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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

UC, health costs and how to prove receipt of benefit

Andrew Dutton
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I’m sure this has been covered elsewhere but at the moment I can’t find it.

Both the NHS Choices and the NHS Business Services websites set out the rules for getting help with health costs whilst on UC.

They both advise that - ‘The patient declaration on the prescription form does not yet include Universal Credit. You should tick the Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance box and show your Universal Credit award notice as proof that you’re entitled’

This seems to be somewhat dubious advice, but at least we can quote it back to them should anything go wrong.

They both also say something to the effect of: ‘You should present a copy of your Universal Credit award notice to prove your entitlement’.

Er- what award notice, in a full service area? Will NHS accept printouts from claimants’ UC journals etc?

I’m expecting a call back from NHS Business services (on the IRESA underpayments debacle) and will try to raise this as an additional matter.

Has anyone else got experience of how things are working (or not)?

I think the Benefits Mythbuster page is looking for something on this too….?

Sally63
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The business section removed the charges and the penalties when we sent print-out copies of the UC award notice but they warned that this would happen again unless client completed the HC2 (low income) form.

doesn’t seem an effective use of energy—for them or for us

Peter Turville
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see thread https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/12939/

I have raised the issue of proof when there is no paper based decision / payment notices in UC and that some claimants may not have access to a printer to print off their payment notice in my latest complaint to the NHS BSA - response awaited.

I have also asked our clients’ MP to raise these problems with the respective SOS’s.

Sally as you will see on the previous thread NHS say DWP don’t (can’t?) check on the UC system as part of the checking process for the NHS. Brilliant!

There is a lack of joined up thinking between NHS & DWP on this issue in the brave new world of digital only award notices under UC! The NHS’s attitude appears to be that it is the claimants responsibility to prove eligibility for exemption and if they can’t do so due to DWP policy / process that’s ‘not our problem guv’.

Andrew Dutton
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Thanks Peter. Knew I’d seen something!

Equalitygal
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I am putting this under this thread because it is also about health costs and benefits, including UC. 

Advisers in our Bureau have been talking to clients about backdating of ESA following the successful JR, this is the case :-  http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/cpag-legal-action-leads-to-full-arrears-disabled-claimants and information on Advisernet:-  https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/advisernet/news/backdated-arrears-for-converted-esa-claims/

This led to one client mentioning that they had paid for health costs (prescriptions I think) and us thinking - well, there should be potential for backdated claims for those as well.  I would see this as another taking back the power manouvre having regard to the fact that the NHS Business Authority have been running their own campaign of targeting people who they believe have ticked the wrong boxes when accessing health services and may have incorrectly received free or reduced rate treatment then issuing penalty fines etc.
 
My thinking is that there is a mechanism for claiming back these costs using the correct form, however, these claims will be out of time and so likely to be rejected.  Obviously there are grounds for a late claim and I think we need the NHS Business Authority to come up with a suitable process and to alert their own staff who process these claims. 

Has anybody else spotted this?  Anybody working on this issue?  Am happy to link up if you are.

Andrew Dutton
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https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/5928/
https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/12939/P30/
https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/11732/
https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/12939/

Hi – the subject is discussed in these threads too. Forgive me if I repeat here what I’ve said in others.

I wrote to NHSBSA about the confusing ESA letters:  two days ago, just over a year after my first letter, I got a reply saying that NHSBSA thinks that the ESA letters are confusing too, and that they have raised the matter with DWP previously, and will do so again but that they have ‘no direct influence’ on DWP. They further suggest that I write to Esther McVey.

I would have thought that if DWP can identify the 70,000 claimants who have been underpaid, there must be some way for them to share that information with NHBSA so that those who have wrongly been made to pay for health costs/had penalties levied on them may be paid back.

A piece of work on this would be a good idea, and I’ll be happy to link up with anyone who wishes to look at it.

We should also raise the impending fiasco over UC and health costs.

Benny Fitzpatrick
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“They further suggest that I write to Esther McVey”.

What on earth would such a course of action be expected to achieve? She would probably interpret your query as a request to abolish healthcare costs altogether.

Andrew Dutton
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Benny Fitzpatrick - 31 August 2018 11:56 AM

“They further suggest that I write to Esther McVey”.

What on earth would such a course of action be expected to achieve? She would probably interpret your query as a request to abolish healthcare costs altogether.

I rather agree. It was touchingly naive advice.

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Andrew Dutton - 31 August 2018 12:28 PM
Benny Fitzpatrick - 31 August 2018 11:56 AM

“They further suggest that I write to Esther McVey”.

What on earth would such a course of action be expected to achieve? She would probably interpret your query as a request to abolish healthcare costs altogether.

I rather agree. It was touchingly naive advice.

Down here on the Jurassic coast. Me thinks in the wider context beyond including upcountry.

It would actually be a good idea to write to Esther McVey via local MP if only to get a reply, and have something on erstwhile public record (i.e. shared e.g. Rightsnet etc). Sometimes to affect change its means lots of chipping away.

 

 

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Any such reply would most likely go something like, “Universal Credit is getting more people into work and keeping them in work for longer than ever before.”

Andrew Dutton
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I will have a try, but I’m entitled to a little weltschmerz given how long it took to get a letter saying ‘Yeah you’re right but they won’t listen to us either’.

I fear a response in the vein that Benny has suggested may follow, and not quickly. That and an added lecture on how claimants must ‘take responsibility’ etc etc etc…

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Benny Fitzpatrick - 31 August 2018 01:24 PM

Any such reply would most likely go something like, “Universal Credit is getting more people into work and keeping them in work for longer than ever before.”

Aaah yes that’s yeah….........erm!

But leaving that mantra aside, and the possibility the response may not bear any resemblance to the issues any such letter would raise. Still worth chancing it!

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Andrew Dutton - 31 August 2018 01:32 PM

I will have a try, but I’m entitled to a little weltschmerz given how long it took to get a letter saying ‘Yeah you’re right but they won’t listen to us either’.

I fear a response in the vein that Benny has suggested may follow, and not quickly. That and an added lecture on how claimants must ‘take responsibility’ etc etc etc…

Phew! Thanks Andrew!

Absolutely regarding above points!

 

 

John Birks
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TBF wouldn’t The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP be the one to write to?

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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John Birks - 31 August 2018 02:12 PM

TBF wouldn’t The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP be the one to write to?

Letter to both of them and Ccing the other?

John Birks
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Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 31 August 2018 02:25 PM
John Birks - 31 August 2018 02:12 PM

TBF wouldn’t The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP be the one to write to?

Letter to both of them and Ccing the other?

More than reasonable.

 

Andrew Dutton
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Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 31 August 2018 02:25 PM
John Birks - 31 August 2018 02:12 PM

TBF wouldn’t The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP be the one to write to?

Letter to both of them and Ccing the other?

I’ll try anything, but I think the suggestion of going via a sympathetic MP will provide the best possibility of getting a response that will arrive before my retirement card.

Ooops, the weltschmertz is showing again….

 

John Birks
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I wouldn’t be worried by going direct in the first instance. You can always follow up with a local MP to chase up a response.

Going indirectly in the beginning runs the risk of the issue being sidelined in the first instance without the ability to follow up effectively.

Equalitygal
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Thank you everyone for your input on this issue. 

Thanks for offering to write a letter Andrew Dutton.  I think inserting something about duties under the Equalities Act would be helpful as there is the anticipatory duty to make reasonable adjustments and now that the NHS Business Authority should be aware that there are people who would have been eligible etc. and who will have illnesses/disabilities then now they should take steps to deal with it (I can draft that bit if it would help?)

I am talking about the ESA backdate issue here (although same applies to all these issues).

I am going to alert National Healthwatch and see if I can get them interested.

https://www.healthwatch.co.uk/what-we-do

I have also sent this to somebody at CPAG and to National Citizens Advice and await replies.

 

Jon (CHDCA)
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From the DWP September update, perhaps relevant to getting free prescriptions:

Changes to claimant statements (UC Full Service cases)

o The claimant’s name and address will now be shown at the top of their Universal Credit statements when accessed via their journal. In the case of joint claims, both names will show.

o This change will improve the appearance of statements when they are printed and used as evidence, confirming that the claimant is in receipt of Universal Credit.

Daphne
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Some new regulations laid today (and in force from last Friday) - The National Health Service (Pharmaceutical Services, Charges and Prescribing) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 - introduce real-time exemption checking (RTEC) to allow dispensing contractors to confirm eligibility for free prescriptions.

The explanatory memorandum says at para 7.5 -

RTEC will allow a pharmacist to confirm a patient’s eligibility for free NHS prescriptions. There is currently no technical solution for a dispenser to check a patient’s active prescription exemption status. Exemptions are not always declared correctly prior to medication being dispensed for a patient – this can be due to genuine patient error or deliberate fraud. Implementing RTEC would ensure prescription charge exemptions are applied correctly, thereby reducing prescription fraud in England, which currently stands at an estimated £256.1 million a year. It would also help to reduce genuine patient error.