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Re-opening UC claim

 

Income Max
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Apologies if this has already been dealt with in another thread, there are several relating to closures of UC claims but I couldn’t find one specifically addressing this issue.

I’ve being helping a client with a complaint, with a view to getting his UC claim re-opened. (Unfortunately the particular circumstances don’t seem to be appealable - basically they say the client voluntarily chose to end his claim, the client (and his witness) say that he was pushed into this by work coach.)

The response we received from the Jobcentre denied his allegations and invited him to reclaim. The response went on to say “We are unable to reactive claims retrospectively.”

Is this just because they disagree with his complaint? Or is this an absolute rule which would prevent the claim being reactivated regardless of the circumstances under which it closed?

How does it work where claim closures have been successfully challenged? Is the claim reactivated by the DWP or does the client have to make a new claim which is then backdated?

     
Jon (CHDCA)
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But if someone wishes to relinquish their benefit, there should be a superseding decision, which can be subject to appeal…

See A4120-31:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/720476/adma4.pdf

     
Income Max
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Excellent! Thanks Jon

     
Jon (CHDCA)
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I should add, DWP staff often don’t seem to be very aware of relinquishment as a concept. I’d be interested to know how you get on with identifying and challenging a decision, in the face of “the computer says the claim is closed”.

     
Elliot Kent
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I think we need to bin all of this terminology like “claim closure”, “reactivation” and “re-opening” of “claims”. We need to remember that UC is still a legal process to which the Social Security Act applies and it’s probably better to be dealing with it in those terms rather than falling into the DWP’s administrative language.

Your client claimed UC. The DWP made a decision to award it. That decision was superseded and terminated on the basis that your client had voluntarily surrendered his award. The superseding decision can be appealed. If it’s revised or successfully appealed, then the award continues. Same as with JSA. ESA, HB, etc. etc.

If your client was given a notice advising him of the decision and it advised him that he needed to seek MR before appealing - then he can ask for an MR and complaints should just be pointed to that letter.

If your client’s award was terminated without advising him that he needed to seek an MR before appealing, then he doesn’t need to and he can just put in an appeal right off the bat (see reg 7(1) of the D&A Regs 2013).

In any case, it probably makes sense for your client to make a new claim as well. At least then, he will be paid in the meantime.

      [ Edited: 13 Jul 2018 at 05:22 pm by Elliot Kent ]
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Elliot Kent - 13 July 2018 05:18 PM

I think we need to bin all of this terminology like “claim closure”, “reactivation” and “re-opening” of “claims”. We need to remember that UC is still a legal process to which the Social Security Act applies and it’s probably better to be dealing with it in those terms rather than falling into the DWP’s administrative language.

Your client claimed UC. The DWP made a decision to award it. That decision was superseded and terminated on the basis that your client had voluntarily surrendered his award. The superseding decision can be appealed. If it’s revised or successfully appealed, then the award continues. Same as with JSA. ESA, HB, etc. etc.

If your client was given a notice advising him of the decision and it advised him that he needed to seek MR before appealing - then he can ask for an MR and complaints should just be pointed to that letter.

If your client’s award was terminated without advising him that he needed to seek an MR before appealing, then he doesn’t need to and he can just put in an appeal right off the bat (see reg 7(1) of the D&A Regs 2013).

In any case, it probably makes sense for your client to make a new claim as well. At least then, he will be paid in the meantime.

Well said Elliot for reasserting some basic principles that we shouldn’t forget, thanks.

     
Janet Downham
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I had a client in a slightly similar situation.  ESA stopped when she failed WCA so she requested MR and then appealed and claimed UC as was in a full service area.  When the ESA appeal was eventually allowed she phoned ESA to ask them what would happen now and was wrongly advised to close her UC claim and that ESA would then continue.

Client closed her UC claim as advised but ESA office realised their mistake and phoned client the following day to tell her the UC claim needed to continue.

I don’t know if ESA office contacted UC office themselves but UC did reopen her claim without her having to make a new one.

HOWEVER, her journal and payment schedule only showed the claim history from the restart date.  We queried this but to my knowledge it was never resolved.  It then caused problems with keeping track of what she’d actually been paid and the history of her award.

     
Sally63
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the call centre have got the whole history on record. They can see it—it’s only the client who can’t. How this fits with looking after people’s personal information and the legal right to have a copy of all information held about you I do not know—but there it is

     
nevip
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“I think we need to bin all of this terminology like “claim closure”, “reactivation” and “re-opening” of “claims”. We need to remember that UC is still a legal process to which the Social Security Act applies and it’s probably better to be dealing with it in those terms rather than falling into the DWP’s administrative language”.

I’ve been banging on about this since (it seems) the dawn of time.  Well said Elliot.

     
Advice NI
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Couldn’t agree more with Elliot Kent:

“I think we need to bin all of this terminology like “claim closure”, “reactivation” and “re-opening” of “claims”. We need to remember that UC is still a legal process to which the Social Security Act applies and it’s probably better to be dealing with it in those terms rather than falling into the DWP’s administrative language.”

The latest I have heard from our DfC in NI is about “determinations” ... “Determinations, eg re LCW, are not outcome decisions but part of the process which contributes to making an outcome decision. A determination should not be notified to the claimant as an outcome decision with Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) rights as this would be defective and may be set aside as invalid. We have worked with Decision Making Service to ensure that notifications about determinations are correctly worded and advise the claimant that ultimately they will receive an outcome decision which does carry MR rights.”

     
SocSec
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this rally is confusing, I have a client who had a letter from UC to say his claim was closed [ failed HRT] so I advised he claim esa s he qualified as a couple for income related esa, the jobcentre even filled in the forms and sent them to esa processing, but it was refused and he was told that because UIUC still had an interest he had to reclaim UC, please what is going on here. if a UC claim is closed what does that mean in plain English

     
nevip
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SocSec - 17 July 2018 03:59 PM

this rally is confusing, I have a client who had a letter from UC to say his claim was closed [ failed HRT] so I advised he claim esa s he qualified as a couple for income related esa, the jobcentre even filled in the forms and sent them to esa processing, but it was refused and he was told that because UIUC still had an interest he had to reclaim UC, please what is going on here. if a UC claim is closed what does that mean in plain English

There exists, as a matter of law, a decision that he is not entitled to UC.  His remedy is to challenge this by way of MR/appeal, make a fresh UC claim (if in a full service area and cannot under the law make a new claim for a legacy benefit) or both.  If the law allows him to make a claim for a legacy benefit then he is free to do that and has a right to have that adjudicated on.