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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Benefits for older people  →  Thread

Single person reaches pension age-UC or legacy benefit?

 

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

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Cl on UC (LCW with support component), reached pension age 06/09/2018. Payment of New State Pension commenced on that date.  Claim for HB/CTS submitted.

HB claim rejected-Cl continues to receive UC (housing element and Support component). Cl did not seek advice at this point because, as far as he was concerned, rent was being paid, so no problems.

April 2019:- Cl receives UC50 and is told he MUST comply with LCW assessment process or UC will be sanctioned. Cl seeks advice. Adviser queries whether UC should even be in payment (IMHO all UC should have terminated 06/09/2018 and Cl should be receiving HB, not UC housing element).

JCP refuse to close UC claim when requested, insisting that Cl, despite being pension age, remain on UC (a “working age benefit”)  due to LCW status, and continue to apply full conditionality.

My understanding is that UC should have ceased when Cl reached pension age, and HB/CTS should have commenced payment at the same time. It is ridiculous to subject a person of pension age to full working age conditionality, when, as a pensioner, he should not even be required to show LCW or otherwise. (Obviously, the support element has been overpaid.)

Any thoughts on how to resolve?

     
Daphne
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He definitely shouldn’t be on UC as he doesn’t meet the basic conditions under section 4 of the welfare reform act - so he’s been overpaid. And as far as I can see can only get 3 months backdating of PC and pension age HB. He could ask for discretion not to pay back the overpayment - at least up to the amount he’s lost in PC and HB - as it’s the DWP’s fault since they knew your age. You could also ask for financial redress.

What a nightmare!

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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When we’ve had similar cases, we’ve had some success by taking the following approach.

Wait until the end of the next assessment period and when monthly payment received, put statement on online journal asking for UC claim to be closed down with immediate effect. Follow this up with a telephone call a couple of days later and when they ask (as they inevitably do) why your client wants to close claim, reply that this is none of their business and reiterate that they should simply close the UC claim.

Once your client receives notification that UC claim has been closed, submit PC and HB claims and ask for 3 months backdating. Make sure your client has printed off online journal entry showing UC claim has closed as HB department won’t usually process HB claim without this.

This has worked successfully and we haven’t heard of clients being chased for overpaid UC subsequently.

On your point about the earlier HB claim, I’m also wondering whether there is scope to argue that the decision to refuse this in September 2018 might still be open to challenge, depending on why they refused to pay? Was it because of UC being, erroneously, in payment still? If so, could that be official error?

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
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Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 16 May 2019 10:42 AM

When we’ve had similar cases, we’ve had some success by taking the following approach.

Wait until the end of the next assessment period and when monthly payment received, put statement on online journal asking for UC claim to be closed down with immediate effect. Follow this up with a telephone call a couple of days later and when they ask (as they inevitably do) why your client wants to close claim, reply that this is none of their business and reiterate that they should simply close the UC claim.

Once your client receives notification that UC claim has been closed, submit PC and HB claims and ask for 3 months backdating. Make sure your client has printed off online journal entry showing UC claim has closed as HB department won’t usually process HB claim without this.

This has worked successfully and we haven’t heard of clients being chased for overpaid UC subsequently.

On your point about the earlier HB claim, I’m also wondering whether there is scope to argue that the decision to refuse this in September 2018 might still be open to challenge, depending on why they refused to pay? Was it because of UC being, erroneously, in payment still? If so, could that be official error?

My thoughts exactly, Paul. I am minded to request anytime revision of the HB/CTS refusal decision, and play by ear with regards overpayment of UC. I am resigned to the Support component having be paid back, but surely it isn’t beyond the wit of DWP to offset overpaid Housing Element against notional HB entitlement?

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Benny Fitzpatrick - 16 May 2019 10:52 AM

My thoughts exactly, Paul. I am minded to request anytime revision of the HB/CTS refusal decision, and play by ear with regards overpayment of UC. I am resigned to the Support component having be paid back, but surely it isn’t beyond the wit of DWP to offset overpaid Housing Element against notional HB entitlement?

On your last point Benny, we’ve currently got an on-going case to see whether or not that happens, I’m waiting to hear back from adviser.

Be good if you could let us know how you get on.

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
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Daphne - 16 May 2019 10:33 AM

He definitely shouldn’t be on UC as he doesn’t meet the basic conditions under section 4 of the welfare reform act - so he’s been overpaid. And as far as I can see can only get 3 months backdating of PC and pension age HB. He could ask for discretion not to pay back the overpayment - at least up to the amount he’s lost in PC and HB - as it’s the DWP’s fault since they knew your age. You could also ask for financial redress.

What a nightmare!

If we manage to overturn the original refusal of HB/CTS, through anytime revision (and/or appeal), would we not get a full HB backdate?

     
Daphne
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Oh yes sorry - missed that he’d put in a claim which was refused - good point :)

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
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Latest developments:

After quoting Welfare Reform Act 2012, section 4. UC claim mysteriously “cancelled” without explanation. Currently fighting a vain battle to contact anyone who can explain this decision, as with cancellation of claim we cannot post on the journal, and no-one at UC will talk to us.

HB claim (with full backdating request) going in. If this fails to elicit a backdate, will request anytime revision of refusal on previous claim.

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
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Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

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More information:

UC claim closed after my introducing the Service Centre to the WRA 2012.

Manager of local Jobcentre has been in touch. “A training issue” was his take on the matter. However, he said that he expects to see more similar scenarios based on the experiences of other jobcentres.

My client will be paid up to the end of the relevant assessment period and will then be able to claim HB/CTS/PC. No recovery of UC personal allowance or housing costs (so no need to backdate HB). Decision yet to be made regarding recovery of LCWRA component.

I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the local MP, Jeff Smith, whose involvement seems to have persuaded DWP to actually address the issue rather than repeatedly trying to fob off the client and make excuses to avoid dealing with me.