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Date of claim under Reg 10

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stevenmcavoy
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Jon (CHDCA)
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stevenmcavoy - 23 May 2019 12:15 PM

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/scottish-social-security-committee-calls-for-urgent-review-of-dwp-policy-on

So as I read it, DWP’s position is nothing to do with the location, it’s how the funding is set up?

Sandra McDermott:
On the deputy convener’s question, the DWP has given us a written statement, which I can provide to you. It says that regulation 10 of the Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2013

“states that the date of the UC claim can be the date of first notification by a customer that they need assistance making their claim where the person helping them make the claim is providing services to the Secretary of State.”

I can give the committee a copy of the statement. That is when local authorities were previously funded through the secretary of state. The statement goes on to say:

However, Help to Claim is delivered under a grant agreement with Citizens Advice and DWP’s position is therefore that Regulation 10(1)(b) does not apply.”

The impact of that is that, because Citizens Advice is not providing services to the secretary of state, the date of claim will remain the date that the claim is fully submitted and not the date that help was requested from Citizens Advice. The DWP has to have the claim and all the evidence to support it. For some of our very vulnerable customers, there is a delay, and that is when they are losing out on much-needed money.


edit: indeed, the evidence from Glasgow suggests that location is a total non-issue for DWP, unless the 19 UC hubs (libraries etc) in which claimants managed to register dates of claim under ADS, were all designated as appropriate offices.

A couple of statements from ministers in parliament earlier this month about the nature of the help to claim service:

Will Quince, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions:

We are also working in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland to provide a consistent UK-wide service and assist claimants to successfully make their universal credit claim. The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service offers tailored, practical support to help people make their claim and receive their first full payment on time. That service is available online, over the telephone and face to face through local Citizens Advice services.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-05-07/debates/FA3B1777-C7C1-4949-9C64-356DF2AB09BC/FoodPovertyScotland#contribution-1B689119-3FF7-4350-8388-8F231E6ED302


Alok Sharma, Minister for Employment:

From April this year, we introduced a help to claim service delivered by Citizens Advice. This provides additional support for any claimant from point of entry to the first award of universal credit, and is available by phone, webchat and in person at local Citizens Advice outlets and jobcentres.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-05-07/debates/C976604F-41A8-406C-AA9E-88E92E6C6436/UniversalCreditHelpline#contribution-9EA2E83F-462C-427C-8E1D-EDE1B23472B2

There must be some technical or legal implication of grant funding that I’m missing here, which makes DWP “introducing a service delivered by” CA mean not the same thing as CA “providing services to” DWP.

I’d be much happier to advise on an appeal on this argument, than I would on the argument that the drafter of the appropriate office rule really meant something other than what they said.

Much later edit: and just for the record, we have a letter from Amber Rudd written in the week before her resignation, which includes language such as “Citizens Advice is delivering the Help to Claim Service ... The Department will consider how it may wish to expand this service ...”. So it clearly continues to be accepted as “a service” of some sort, I guess the DWP stance is that it is not one that is “delivered on behalf of”?

[ Edited: 17 Sep 2019 at 05:37 pm by Jon (CHDCA) ]
Elliot Kent
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I think this (somewhat confused) Chronicle article is about this:

https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/dwp-universal-credit-claim-calculator-16330946

Stephen C
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Has the Secretary of State replied to these concerns and, if not, does anyone know when/if we might expect a response?

Daphne
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NAWRA hasn’t had a reply yet - will post when, or if, we do…

We have a stakeholder meeting next Tuesday too so will raise that there as well

Owen_Stevens
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Hi all

We’re looking for a case where we can challenge DWP’s interpretation of reg 10(1)(b).  If anyone has a client meeting the following criteria then could you drop me a message setting out the client’s situation?

a) requested help from the Help To Claim service
b) received assistance from an HTC service based in a JCP
c) date of claim for UC is later than the date on which HTC assistance was requested

thanks

Daphne
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Following completely unsatisfactory responses to NAWRA’s letters, we are undertaking a survey to see what sort of time gap there may be between someone seeking help from Help to Claim and the claim being submitted as the government believe -

There should be no need for a claimant to have their claim backdated to the point of contact, because they will be able to access immediate support to make their claim in a timely manner.

If you either operate the Help to Claim service or refer into it could you take a few minutes to complete this survey

Thanks

David Hornell
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Daphne - we are not using the Help to Claim service due to the date of claim not being protected.
We refer claimants to their local job centre who will assist them or if Help to claim are in the jobcentre that day jobcentre staff will pass them to Help to Claim staff .
If someone cannot attend a jobcentre due to disability, etc. we advise them to make telephone claim. Prior to Help to claim we referred to local authority partners for Digital Support as DOC was protected.

You may wish to consider establishing how many agencies are refusing to use the service ?

Daphne
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HI David

It would be great if you could complete the survey with an indication of how long it was taking to get appointment and perhaps at the end where there is space for comments put that you are not using it because of the refusal of DWP agreeing to accept contact as date of claim and the fact that it was previously protected.

TIA

Jon (CHDCA)
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David Hornell - 22 July 2019 02:29 PM

Prior to Help to claim we referred to local authority partners for Digital Support as DOC was protected.

Hi David, can you provide any detail of how this worked? Can you be sure it wasn’t just provided through the general backdating provisions? The Secretary of State denies that local authorities could previously protect the date of claim:

“Unfortunately there has never been a legal basis for the process you describe whereby a third party can ‘protect the date of claim’ for universal credit claimants. It has always been the case that claims begin when a completed claim is submitted.”

See also the reply to NAWRA which implies the same:
https://www.nawra.org.uk/wordpress/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Help-to-Claim-reply-13-June-2019.pdf

Daphne
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I don’t know whether things happened differently in Scotland but Sandra McDermott from Glasgow City Council confirmed that previously the date of claim was protected there when she gave evidence to the Scottish Social Security Committee - http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=12106&i=109513&c=2192766#ScotParlOR.

The UK government does deny that it happened, as you say Jon

Jon (CHDCA)
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Well, as I commented here, saying that there is no legal basis for a process isn’t quite the same as saying the process never happened 😊

David Hornell
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Will do Daphne .

We have had a case at Appeal Tribunal under REG10 which was successful

Jon (CHDCA)
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David Hornell - 22 July 2019 04:39 PM

We have had a case at Appeal Tribunal under REG10 which was successful

Interesting, thanks David.

Can you say whether date of claim under reg 10 was incidental, or was it the crux of the case, i.e. were DWP arguing that it didn’t apply, and the FTT looked at the reg and disagreed?

If it was directly argued, it would also be interesting to know why DWP wouldn’t go to UT, they now seem pretty sure of their stance.

Elliot Kent
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Jon (CHDCA) - 22 July 2019 05:39 PM

If it was directly argued, it would also be interesting to know why DWP wouldn’t go to UT, they now seem pretty sure of their stance.

Ha. We will see, I suppose. I suspect it will go into the bucket of propositions which the DWP will insist are true but won’t risk going to UT on. See also “jobseeker status trumps derivative rights” (https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/14561)

It’s almost a shame that you won at FtT!