UC incorrectly claimed whilst abroad - should HB/WTC continue?
Client receiving WTC + HB. Abroad when lockdown announced and saw general advice online to claim UC - made a claim but did not pursue any further (did not verify identity etc.) Now returned to UK.
Regulation 8(1)(b) of the UC (Transitional Provisions) Regulations states that the regulation (‘Termination of awards of certain existing benefits….’) in respect of HB, IS and Tax Credits only applies when the Secretary of State is satisfied a claim for UC has been made and that the basic conditions in 4(1)(a)-(d) of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 exist.
Being ‘in Great Britain’ is the basic condition in 4(1)(c).
In this case, because the claimant was outside of GB when claiming I don’t believe the SoS could have been satisfied that the 4(1)(c) condition was met and HB/WTC should continue.
Does anyone agree or disagree?
I’ve checked with some caseworkers who have made UC claims with clients recently; nobody seems to think that the UC claim form asks whether or not the claimant is present in the UK when claiming. The most recent version I can find is from 2015 (https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/305969/response/753494/attach/html/4/UC Digital New Claim Gather Questions.pdf.html) so probably completely different now, but this version at least certainly doesn’t ask about presence in the UK. Does anyone who has made a claim recently recall seeing any more detailed questions on this in the current claim form?
This issue usually arises in the context of people who are refused UC on the grounds of not having a right to reside and who therefore similarly fall within s4(1)(c) but by a more convoluted route.
I think the consensus view here at least is that the stop notice is invalid in these circumstances and therefore the termination of tax credits and housing benefit incorrect for the reasons you give. Many councils will accept this but HMRC are less likely to.