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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Claim UC while a hospital in-patient

Cornac Hale
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North Lanarkshire Advocacy, Advocacy Worker

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Joined: 31 October 2019

Hello all,
I am new here, first post.
I have a situation where a young person came into hospital (a low secure psychiatric hospital) from prison.
As they came from prison no benefits were in payment. Previously the person claimed DLA (due to learning disability) ESA and housing benefit.
After a year in hospital they are now fit for discharge which will involve a care package from the LA in an ordinary house in the community.
As part of the discharge process a Welfare Benefits Adviser was sought and their advice is that due to complex rules around UC he is not eligible to make a claim due to being in hospital. Is this correct?
Can he claim DLA/PIP prior to discharge?
It seems no one at the hospital looked at his income at all and all his food and accommodation is via the NHS at the moment. His family handed in pocket money for toiletries.
Many thanks

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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There is nothing to stop people in hospital claiming UC. Obviously they will need to request a hospital visit rather than JobCentre appointment if they are unable to leave the hospital.

Elliot Kent
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UC : It depends on the basis of his stay in hospital - which is complicated slightly by the fact you say that he has come in immediately following a spell in prison.

If he is an “ordinary” inpatient then he can claim and receive UC.

However, if he is still subject to a sentence of imprisonment and has only been transferred to the hospital whilst remaining under that sentence, then there is no entitlement.

So you will need to find out which is the case. If he has been transferred during his sentence, then the hospital should be aware of his release date under the terms of that sentence. Once that date has passed, he can claim UC.

DLA/PIP : Neither is payable whilst in prison or hospital but the entitlement continues - it just sits in the background. When he leaves, payment should resume.

But I would want to make enquiries to ensure that there is still an existing award and to confirm that his entitlement hasn’t ended for whatever reason. If his entitlement has ended, then he could make a new claim to PIP whilst in hospital and it will be paid when he leaves.

Cornac Hale
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North Lanarkshire Advocacy, Advocacy Worker

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That is most helpful, thank you for the relies.
The man is not on a sentence from the court, he is detained under the Mental Health Act so it seems the information I have been told that he is not entitled is wrong.
One more thing you nice people might help with.
If he was in receipt of severe disability premium prior to going into prison/hospital does that mean he should not claim UC but ESA instead? (you will have gathered I am not a Benefits Adviser but something I read on a website somewhere about UC.)

A Stavert
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Welfare benefits officer - Scottish Borders Council, Scotland

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Cornac Hale - 01 November 2019 03:50 PM

(you will have gathered I am not a Benefits Adviser but something I read on a website somewhere about UC.)

I would suggest you refer your client to North Lanarkshire Council’s welfare rights team. 

It may be possible to get your client back on to ESA and SDP but this depends on the full circumstances of the case.  (I have managed to get a client in similar circs back on to ESA).

If it is possible claims have to be made in the right order and the whole process takes about three months from the date of discharge from hospital.  It may come down to whether your client can wait that long.