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child care element

dizzymare
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HI just looking for some clarification on childcare costs as Im not sure of UC’s calculation for this and am doubting myself. I guess that this issue is that APs and childcare costs dont match up neatly. I am waiting for my client to provide a bit more clarity too as there are bits of info missing.

Basically, client claims UC (new partner moved in) both working. new claim 23/07 so AP 23rd to 22 each month. Her bill for childcare covers 1/07 - 31/07 and I think this was paid 31 July (though the amounts on bill and what was paid dont quite match).  I am waiting for confirmation of when this was reported to UC (and it is possible that this was not till 6 september). There is a second invoice for covering 1 august - 30 august. I believe this was paid 6 september and reported to UC 6 september.

Initially, I thought that they would work out costs from 23/07 - 31/07 as costs before this were prior to the claim. (assuming they were reported before end of AP) but Im not certain on this point.

However, when it comes to the following month (bill 1-30 august) this fell into AP running 23/08 - 22/09 and was reported 6 september so expected 85% of full amount to be included and paid 29 september. I didnt expect that they would try to work out actual costs in each period (as dates dont tally). These costs are before the changes in October so looking at guidance, assuming that costs must be paid in AP for childcare received in that AP or paid in AP for childcare received in previous AP so expected whole amount included. Costs are attributable to period above 23/08 - 22/09.

What is recorded on the JNL is that clt reported £712 (which doesnt actually match invoices but thats another matter) is that you have reported costs for the period 1/07 - 31/08 (im guessing reported two months in one). We can only pay you for period 23/08 to 31/08 - this gives a daily rate of £11.49 x 9 days (days from 23/08-31/08) so we will pay you 85% of this amount £87.89 childcare element.  Is this possibly because she reported july costs late so she has lost this? what should happen on next payment? will she get full month or will they apportion again? ive looked at regs but my understanding of this and DWP guidance is that whole of amount at least for august should have been included (and then 85% of this)

apologies I know I should know this, but I have not had many cases with childcare costs and certainly have never seen one worked out like this.  how to make work pay eh? prior to this she was on WTC with no issues with childcare costs - she knew what she was getting and when. thank you in advance for your input.

Charles
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You are certainly correct, your client should at least have received the full amount for August.

I have had multiple cases with errors of this sort. My most recent one is, in some respects, remarkably similar to yours:

Client claimed UC 26/9, so AP1 was 26/9-25/10. They paid childcare for 1/9-30/9 on 28/9, and for 1/10-31/10 on 28/10.

For AP1, UC calculated 5/30 of Sep costs and 25/31 of Oct costs, which comes to slightly less than a full month’s payment.

They SHOULD have given the full Sep costs (as the regs allow costs from prior to the UC claim to be included), and none of the Oct costs (as they were only paid later).

We requested an MR, arguing that the full Sep costs should have been included, as allowed by the regs.

Before the MR was carried out, our client got their statement for AP2 which simply used the regular monthly amount paid by the client. (This is actually correct, but contradicts the logic used for AP1, as by that logic they should have given 6/31 of the Oct costs and 25/30 of the Nov costs, which is slightly more than a month’s costs.)

A couple of days later the MR was decided, and the DM agreed there was a mistake in that the costs for 1/9-25/9 should have been paid for. However, showing a remarkable knack for misunderstanding the regs, the DM said that what should have happened was that the pre-claim costs should have been paid for separately, as if an extra notional AP had occured pre-claim. This was done, and our client received the money that same day as an extra one-off payment in their bank.

So at the moment, our client is hundreds of pounds better off than they should be!

dizzymare
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Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

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sorry for delay in response Charles (was on AL). Im glad that your client got sorted and we have also put in a Mrecon request, so will check in with my client this week and hopefully, this will be resolved (but im not holding my breath) it really worries me that the amount of errors we see, is of course just the scrapings off the tip of the iceberg - how many people are missing out on considerable sums of money because of errors such as this. Thank you for your clarification

AgeScotJo
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Veterans' Project, Age Scotland, Edinburgh

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I’m seeing what I think is a similar issue. AP ends M05, childcare paid on last day of calendar month.

Each month 25 days are included in the calculations…and the other 5 days just get ignored. Days 1 - 5 fall into the previous AP, but there is never a recalculation, even when requested via the journal.

Those 5 days are usually the difference between a payment being received, and the claim being closed as no payment is due (the entitlement is ~£45 per month, so not a huge amount but enough to put a dent in a tight budget). Although a reclaim is easy enough, they still won’t recalculate the previous AP.

I asked about an MR and was told a) it had to be done through the JCP, and b) an MR would be needed for every decision to close the claim (that’s 4 times so far, in a 6 month period).

Seriously??

Charles
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The first five days of the calendar month should actually also be included in the following AP, as they were only paid for in the following AP.

If they currently have a live claim, you should be able to request an MR on the journal for the previous awards too. I would go using the grounds of official error, so no time limit.

AgeScotJo
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Thank you very much! I am finding it heavy-going because I rarely deal with UC.

I am looking at the ADM, chapter 7: Childcare costs element.

F7059 details the sections that apply pre- and post-16.10.19, so I am looking at the rules for both time periods.


F7055 (pre-16.10.19) says that to be attributable to the assessment period, the costs
1. have to be paid in that assessment period for childcare in respect of that assessment period or
2. have to be paid in that assessment period for childcare in respect of any previous assessment period


F7061 (post-16.10.19) says that to be attributable to an assessment period, the costs must have been
1. paid in AP1 for childcare that is provided in AP1 or
2. paid in AP1 for childcare that was provided in any previous assessment period


Those both seem to confirm what you say (I was never in any doubt!): that they should be including the full month’s childcare as it is all paid in the AP, even though some days were provided in the previous AP.

Is this suitable information to use as evidence of official error?

I *really* appreciate your help!

 

Charles
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Yes, that is certainly enough evidence. You could also quote the legislation which can be found here - Reg 34A(1)(a)-(b).

AgeScotJo
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Veterans' Project, Age Scotland, Edinburgh

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Thank you so much for your help!

dizzymare
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Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

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dizzymare - 04 December 2019 06:10 PM

Basically, client claims UC (new partner moved in) both working. new claim 23/07 so AP 23rd to 22 each month. Her bill for childcare covers 1/07 - 31/07 and I think this was paid 31 July (though the amounts on bill and what was paid dont quite match).  I am waiting for confirmation of when this was reported to UC (and it is possible that this was not till 6 september). There is a second invoice for covering 1 august - 30 august. I believe this was paid 6 september and reported to UC 6 september.

Initially, I thought that they would work out costs from 23/07 - 31/07 as costs before this were prior to the claim. (assuming they were reported before end of AP) but Im not certain on this point.

However, when it comes to the following month (bill 1-30 august) this fell into AP running 23/08 - 22/09 and was reported 6 september so expected 85% of full amount to be included and paid 29 september. I didnt expect that they would try to work out actual costs in each period (as dates dont tally). These costs are before the changes in October so looking at guidance, assuming that costs must be paid in AP for childcare received in that AP or paid in AP for childcare received in previous AP so expected whole amount included. Costs are attributable to period above 23/08 - 22/09.

What is recorded on the JNL is that clt reported £712 (which doesnt actually match invoices but thats another matter) is that you have reported costs for the period 1/07 - 31/08 (im guessing reported two months in one). We can only pay you for period 23/08 to 31/08 - this gives a daily rate of £11.49 x 9 days (days from 23/08-31/08) so we will pay you 85% of this amount £87.89 childcare element.  Is this possibly because she reported july costs late so she has lost this? what should happen on next payment? will she get full month or will they apportion again? ive looked at regs but my understanding of this and DWP guidance is that whole of amount at least for august should have been included (and then 85% of this)

 

just seeking further clarifiction - before going to appeal. I have now had a mandatory reconsideration notice but the decision hasnt been changed.  I quoted the guidance and regulations and basically, DWP have said that the guidance is misinterpreted but they havent said how? There is one thing that is different so I thought I would check this just in case it changes anything:

clt made her claim for UC 23/08 and not 23/07 as I first thought. She had paid childcare costs in July but we are not asking for this to be included (though she did declare these costs).  However, she paid £714.50 for the period 1/08 - 31/08 and paid this 6/09.  She also declared costs in this period. Her AP is 23/08 - 22/09. UC have only included pro rata costs for period 23/08 to 31/08 (which is 9 days)

I stated this “Where the claimant has paid childcare costs before, or in respect of childcare provided before
the commencement of his current award, then the months prior to the commencement of the UC
award should be treated notionally as assessment periods in order to determine whether the
criteria described in F7055 as regards attribution to a particular assessment period are met.
Note: in such cases, each preceding month should be treated as beginning on the same day as
it would have done if it were an assessment period1. 1 UC Regs, reg 34A(3)” so im not sure what it is that they are saying that I have misinterpreted?

I am going to lodge an appeal but wanted a quick double check in case I have misinterpreted anything? (sorry for long post!)

Charles
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You’re definitely right. I’ve actually had a couple of decisions revised on MR on exactly this point.

dizzymare
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Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

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thank you Charles - hope they see sense and revise before appeal

KMJones
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Early Warning System, Child Poverty Action Group

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CPAG’s hearing anecdotally about difficulties with the childcare costs element of UC but yet to receive many example cases.

If you can, please do tell us about your cases so we can make sure the system is being administered in compliance with the regs and/or undertake policy work to push for improvements.  The more cases we have, the greater impact we have.

There’s a quick online form available here for submitting anonymised cases (for England & Wales): https://cpag.org.uk/policy-campaigns/early-warning-system

Many thanks!

dizzymare
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Welfare benefits adviser - Dudley MBC

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thank you - will do this now