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Universal Credit - Student Finance payments

LisaL
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BSF Citizens Advice Bury District Radcliffe

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I have a client in receipt of Universal Credit and student finance. For UC purposes his SF is broken down into monthly payments. His assessment period is from 25th to 26th.  He started his academic year on 25 September and his finance went into his back account on 23rd September.  He has now been penalised for the period 25th August to 26 September.  The finance receive was for the first quarter of the academic year, but UC have used the amount for the August/Sept assessment period because it came in two days before the end of the period.  I understand the rules are that any money received within the assessment period is taken into account, has anybody come across this before and been successful with a Mandatory Reconsideration.

HB Anorak
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The claimant should be treated as having student income for the assessment period in which the course begins.  It isn’t clear from your post which AP the course started in: you have said the AP runs from the 25th to the 26th, which seems like a typo.  Do you mean 26th to 25th?  If so, that is bad luck for your client because the course began on the very last day of the AP.  The actual payment date of the student finance doesn’t matter - it isn’t like earnings, the regulations set out which AP student finance should be attributed to.

At the end of the course the dice might fall more kindly.  That’s all I can say.

Victoria Hay
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Welfare Benefits Adviser - Hackney, City and Waltham Forest Mind

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accidental double post

Victoria Hay
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Accidentally quoted myself instead of editing. Maybe not my best day.

HB Anorak - 18 November 2019 05:29 PM

At the end of the course the dice might fall more kindly.  That’s all I can say.

That sounds like all you can hope for.

You probably need to check the AP against the term times for the next year to see if they are apportioning things correctly - it should be divided equally across all months in which there are any term dates. Any months falling entirely within a holiday (or outside the course) have no student income, but that leaves less applicable months to divide the student finance payment between. Any months with one day within the course’s term time are included and have a deduction.

It’s a very weird UC thing that two people could be on the same course, with the same finance, and get very different UC - one having higher monthly deductions but some deduction free months just because of where the dates fall.

In most cases (where UC is never reduced to zero in any month) it’ll work out the same over the full year / course. But that doesn’t mean some scenarios aren’t a lot harder to work with and budget for.

HB Anorak
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Victoria Hay - 18 November 2019 06:23 PM

It’s a very weird UC thing that two people could be on the same course, with the same finance, and get very different UC - one having higher monthly deductions but some deduction free months just because of where the dates fall.

In most cases (where UC is never reduced to zero in any month) it’ll work out the same over the full year / course. But that doesn’t mean some scenarios aren’t a lot harder to work with and budget for.

100 x this.  UC in a nutshell: you might break even, you might be better off, but it just won’t feel like it because of the way the relentless monthly rhythm of UC cuts across how you organise your life.  This probably suits people in work with monthly salaries, give or take the bank holiday blips, but for everyone else it really takes some getting used to.

Charles
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HB Anorak - 18 November 2019 05:29 PM

The claimant should be treated as having student income for the assessment period in which the course begins.  It isn’t clear from your post which AP the course started in: you have said the AP runs from the 25th to the 26th, which seems like a typo.  Do you mean 26th to 25th?  If so, that is bad luck for your client because the course began on the very last day of the AP.  The actual payment date of the student finance doesn’t matter - it isn’t like earnings, the regulations set out which AP student finance should be attributed to.

At the end of the course the dice might fall more kindly.  That’s all I can say.

They’re probably better off if the course started on the last day of the AP. If the student income is split up over an extra AP, the claimant will get an extra £110 disregarded.

Brian JB
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Victoria Hay - 18 November 2019 06:23 PM

Accidentally quoted myself instead of editing. Maybe not my best day.


You probably need to check the AP against the term times for the next year to see if they are apportioning things correctly - it should be divided equally across all months in which there are any term dates. Any months falling entirely within a holiday (or outside the course) have no student income, but that leaves less applicable months to divide the student finance payment between. Any months with one day within the course’s term time are included and have a deduction.

That isn’t my reading of reg 68, unless I am missing an update or change. The assessment period that includes the first day of the long vacation does not have a deduction for student income

Victoria Hay
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Brian JB - 19 November 2019 08:22 AM

That isn’t my reading of reg 68, unless I am missing an update or change. The assessment period that includes the first day of the long vacation does not have a deduction for student income

You’re right. The month with the first day is already not counted (along with the month where the course ends).

But it’s also the case that an assessment period falling wholly within the summer is not counted. Leading to the weirdness of assessment period dates making for very different calculations. Everyone gets one month over the summer not counted, but AP dates will decide how many other months are discounted. Which also means you can’t calculate the amount that should be deducted until you’ve checked term dates and worked out how many months payments should be split over.