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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit migration  →  Thread

‘required to claim Universal Credit’ letter

Anna S
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A client who was in receipt of income-related ESA moved to a different local authority area. He called ESA and notified them of the change of address, but he didn’t claim Universal Credit until a few weeks after he had moved. (he needs UC to cover the housing costs. He isn’t entitled to an SDP)

He received a letter from ESA which closed his ESA claim from the date he moved house and said ‘We cannot pay you an allowance from DATE. This is because: You are required to claim Universal Credit’

I am of course going to request MR of the decision to close the ESA claim prior to the UC stop notice going out.

Has anyone else seen these letters?

Daphne
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I haven’t - but I’d be really interested to see a redacted copy if you can post one - I can query it via the stakeholders’ forum

Andrew Dutton
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I have one also, I will send a redacted copy when I can.

The letter is a ‘change in the rate of ESA payable’ template, stating that DWP has looked at the claim again and no ESA is payable from [date]

‘This is because: You are required to claim Universal Credit’. It offers an explanation if the claimant contacts ESA. No reference to SDP gateway.

It goes on to say that you can claim HB if you don’t live in a UC Full Service area. Template may need a slight update there…..

I only have page 1 of 2 of this piece of work, but I suspect page 2 would not address or correct the faults of page 1.

In my case, the claimant may still be entitled to CESA and so the rather sweeping advice may be even more faulty.

 

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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Surely there is no such thing as ‘required to claim UC’ simply circumstances in which, if a claimant wishes to claim certain welfare support they have no choice but to claim UC. It remains their choice.

Elliot Kent
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I have seen these letters in one or two cases but only when the claimant had in fact claimed UC on the date of the letter; so I had assumed that it was a somewhat clumsy way of saying that the ESA claim had ended due to the UC claim.

Abi Sheridan
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I’ve also seen one: cl moved within her local authority and no other change in circs, so abolsutely did not need to claim UC.
In addition, she was also eligible for the SDP upon moving and ESA didnt check, they just shut her claim down!

By the time she came to see us, she had claimed UC because she needed money and the SDP gateway didnt stop her because she didnt actually have it on her ESA.

Havent been able to resolve it yet…

But yes, thinking about it, if she hadnt been sent that ESA letter, almost all of this could have been prevented.

Andrew Dutton
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Here is the (redacted) letter for our client.

As stated earlier, I only have page 1 but I suspect page 2 would not remedy the deficiencies of page 1.

As suggested above, this letter was sent to someone who had claimed UC as of the date stated in the letter - so it wasn’t that he was ‘required’ to claim UC -  he had already done so. 

Saying ‘You have claimed UC’  may have assisted, but still wouldn’t make the letter a useful one. It is certainly clumsily worded, and the bit about claiming housing costs in a full service area is plumb out of date. Also, if the person were not in a UC full service area, why would they be required to claim UC - and how could they, in most cases, claim HB as well as UC? In fact the more I look at this bit, the more confusing it gets.

No reference is made to the distinction between IRESA and CESA and yet it mentions ‘our record of your contributions’. Under the heading of ‘Housing’.

In the particular case, DWP has let slip separately that the claimant was on Incapacity Benefit and then migrated to Support Group CESA, and has yet to explain how the CESA stopped. It is possible that CESA (SG) has been payable throughout and that there was no call for a UC claim in any event.

Not an appropriate or enlightening letter either in general, or in the specific case.

And there is a split infinitive.  Gad.

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Anna S
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The letter my client got is similar

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Daphne
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I’ve contacted DWP via stakeholders’ forum to query this - will update when I hear anything…