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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

UC claim closed while claimant abroad

James Craig
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Generalist Adviser - Citizens Advice Hammersmith & Fulham

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Total Posts: 25

Joined: 2 August 2017

Client with a current UC claim went abroad on 13th January for funeral of a close relative, having first notified DWP that he was doing so. Was away for just over two weeks, mostly in a remote village with no internet access. Returned to the UK to find that his claim had been closed, with no ability to find out why because there was no access to his online account now that his claim had been closed. The client was therefore missing his payment for the period 17 December - 16 January.

As suggested by his local JCP the client made a reclaim on 31st January and his UC was reinstated with effect from 17th January. He asked for backdating of the reclaim to 17th December, but this was refused, and an MRN confirming the refusal has just been received. We became involved at this point.

We helped the client make a submission on his journal to the effect that the DWP should also reconsider the decision to close his original claim, which we assumed to have been made (erroneously) because he was absent abroad. We also suggested that the client’s original MRR should have been treated by the DWP as including a request for them to reconsider their decision to close the original claim. There was an overnight reply to the effect that the closure of the original claim was because the client had not submitted evidence of his earnings as requested, and that we were now out of time to request MR of that decision.

The only entries that are now visible on the client’s journal date from and after his reclaim on 31st January, so we can’t see anything about the closure of the original claim.

My thought is to ask the DWP to send duplicates of all the missing information, with a view to probably challenging the original decision to close and to justify the lateness of the challenge on the absence of relevant information and client’s limited English. 

Any other thoughts?

HarlowAC
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Harlow Advice Centre

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Total Posts: 31

Joined: 1 March 2019

Have you got the latest CPAG handbook? Page 1340 bottom paragraph is useful for your case, I think.

James Craig
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Generalist Adviser - Citizens Advice Hammersmith & Fulham

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Total Posts: 25

Joined: 2 August 2017

Thanks, I have an online subscription to CPAG only, so can’t see the hard copy at the moment. Can you give me more of a steer?

HarlowAC
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Harlow Advice Centre

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Total Posts: 31

Joined: 1 March 2019

Hi
No longer in the office!
Anyway, it’s about the DWP having considered an MR when they say it’s out of time and therefore you can appeal. I think it’s in the section that deals with revisions and supersessions if that help you to find it on the online version. Alternatively, I can upload a copy on Tuesday if that helps.

James Craig
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Generalist Adviser - Citizens Advice Hammersmith & Fulham

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Total Posts: 25

Joined: 2 August 2017

Thanks, will let you know on Tuesday if I haven’t found it by then