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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Housing costs  →  Thread

Is customer in the UC Lobster pot or not? 

 

Prisca
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benefits section (training & accuracy) Bristol city council

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Clmt was on ESA IR for years - got AA and had no non deps so got the SDP - then transferred to JSA IB, which ended 3 weeks later diue to an increase in hours at work.

We suspended claim but didn’t consider an EPP

5 weeks later we got a new claim form.

Customer claimed UC but none awarded - unclear whether this is due to SDP being in payment or whether earnings (£500 monthly approx) and capital (£11k) mean he isn’t entitled.

So - can we correct the claim and pay the EPP (which would pay past the period UC was claimed)

it seems the only reason he claimed UC was because his HB had ended and he was told to claim UC when he contacted Jobcentre. I am very aware that had we considered the EPP and asked him for the correct info, rather than suspending and terminating, then he probably wouldn’t have claimed UC. I feel a bit(very)  bad that our mistake might mean he cant continue his claim for HB.

I’m stuck - i want to revise the decision to terminate, award the EPP and then use earnings as a change in circs - but does the fact he’s now claimed UC prevent me from doing so, even though UC hasn’t been paid?

Any brilliant ideas of how to fix this so that HB continues would be really appreciated.

- Cheers - Prisca

     
Charles
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Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

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You should be fine. The process you should follow is explained here.

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
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Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

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If your client is in receipt of AA, are they pension age? If so, they should not be getting any UC. (Welfare Reform Act 2012, section 4).

     
HB Anorak
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As Benny says, how old is this claimant?  I’m assuming not SPC age as he seems to have been getting working age benefits alongside AA.  When you say AA, are you using shorthand for the whole family of benefits of that type: PIP, DLA, war pension supplements etc?

Also, did he still satisfy the SDP conditions at the point when he claimed UC?

There is no reason why HB should have stopped before the UC claim, whether as an extended payment or simply in-work entitlement based on wages.  From the point of the UC claim onwards, it depends whether he was legally able to make a UC claim.  If he still met the SDP entitlement conditions, he was not allowed to claim UC at all and HB should continue.  But if he had ceased to meet the SDP conditions by then, HB would terminate two weeks later.

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Someone else posted somewhere about the fact that the UC system has no automatic trigger or flag for people who have reached state pension age, so it’s eminently possible that the DWP has simply completely cocked up this claim.

We’ve had cases of people on UC who have also been in receipt of Pension Credit and State Pension as single people. Often because, as with this person, they’ve been told by the local authority that HB is abolished and they need to claim UC to get help with any housing costs.

It’s a complete farce but in the wonderful world of UC, that’s a success!!!

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
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Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

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“Someone else posted somewhere about the fact that the UC system has no automatic trigger or flag for people who have reached state pension age, so it’s eminently possible that the DWP has simply completely cocked up this claim.”

Yep, that was me. The information came from a DWP response to a complaint I put in via the local MP, where a client had been kept on UC for 6 months after starting to receive New State Pension. Apparently the UC computer does not recognise a person reaching pension age, so doesn’t flag anything up to advisers to prompt closure of the claim and advice to claim PC/HB. In my case it was compounded by a series of excuses and a continuing refusal to close the UC claim until we literally sent them a copy of the WRA 2012 with the relevant sections highlighted and asked for their comments.

I agree. It’s worth checking that they haven’t made a pig’s ear of the claim through poor IT and the ubiquitous “training issues”.

     
Prisca
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benefits section (training & accuracy) Bristol city council

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Hi
My bad
Customer is working age and on DLA (hasnt transferred over to PIP)

Because the EPP wasn’t awarded, there is just over a month from his JSA anfd HB ending and himn claiming UC - it is likely the UC was accepted because he wasnt getting a SDP in a legacy benefit. (but that is due to our error of not awarding the EPP. Had we done that, his UC claim would have been rejected and he would continue on HB no problem.

Is there any way I can fix it so that we effectively “rub out” the UC claim? I think jis UC entiotlement will be significantly less than his HB award and I’m very conscious that our failure to award the EPP is what kicked it all off.

     
HB Anorak
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When this type of case has been discussed before on Rightsnet, the consensus has been that the retrospective reinstatement of legacy entitlement with an SDP down to the date of the UC claim renders the whole UC experience null and void.  The claimant is now entitled to a legacy SDP immediately before he claimed UC, which means that he should not have been able to make the claim and the fact that he did is wiped from the record.

In other discussions the scenario has been reinstatement of PIP/DLA, but I think the position is the same where it was the principal legacy benefit that incorrectly stopped, as in your case.

Would have been messier if UC had been awarded but because it wasn’t you don’t have to worry about HB and UC overlapping.

     
Charles
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Although DWP have been quoted on these forums as saying their legal view is that if at the time of the UC claim the SDP was not yet in place, then the UC claim is not invalidated by a subsequent revision/appeal putting an SDP in place. (Second last paragraph here.)

Even according to this interpretation, if you are within a month of the UC claim being made, your customer should still be able to make a fresh claim for HB, as they will now have had SDP within the past month. This claim could then be backdated to the date UC was claimed.
If it is not within a month, you’ll probably have to fight it out with DWP.

I’m assuming that the UC claim was refused due to income/capital. If there was a different reason, the picture changes significantly.