“To explain further, the DWP do not currently check agaisnt the UC database so a patient would need to send evidence to show that they were exempt at the time of their NHS prescription or NHS dental treatment should they receive a PCN. Regrettably the NHSBSA have no control over the checking process with the DWP”

“Exemption checks are carried out at random and as such, we are unable to prevent further checks being carried out.”

“The qualifying criteria will be checked upon receipt of the UC award or statement to confirm the patient’s eligibility”

“....each FP17 patient declaration form should now include the option to indicate UC. Where this option is not present on NHS prescription forms, patients in receipt of UC are advised to declare Income-based Jobseekers Allowance ...”

Brilliant! - DWP do not currently check against UC database so claimants need to send the NHS the evidence! - another fine example of joined up thinking / action within government and passing ‘compliance costs’ onto claimants / other organisations.

Perhaps claimants / advisers should send the NHS BSA a PCN every time we have to do their job for them? What will happen once managed migration begins? How many UC claimants are paying the charge & penalty when they are exempt following receipt of a PCN?

Daphne - one for stakeholders?

Yup - I’ll certainly send that one in…

     
Mr Finch
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“To explain further, the DWP do not currently check agaisnt the UC database…

Regrettably the NHSBSA have no control over the checking process with the DWP”

I can’t see that they have any option but to stop issuing penalties then. I know benefit claimants just seem fair game, but this really cannot continue. They are admitting they know their information is, or might be, untrue or misleading.

     
Billy Durrant
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Peter Turville - 10 August 2018 03:50 PM

We have now received a reply from the NHS BSA which includes:

“To explain further, the DWP do not currently check agaisnt the UC database so a patient would need to send evidence to show that they were exempt at the time of their NHS prescription or NHS dental treatment should they receive a PCN. Regrettably the NHSBSA have no control over the checking process with the DWP”

I don’t get this. If DWP does not check against the UC database how does ticking the box for Income Based JSA avoid you getting a fine? Does it not check against this either? Presumably, if it did it would show that the person is not receiving it and result in a fine too…

     
Jon (CHDCA)
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Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

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Ianb - 10 August 2018 06:05 PM

This is probably a question for those who have been dealing with UC for a while and are more likely to know the answer.

I think I’ve read elsewhere that when a claimant accesses their UC journal they can only see information relating to the last assessment period and not to earlier assessment periods. If that’s wrong and a client can see calculations that go back in time then the following question doesn’t apply. If it’s correct the question is, if a client needs to provide evidence about an earlier assessment period 1) how do they obtain it, and 2) how long does it take?

You can go back and click on previous months, to see the award breakdown. A caveat though, if those awards have since been revised, you will only see the revised version, not the original (unless things have changed since I posted this thread?).

     
zoeycorker
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one of my colleagues has stumbled across this with one of their customers who is living in a mental health supported living scheme - is on UC and has now received a penalty charge from the PPA
he thinks he ticked either income support or JSA option and they wont drop the fine at present without seeing a verified copy of the award notice from DWP
and now he’s just been sectioned.

     
Peter Turville
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Welfare Rights Worker, Oxford Community Work Agency

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zoeycorker - 14 August 2018 02:17 PM

one of my colleagues has stumbled across this with one of their customers who is living in a mental health supported living scheme - is on UC and has now received a penalty charge from the PPA
he thinks he ticked either income support or JSA option and they wont drop the fine at present without seeing a verified copy of the award notice from DWP
and now he’s just been sectioned.

Inconsistent approach from the BSA? In every case we have dealt with they have ‘cancelled’ the penalty notice when we have sent a print out of the payment notice for the relevant assessment period.

Of course the payment notice does not include the claimsnts NiNo or address so I can see why they may not accept the print out as sufficient.

I have now asked clients MP to raise this issue with the respective secretaries of state.