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EEA - St Prix and “reasonable period” - problem with intention to return

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Cardinal Hume Centre - Welfare Rights

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Joined: 24 November 2014

Client is a lone parent of a nearly 10 month old.  She has a solid 3 year self-employment history and she stopped working as a nanny to have her own baby.  Her Maternity Allowance ended, and she was advised by the Children’s Centre to claim Universal Credit which she duly did.  This claim has now been refused on habitual residence.  They’d asked in her journal about when she intended to return to work and she’d said in a year.  They’ve then come back to her and asked what that meant, as in a year from birth, or a year from now.  As she didn’t know to say otherwise, she said 2021 when baby was 2.  This was based on her reading and her understanding of when she’d have to under UC….

They’ve promptly refused the claim as no intention to return to work within a reasonable period.  Has anyone had any luck challenging a decision where this has happened?  She didn’t feel she could return to work this year as she’s breastfeeding on demand but she has taken it on board and thinks she may have even got a nanny job from next week.

I am just thinking if there’s any way I can MR the previous HRT disallowance as otherwise she won’t have any way of paying the rent for the ‘gap’.  Thanks in advance

Elliot Kent
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Yes, I’ve done successful appeals where the issue has been whether or not there is an intention to return to work or work-seeking.

As we know from HMRC v HD and GP [2017] UKUT 11 (AAC), there is first a question as to whether the claimant actually ceased to be self-employed as a result of suspending her work as a result of childbirth.

But if we assume that the self-employment has come to an end and we are in Saint Prix territory - the question about returning to work is always a tricky one and I have seen some weird answers. At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words and if your client can show that she is actually looking for work or resuming her self-employment around the end of the “reasonable period” that is persuasive evidence of her actual intentions.