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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Benefits for older people  →  Thread

mixed age couple getting back onto PC?

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bristol_1
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WRAMAS Bristol City Council

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So - with my clients:
Advised Mr to make a new backdated PC claim, he was not allowed to make a claim on the phone. Was unsure if he was able to articulate the legal position so invited him in. Mr came in on Friday and we tried to claim PC over the phone, registered an “i doc” but the claims line were too busy to take the full claim, so gave him instructions to complete the claim this week. He rang this morning (reading out my instructions citing the savings provisions which apply and requesting a 3 month backdated claim as HB in payment till 18/09), but was told he could not make a claim.
My next tactic is that I am going to put in a written PC claim with complaint for gatekeeping and not accepting his claim (to ensure a prompt response), fingers crossed.

The alternative for this couple is to maintain a nil payment UC claim and Mrs goes for LCW/RA, which would give a little UC and could then claim DHP for bedroom tax.
Alternatively, Mrs has just lodged an ESAir appeal (WCA appeal), wonder if we could get ESA reinstated pending appeal? Or has the fact of the UC claim (albeit with nil entitlement) removed this possibility?

bristol_1
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WRAMAS Bristol City Council

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Plot twist -
ESA have now revised their decision, lasped the appeal and agreed client is entitled to ESAir. Clients have a reconsideration letter and are waiting for an award letter which will confirm payment of ESA.

Will DWP reinstate ESAir up to the date of the UC claim only, or pay ESAir going forward?
What will happen to the paper PC claim?
Will HB agree to reinstate HB on the basis of ESAir, or on the basis of the new PC claim?

Tune in for the next instalment as I try to get clients back on pension age HB claim to avoid 2-bed underoccupancy charge, avoid an income drop of ~£95 per week & avoid risk of eviction due to unaffordable housing costs ...!

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and advice resources - Age UK

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If income-related ESA is put back into payment, then your clients can’t be entitled to HB under pension age rules.

bristol_1
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Well this is where I get confused, as up to the date that ESAir stopped, they were receiving HB and not bedroom taxed. Mrs (the younger partner) was the main claimant.

bristol_1
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So speaking to my clients it transpires they haven’t actually gone ahead and withdrawn their UC claim (possibly cold feet/lack of clarity as to other claims succeeding) and now have a Flowers Hill appointment for Mrs in respect of that claim. Now that the ESA decision has lasped giving LCW, this will carry over to UC and give some entitlement to UC, which leads me to think that they are are now ‘on’ UC as defined in the HB Regs, Reg 5; I think that as UC is now payable this nixes the potential for going back to make a new claim HB even if the PC claim is accepted.

So it now feels very high risk to withdraw their UC claim, as the following may happen:
a. SPC refuse to accept a claim from Mr, and/or
b. HB refuse to accept a new claim from Mr, and then
c. a new UC claim can only be backdated 1 month with limited scope, and
d. if making a new UC claim, then LCW will have to be determined again right from scratch - this will initially lead to a nil UC award again.

All of this leads to financial loss for the clients. I know the alternative if we are successful is pension age HB and no bedroom tax so there are gains to be made, but I am concerned about this not succeeding. What I will definitely do is try to find out where the advice came from to claim UC and see if that can be pursued.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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We’ve got another car crash case that I think might be unresolvable.

Husband reached SPA on 6 March 2019, was claiming ESA and HB. For some reason, ESA remained in payment until July 2019, at which point someone in DWP seems to have noticed his age and closed ESA award down.

He was then written to by the LA to say HB award was also stopping and he needed to claim UC instead. He went to LA and then to Cit A who both confirmed that this was his only option, so accordingly claim made and put into payment.

Even if we could try to make the case that ESA award was paid erroneously from 7 March 2019 and that therefore HB award should have converted to pension-age HB from this date and therefore there was official error made in closing HB award down in July 2019, isn’t the fact of the UC claim being made and put into payment from July absolutely fatal to trying to get PC award made instead now? The savings provisions have been interrupted and no way back.

Wife is only 50 years old, he’s severely disabled and she’s his carer, they’re really struggling income-wise but can’t see there’s anything to offer? Anyone?

HB Anorak
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Unfortunately I think you are right.  Even though it was an unwise option, there was no legal reason why they couldn’t claim UC and the existence of a UC award blocks any return back to either SPC or HB.  Compensation for ESA’s error (and to a lesser extent HB’s error) seems to be the only answer.  He should of course have claimed state pension and/or SPC on 6 March, and doubtless would have done so if his ESA had stopped as it ought to have done.  Even if he hadn’t qualified for SPC with state pension income, HB would have remained under the SPC-age rules with the higher applicable amount and 65% taper, neither of which applies to UC.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Thanks Peter, I’ve already raised the possibility of compensation with our adviser as being the only remedy that seems possible.

It seems so fundamentally unfair that through the combination of ESA being paid when it shouldn’t have been (which appears to be why State Pension wasn’t claimed in March) and then poor advice about the HB claim can lead to a situation that you can’t then extricate yourself from due to UC being so pervasive once a claim has been made.