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mixed age couple getting back onto PC?

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Charlotte R
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Apologies if this has already been covered in a previous thread…

A mixed aged couple moved in together 29/4/19.
Mrs is over pension age and was in receipt of SRP and PC and DLA and HB.
Mr had claimed UC prior to them moving in together.
Mrs was told that her PC and HB would stop as they had moved in together and he is under PC age.  In Aug 2019 he was told that he would have to add her to his UC claim as they were partner’s (not sure why that took so long).

Once Mrs was added to UC they don’t receive anything because Mrs SRP is £129 pw and so their income is too high.  UC claim still seems to be open though as he is still handing in fit notes and attending WFI’s.
They also receive HB as they’re in specified accommodation.

There has been some issue with the couple not getting back to HB with details of their income but the HB claim has nevertheless remained open.

Am I right in thinking that they should have been able to claim PC anyway as they were receiving HB with a pensioner amount at the point they moved in together, and this was pre- 15/5/19?  (Mrs was the main claimant and over pension age).

Would appreciate any opinions and ideas about how to get this sorted out if I am correct!

HB Anorak
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Depends whether HB has been administered under the working age regs or the SPC age regs since before 15 May.  The working age regs apply if the couple, or either of them, is “on” UC, which is defined in Reg 2(3A) as “payable to”.

If DWP had handled this properly, that would never have been the case because at all times their income has been too high to qualify for UC.  Does the delay in sorting that out mean that UC was “payable” in the meantime?  I would argue not: payable must surely mean properly payable - otherwise the regs would simply say “paid” (correctly or incorrectly).  I therefore would say that HB transitional protection applies.

In fact, SPC never should have stopped because the only UC-related thing that puts the kibosh on SPC is being entitled to UC (Reg 5 of the UC TP Regs).  They never were.  Not sure whether I would look to reinstate SPC right back to April - that is likely to lead to awkward questions about how much UC has been paid in the meantime.  If DWP themselves are not investigating a possible UC overpayment, I would just quietly forget about April to August and get them back on SPC going forward.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Presume you’re meaning reg.2(3B) of the HB Regs Peter? If so, then it says:

(3B) For the purposes of these Regulations, a person (“P”) is on universal credit on any day in respect of which P is entitled to universal credit (whether it is in payment or not)

The notes in the legislation book state that someone is considered to be on UC on any day s/he is entitled to it, even if it is not in payment. As it appears that the UC claim continued in payment until August apparently, might this cause problems?

I do think, on the other hand, that the fact that HB was being paid to the pension-age partner in April and has continued in payment throughout the intervening period means they should be able to claim PC again (and they could seek 3-month’s backdating and see what happens perhaps?).

I’m just back from two week’s holiday so if I’m barking up the wrong tree, please be gentle with me.

HB Anorak
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I was looking at the equivalent bit of the HB(SPC) Regs, which hasn’t been updated to refer to UC but talks about the legacy working age benefits being “payable”.  The working age regs do the same, but para (3B) in the working age regs uses the word “entitled” in relation to UC.  There is no direct equivalent of (3B) in the SPC age regs as far as I can see.

Actually I think “entitled” is more helpful in this case.  If the pension income has been too high since they became a couple, that means they were never entitled to UC.  It has been overpaid (although fingers crossed DWP doesn’t pursue that).

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Charlotte R - 23 September 2019 12:15 PM

Mrs was told that her PC and HB would stop as they had moved in together and he is under PC age.

Was thinking some more about this last night (what a saddo) and I was wondering who told Mrs that her PC and HB would stop? If this was DWP, is there actually a case for an any time revision here, as that was incorrect advice?

Charlotte R
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Thank you for all this.
I am going to visit the couple and question and find out a bit more detail (as all this info is coming to me via a support worker) .
Hopefully then it may be clearer who was told what and when.

I will probably back with more questions!

bristol_1
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I have a similar-ish case to Charlotte’s with a MAC who are overscale for UC, trying to see if we could get them back on HB and claim PC. In their case I am wondering if we can ask HB to revise their decision.

Mr and Mrs are a MAC in 3-bed house, they were claiming ESAir up to April with Mrs being the HB claimant and the ESAir claimant; Mrs is 64 and Mr is 72. Mrs’ ESA stopped in April and they lived on HB and Mr’s retirement pension only until 3 weeks ago when they claimed UC - HB has now stopped because they have claimed UC, but I can see that his pension amount takes them overscale for UC, so they will not be entitled to any. (So no DHP help with the bedroom tax which now applies either!)

The bit I’m not sure of is the HB revision bit, but hoping to rely on what you’ve flagged up at posts #2 and #3 and say that as they are not ‘entitled’ to UC, HB should revise their decision to close the claim, then they could claim PC….

The only alternative I can see is that they will become entitled to UC in future if her ESA appeal succeeds or her PIP appeal succeeds and the LCW/RA or the carer element is added into their UC max award, but those things will be quite a long way off.

HB Anorak
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This is more difficult than Charlotte’s case: they were in specified accommodation, which meant that HB was payable throughout.

You haven’t said your client occupies specified accommodation, so HB correctly terminates after they claim UC and satisfy the basic conditions.  The fact they aren’t entitled to UC doesn’t save the HB award.

What they should have done was claim Pension Credit instead of UC, relying on the pre-May HB award which was under the SPC Regs because ESA had stopped before 15 May.  They might have qualified for SPC - as they didn’t qualify for UC with working age living costs plus rent, probably not going to be a huge SPC award.  But crucially they would have kept their HB.  The really big difference for them is the 65% HB taper against unearned income, which doesn’t apply in UC.

So can they turn back the clock?  I think they can.  They can make a backdated Pension Credit claim to start during the period between 15 May and the date of the UC claim.  This is possible because the commencement of the SPC award will be on a date when they had HB under the SPC-age HB Regs continuously since 15 May and so they satisfy the savings provision in Article 4 of the Number 31 Order.  If they are entitled to so much as 1p of Pension Credit, I believe this in turn will enable them to reclaim HB from the date it stopped.  There will be an unbroken chain of either HB or SPC since 15 May which will satisfy Article 4(2) in my opinion.  It would be a new HB claim rather than a revision of the decision ending the old one, but the ends will join up.

If they don’t qualify for Pension Credit (which I fear is possible) then I don’t see a way back to HB.

bristol_1
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Thanks very much for the input, MAC is turning into a headache-inducing area!

-What they should have done was claim Pension Credit instead of UC

Agreed!

-If they don’t qualify for Pension Credit (which I fear is possible) then I don’t see a way back to HB.

Do you mean because of income, or that PC may not accept the basis for a new claim as you’ve described?

HB ended 18/09 and UC was claimed 05/09 so time’s ticking but we can try it. SRP is £205/week so there should be some gurantee credit entitlement.

HB Anorak
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I meant income, so looks like there will be SPC entitlement. I think the PC claim ought to be accepted.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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I’d be really interested to hear how your client gets on claiming Pension Credit. I agree with Peter that a backdated PC claim appears possible in the circumstance, as the three months takes us back to 10.07.19 and so there would be an overlap with the pension-age HB claim up to 10.08.19. Need to get UC claim withdrawn asap though in the first instance.

Charlotte R
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Charlotte R - 23 September 2019 12:15 PM

Apologies if this has already been covered in a previous thread…

A mixed aged couple moved in together 29/4/19.
Mrs is over pension age and was in receipt of SRP and PC and DLA and HB.
Mr had claimed UC prior to them moving in together.
Mrs was told that her PC and HB would stop as they had moved in together and he is under PC age.  In Aug 2019 he was told that he would have to add her to his UC claim as they were partner’s (not sure why that took so long).

Once Mrs was added to UC they don’t receive anything because Mrs SRP is £129 pw and so their income is too high.  UC claim still seems to be open though as he is still handing in fit notes and attending WFI’s.
They also receive HB as they’re in specified accommodation.

There has been some issue with the couple not getting back to HB with details of their income but the HB claim has nevertheless remained open.

Am I right in thinking that they should have been able to claim PC anyway as they were receiving HB with a pensioner amount at the point they moved in together, and this was pre- 15/5/19?  (Mrs was the main claimant and over pension age).

Would appreciate any opinions and ideas about how to get this sorted out if I am correct!

22/10/19
I have now been to see the mixed aged couple as above.

In addition to the info above, the UC claim was closed in Aug as there was nothing payable.  Following my advice, Mr has claimed new style ESA and that is in payment.

Mr attended a WCA on 8/10/19 linked to his UC claim - but by my calculations even if he gets LCWRA, their income will still be too high to get any UC (when the new style ESA is taken into account)

A change of circs form was completed for HB when they moved home and Mr is named on that. 
The HB claim has remained in payment throughout and is paid as ‘pension age HB’ (despite the fact that they were both claiming MTBs separately when they should have claimed as a couple).

Mrs has an overpayment of PC of over £1000 plus a civil penalty of £50.  PC was stopped 19/7/19.

So all they have in payment now is SRP £129.20, AA and his ESA £73.10.

Am I right in thinking that we should go ahead and claim PC as a couple as they have been continuously in receipt of ‘pension age’ HB?  Does it matter that Mr had a UC claim in payment?  Although it isn’t now…

Opinions appreciated.

 

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Yes I think they can Charlotte, as they’ve never had an entitlement to UC, so as you note, there’s been a pension-age HB claim in payment continuously since 14 May 2019.

Where does the overpayment come from? The overlap from her UC and his PC as single claimants?

Charlotte R
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Thanks.
The PC overpayment is because she was claiming as a single person when she was part of a couple - she did not inform them, she was also getting an SDP…

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Charlotte R - 22 October 2019 12:22 PM

Thanks.
The PC overpayment is because she was claiming as a single person when she was part of a couple - she did not inform them, she was also getting an SDP…

Ah right, that makes more sense (was wondering how it could be so big).

Be interested to know how you get on with this one.

Charlotte R
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I’ll let you know!