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Member of couple absent from GB - practicality

HB Anorak
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Hope this is a quick and easy one.  We know that:

- a member of a couple can claim UC as single person in various situations, including when the other partner is physically absent from GB; and
- their income and capital are still aggregated if the situation lasts for no longer than six months

I gather that DWP’s favoured method for gathering details of income and capital is to get the ineligible partner to make a claim, even though this does not have any legal effect on the date of the eligible partner’s entitlement: it’s just a convenient way of asking the relevant questions.  I can see how that is workable when the ineligible partner is physically in GB and has NRPF etc.  But what about cases where the ineligible partner is outside GB: will the system accept a claim if the user is at a location outside GB?  Is that still the preferred method of evidence gathering?

Thanks

HB Anorak
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I’m think probably the answer is yes the system will accept the claim judging from this thread:

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/16080

Am I right?

Elliot Kent
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I haven’t dealt with this exact situation but I think it is just to be done as a “couple claim” in the same sense as a couple where one partner is ineligible for other reasons.

I don’t think the UC form actually asks whether you are in the UK so it would be sensible to point this out in a journal entry.

HB Anorak
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Thanks Elliot.

Coming across quite a few cases where a member of a couple is stranded overseas because of Covid travel restrictions and the other partner wants to make a new UC claim.  Wasn’t sure whether the server would allow a claim to be submitted from an overseas IP address, but it looks as if it probably does.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Couldn’t you try to argue that, as with the HB easements around temporary absence, the partner abroad should actually be treated as being in the UK or is that stretching it?

HB Anorak
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 10 June 2020 12:56 PM

Couldn’t you try to argue that, as with the HB easements around temporary absence, the partner abroad should actually be treated as being in the UK or is that stretching it?

Thanks, could be the basis of a possible MR on the rate of UC once they get the claim established in the first place.  Immediate priority is to get something in place, even it’s only single person rate to kick off with.

tbidmead
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HB Anorak - 10 June 2020 10:54 AM

I’m think probably the answer is yes the system will accept the claim judging from this thread:

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/16080

Am I right?

For what it’s worth, client in that thread claimed in the USA at the start of April. May have changed since but nothing to prevent it at that stage.

HB Anorak
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Thanks very much, helpful to know

Tara CAC
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why does the adm E2 state the below

Temporary absence
E2030 A person who is living away from their partner ceases to be treated as a member of a couple and
part of the same benefit unit where they are
1. absent from the household or
2. expected to be absent from the household
for 6 months1
or more.
Note: Different rules apply where that temporary absence is from GB (see ADM Chapter E1)
1 UC Regs, reg 3(6)

I followed the footnotes here and E1 and C1 and it comes back to in GB and under 6m temporary absence regs - no special rules for where the temporary absence is from the UK

I was enquiring about an existing joint claim where the partner is going abroad to care for a family member and expected to be away for more than 1 month

HB Anorak
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There are two separate issues here: eligibility and aggregation.  Absence from GB for (usually) >1m will make the absent partner personally ineligible to claim UC and will allow the partner in GB to claim as a single person.  But until they have been or are likely to be absent for longer than six months, they remain a couple as defined for UC purposes and any income or capital belonging to the absent partner is aggregated.

Legal refs are:

- one partner able to claim as single person if partner absent from GB for >1m see UC Reg 3(3)(b), backed up by special rules for treatment of income and capital in Regs 18 and 22
- still a couple during absences of up to six months anywhere see Reg 3(6)

Tara CAC
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I get that, but that comes under E2030, why do they have a special note that different rules apply if they don’t?

HB Anorak
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I suppose it’s because the standard element is still the couple rate where the partner is in GB and absent from home for less than six months, whereas if they are outside GB for >1m it drops down to the single rate.  I think it’s trying to say everything about the couple is normal if one of them is absent within GB, but the means test is modified if one of them is absent from GB.  I agree it’s not strictly correct to suggest (as the ADM does) that they cease to be a couple any quicker outside GB.

Tara CAC
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thanks for clarifying

bristol_1
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Reviving this discussion as my client’s situ deals with same issues in this thread:

Client claims UC and CB and she recently married her husband who then moved in, who she said was already on UC. I advised them to join their claims together, but she said they didn’t manage to do this as they got stuck with linking codes/the IT side of things. I arranged an appt to help them complete this, but she now tells me that husband has gone abroad for 3 months and she says that he will be coming and going like this all the time. He is working abroad but I need to gather a bit more info about this.

I see from the discussion above and our handbook that they must still join their claims as they will still be a joint claim with his income and capital taken into account in the calculation, even if he is not entitled to UC as he is absent from UK.
But how will UC assess his income from abroad? if he is employed, how will he report his earnings? and how will DWP convert any amounts earned into in GBP?
Thanks in advance