UC, PC, CTC, a ‘mixed age’ couple and PC additions for children from 1Feb
client & partner were receiving PC. Partner is under PC age. They have a child. HMRC wrongly advised they cannot claim CTC but must claim UC. UC claimed and now in award. PC & HB awards ended.
This has all come to light in an appointment which was about a HB overpayment before the claim for UC (which has causes a further HB/UC ‘overlap’ o/p).
We would have advised them to reclaim PC/HB and CTC. However as the PC addition for children applies from 1 Feb. there is an issue about timing (no point in claiming CTC for the sake of a few weeks!?).
As far as I can see there is nothing within PC that excludes a person / couple claiming PC while entitled to UC. Whilst in UC there is the ‘mixed age’ couple provision as the exception to the general exclusion where a person has reached PC age’.
It seems appropriate to re-claim PC/HB on or after 1 Feb but ensure this change of circs. is the day after the end of their UC assessment period.
Whilst they could make an advance claim for PC he can forsee many practical difficulties in getting PC to understand the senario and only award PC from an appropriate date.!
I know what to advised clients ‘belt & braces’ to avoid any potential issues but what should happen?
Will a claim for PC means a ‘stop notice’ is issued to UC. What are the chances of PS actually doing this? Or are the claimants required to end (withdraw / cancel) their UC award on 1st day of new assessment period?
Has DWP issued any guidance on how PC should deal with UC to PC ‘transfer’ claims where child additions will apply?
DWP spybots - another example of how well UC is working and the frequency with which DWP/HMRC/HB staff given incorrect information to claimants.
We’ve heard of people being refused the ability to make a new PC claim when a UC claim is in place, until they supply evidence of having closed their UC claim.
“Has DWP issued any guidance on how PC should deal with UC to PC ‘transfer’ claims where child additions will apply?” - who knows? I’ve been trying to ascertain exactly this information for about 12 months now and have got absolutely nowhere.
From a practical perspective, when we are coming across these sorts of cases, we’re generally advising people to wait until the end of their next assessment period, get the payment and close the UC claim (no reasons need be given, even though they are often asked for) and then bung in new PC claim with backdating to cover any gaps (also worked with HB).
It’s a rather worrying shambles to be quite frank, the levels of misinformation are scary.
Thanks Paul - the sort of response I was anticipating! I’ll try and remember to post updates.
Because the relevant LA also use a LCTR banded income scheme for claimants on UC there are now major issues with LCTR / council tax that would not have occured if they were on PC / in the LA pension age LCTR scheme. Yet more unnecessary work!
We have now received the following response from DWP:
“The claim to UC does not close. UC will deduct £ for £ the amount of Pension Credit the claimant receives, like we do currently for the State Pension and Carers Allowance.”
I calculate the claimants are £133.46 pw worse off on UC compared to PC and also ‘lost’ £1249.68 CTC between the birth of their child and start of the award of UC.
Reg 5 of UC(TP) Regs says you cannot be entitled to PC if already entitled to UC, so they need to make the first move and the question of using PC as income doesn’t arise. The automatic three month backdatd means they won’t lose any money through timing issues, but coming off UC immediately after a payment is made is least disruptive; OTOH coming off UC on final day of AP is disruptive but pays in the long run as backdated pensioner benefits for that month will be higher amount.
Peter - yes! We are trying to make the transition back to PC/HB as painless as possible and avoid PC/HB refusing to accept advance claims while UC is still in award (or not ‘closed down’ on the system) or UC refusing to close the UC claim at all (as per their response! - have discussed with Martin @ CPAG). Whist backdating of PC/HB would cover some of this period I think there would be an issue with the child addition (unless clients also claim CTC for the period before 1 Feb).
If the clients closes their UC claim during the assessment period that spans 1/2/19 the child addition of PC would not be backdated for the whole of that period. On the other hand they would get the higher personal allowance for a couple backdated to the end of the UC award. So its swings and roundabouts to an extent. I think a request for a payment due to maladministration is likely in this case anyway for other reasons!
I’ve only glanced at the SPC child element regs so could be wrong but is it not the case that if they are on CTC immediately before 1 Feb they stay on it for the time being? I’ll have to check regs when I have more time but if that is correct they might as well do it asap as there will only be the one transition.
PS just checked the regs and as far as I can see if they get a CTC award in place before 1 February that will prevent them from having an SPC child element until CTC is eventually abolished. So a combo of CTC and SPC put in place now will remain stable until at some point in the next few years CTC is abolished and an SPC child element is awarded.
I am reading Reg 6(12) as including renewal cases in the limbo April-June period, but not as requiring an award in the previous year.