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Moving from UC onto SRP and PC issue

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AlanRAISE
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Just been speaking to a service user with an interesting predicament.

He’s due to receive his SRP on 2/1/21 and has informed UC of this.

His AP for UC is from 15th - 14th of every month and he gets paid on 21st.

He’s been informed that his UC claim will close after 21/12 as he can’t receive UC - meaning he won’t receive any money from 22/12 - 2/1 when he’s able to claim PC and HB.

This surely can’t be right can it?

HB Anorak
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What date is his 66th birthday?

AlexJ
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Hi Alan,

Have a look at page 53 in CPAG handbook 2020/2021 - confirms that if an advance claim for PC has been made, special rules apply that allow the supersession of the UC claim to take effect from the date that the claimant reaches pension age.

Hope that helps.

Cheers

Alex

HB Anorak
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AlexJ - 10 December 2020 01:26 PM

Hi Alan,

Have a look at page 53 in CPAG handbook 2020/2021 - confirms that if an advance claim for PC has been made, special rules apply that allow the supersession of the UC claim to take effect from the date that the claimant reaches pension age.

Hope that helps.

Cheers

Alex

Even better than that, UC now runs on to the end of the AP in which SPC age is reached so there will be an overlap of up to one month minus a day.  The UC run-on and any regular entitlement to pensioner benefits are entirely independent of one another - you get both with no strings.  That’s why we need to know this claimant’s SPC age date.

Ianb
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I infer his birthday is 2nd January 2021. If his birthday is after 14th December he is entitled to UC for the 15th Dec to 14th Jan AP. Any Housing benefit or Pension credit entitlement from the date he reaches pension age will be ignored when calculating the amount of UC payable.

However I think State Pension itself will be taken into account (apportioned to that part of the AP for which he is of pension age) which, depending on the amounts, may result in no UC being payable. [I’d be glad to know whether others agree with this reading.]

See the Universal Credit (Persons who have attained state pension credit qualifying age) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which revises paragraph 26 of Schedule 1 of the Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 2013

Schedule 1 (effective dates for superseding decisions made on the ground of a change of circumstances)

26.  Where, in any assessment period, a claimant reaches the qualifying age for state pension credit under the State Pension Credit Act 2002, where claiming as a single person or as a member of a couple to whom regulation 3(2)(a) of the Universal Credit Regulations applies, a superseding decision made in consequence of the person reaching that age takes effect on the first day of the assessment period following that in which the change of circumstances occurs or is expected to occur.

[ Edited: 10 Dec 2020 at 02:25 pm by Ianb ]
Ianb
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HB Anorak - 10 December 2020 01:32 PM

Even better than that, UC now runs on to the end of the AP in which SPC age is reached so there will be an overlap of up to one month minus a day.  The UC run-on and any regular entitlement to pensioner benefits are entirely independent of one another - you get both with no strings.  That’s why we need to know this claimant’s SPC age date.

As per my post above as far as I can see the regulations only specifically exclude Pension credit and Housing benefit being taken into account from which I infer that State Pension itself is taken into account.

[ Edited: 10 Dec 2020 at 02:56 pm by Ianb ]
HB Anorak
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Way I read it is that there can be no UC entitlement after SPC age because this is not a prescribed exception to the age conditions in s4.  Instead, entitlement ends with SPC age, but the effective date of the superseding decision is pushed forward so that the working age UC calculation continues to have effect for the remainder of the AP.  No account is taken of pensioner benefits including SRP.

This is from the explanatory memorandum: “Entitlement to State Pension Credit, pension age Housing Benefit and State Pension remain unaffected and can start from the usual date that entitlement begins.”

Ianb
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“Entitlement to State Pension Credit, pension age Housing Benefit and State Pension remain unaffected and can start from the usual date that entitlement begins.”

Being entitled to those benefits at the same time as UC is not the same as saying UC is unaffected by those benefits.

The explanatory memorandum also says:
“This final payment of Universal Credit will not be taken into account when calculating awards of State Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit. Nor will any payment of State Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit be taken into account in the calculation of the final Universal Credit payment.”

Note that this specifically excludes SPC and HB from the UC calculation but not SP itself.

With SP taken into account some claimants will find that, although eligible, no UC will actually be payable if they reach pension age early in the AP. This does have a logic to it in that the purpose of this change is to smooth the transition from UC to Pension age benefits and, by definition if the pension date is early in the AP, the SP payment date will not be much different to the UC payment date. The people with the most difficulty before were those reaching pension age near the end of the AP who could have a gap of 8 weeks between payments. They will now get an extra UC payment (not much SP to take into account) to bridge the gap.

[ Edited: 10 Dec 2020 at 04:44 pm by Ianb ]
HB Anorak
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I see what you’re saying, and the explanatory memo suggests DWP agrees with you.  But this requires regulations to override s4. Perhaps it is implied in the new para 26 of Sched 1 to the D&A Regs: by making the change take effect at the end of the AP it does create a prescribed exception to s4 which brings the RP income into reckoning as income received in the AP. There was no need to amend the principal UC Regs for that because RP is already there as income in a mixed age couple case.

The alternative view, which I am less confident about now, is that the superseding decision has regard to circumstances obtaining on the day of the event that triggers the decision,  even if it takes effect later. It’s analogous to HB claimants getting HB to the end of the week even if their tenancy ends on the Monday. If that view is correct, RP income is out of scope in the final AP.

Ianb
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Would welcome views of others who like to unpick these things. Hopefully some of the regulars will soon have some experience with clients going through this and be able to confirm what is happening (which doesn’t necessarily mean that what happens is correct).

At the moment I take the view that the final AP of the UC claim has to be calculated based on the circumstances on the last day of the claim. The regulations provide that being of pension age on that day only closes the claim on the following day so the claimant is eligible for a payment and further provides for any HB or PC entitlement to be ignored but no such exclusion applies to SRP. Administratively that’s messier because UC need information about the SRP in order to do the calculation but hopefully, if that is correct, this is an occasion on which DWP computer systems will actually talk to each other.

[ Edited: 10 Dec 2020 at 08:10 pm by Ianb ]
bristol_1
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“At the moment I take the view that the final AP of the UC claim has to be calculated based on the circumstances on the last day of the claim.”

Hi all, picking up this point in particular;
our client reached SRP age on 6/12/20. Her last UC AP ran 30/11 - 30/12. Payment of HCE was only £89. She was bedroom taxed in her UC claim. Shouldn’t she have received the full HCE in her max UC in that last AP? Albeit the max UC would be reduced by any SRP?

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Sorry I missed all this before Christmas. I’ll ask a colleague to get in touch with DWP to try to seek some clarity on the issue of whether they intend SRP to be taken fully into account for last UC AIP.

HB Anorak
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bristol_1 - 26 January 2021 09:41 AM

Hi all, picking up this point in particular;
our client reached SRP age on 6/12/20. Her last UC AP ran 30/11 - 30/12. Payment of HCE was only £89. She was bedroom taxed in her UC claim. Shouldn’t she have received the full HCE in her max UC in that last AP? Albeit the max UC would be reduced by any SRP?

Bedroom tax will still apply.  People assume that pensioners are exempt from the bedroom tax, but that’s only because it is absent from the HB Regs for pensioners and expressly disapplied in the working age HB Regs when those regs apply to mixed age couples.  In the UC Regs, the bedroom tax exists and nothing says it doesn’t apply to pensioners.  Of course, when the UC regs were drafted, it was contemplated that the only pensioners who would have UC entitlement would be one half of a mixed age couple, but now with this run-one we have single pensioners who might be entitled to UC beyond SPC age, if that is indeed the effect of the amendment to the D&A Regs.  But there are no special rules for the way the housing element is calculated in such cases.

Ianb
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In such a case though claimant is, as I understand it and subject to the numbers, entitled to claim HB from the date they reach pension age and can therefore get overlapping help with the rent from both UC and HB. In this context I wouldn’t be complaining that the UC help is reduced by the bedroom tax.

bristol_1
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Thanks Ian, I wondered about the possibility if the claimant claiming HB back to the SRP date, but then I thought that the HB received would be deducted from the UC, or generate a UC overpayment?

HB Anorak
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No overpayment, HB and SPC are awarded under normal rules from when you reach the qualifying age - they don’t affect UC and UC doesn’t affect them (if it did, they would be passported to full HB anyway).

The one that is less clear (to me anyway) is whether state pension affects UC in that final AP.  But HB and SPC are awarded with no strings so as Ian says it does seem to be a bit audacious to complain about the UC bedroom tax!

Ianb
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HB Anorak - 27 January 2021 11:53 AM

No overpayment, HB and SPC are awarded under normal rules from when you reach the qualifying age - they don’t affect UC and UC doesn’t affect them (if it did, they would be passported to full HB anyway).

The one that is less clear (to me anyway) is whether state pension affects UC in that final AP.  But HB and SPC are awarded with no strings so as Ian says it does seem to be a bit audacious to complain about the UC bedroom tax!

As discussed in another thread (which I cannot now find) it is my belief that State Pension (apportioned to the period of entitlement) is deducted from the Universal Credit final payment. In other words it is only the overlapping income based benefits that are disregarded.

I am not clear how this works in practice if claimant has been late claiming their SP and the amount has not yet been determined.

I also read somewhere (but unfortunately cannot recall where) of claimant being refused HB award until the local authority had received confirmation from DWP that UC award had ended - but I think that is incorrect and hopefully is just down to ‘dealing with the new’.

[ Edited: 27 Jan 2021 at 02:06 pm by Ianb ]
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Unclaimed State Pension is treated as notional income for the older partner in a MAC which is why I would assume the SP is also taken into account in the last AIP but I’ve written to DWP to try and get some clarity.

Ianb
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As previously discussed re The Universal Credit (Persons who have attained state pension credit qualifying age) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. The explanatory memorandum (it’s easier to quote this than the actual regulations) says

“7.5 The claimant will have entitlement to Universal Credit for the entire monthly assessment period in which State Pension Credit qualifying age is reached, so in effect there is a run-on of Universal Credit entitlement past that age, helping to smooth the transition between working age and pension age benefits. For a mixed-age couple this will apply when the younger partner reaches State Pension Credit qualifying age.

7.6 Entitlement to State Pension Credit, pension age Housing Benefit and State Pension remain unaffected and can start from the usual date that entitlement begins.

7.7 This final payment of Universal Credit will not be taken into account when calculating awards of State Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit. Nor will any payment of State Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit be taken into account in the calculation of the final Universal Credit payment.”

Paragraph 7.6 makes clear that entitlement to SPC, HB and SP start from the normal date.

Paragraph 7.7 makes clear that the final UC payment will ignore any SPC or HB entitlement. SP is not included as excluded and is therefore to be taken into account.

 

HB Anorak
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As discussed in another thread (which I cannot now find)

It’s this one Ian!  You already discussed the explanatory memorandum higher up.  My only issue with that is s4 of the Act and whether the superseding decision consequent upon reaching SPC age can have regard to circumstances obtaining after that date?  I think you are right though that the explanatory memo very carefully omits SRP from para 7.7, suggesting an intention that it be taken into account

Charles
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I intended to reply to this thread when it came up last month, but must have forgotten.

I don’t think it’s an issue to take into account circumstances after reaching pension-age. The effective date of the decision to terminate UC has been set as the day after that AP. This means there IS entitlement to UC during the period after turning pension-age until the end of the AP. This is a result of s.17 of the SSA 1998.

This is no different to say a change of circs which means a claimant is entitled to more benefit, but they don’t inform DWP in time, and therefore the effective date is later than when the change actually happened. The level of their entitlement during the intervening period stays the same despite any law which prescribes a different level of entitlement due to their true circumstances.

Any change of unearned income in that AP will then have an effective date of the start of the AP.

Charles
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Regarding the issue of whether State Pension will count as income in the last AP, the wording of the EM definitely suggests that Ian is correct.

Para 11 of ADM Memo 28/20 also states (my emphasis): “DMs are reminded that SPC is not retirement pension income and, as with HB, is not taken into account as unearned income for the purposes of UC [...]”. I think this also suggests regular pension income should be taken into account.

The only way I can see how you could exclude it would be to say that entitlement to the pension income is ultimately a result of turning pension age, and therefore any decision to include it as income for UC is “a superseding decision made in consequence of the person reaching that age” which “takes effect on the first day of the assessment period following that in which the change of circumstances occurs” (Para. 26 of Sched. 1 to the UC etc (D&A) Regs).

By the way, HB and SPC are not specifically excluded as income for UC in this last AP - it just isn’t one of the types of income included as unearned income in the UC Regs.

[ Edited: 27 Jan 2021 at 10:07 pm by Charles ]
Ianb
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HB Anorak - 27 January 2021 08:05 PM

As discussed in another thread (which I cannot now find)

It’s this one Ian!

Asleep at the wheel!

Amanda JB
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I am trying to find out what prompts a new person of state retirement age to claim HB once their UC ends.

Does anyone know if they are signposted by UC once UC ends?

Also can anyone confirm if UC have an age trigger now, ie UC will automatically end at the end of the assessment period that the claimant reaches SRP age?

[ Edited: 3 Feb 2021 at 02:06 pm by Amanda JB ]
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Amanda JB - 03 February 2021 01:49 PM

I am trying to find out what prompts a new person of state retirement age to claim HB once their UC ends.

Does anyone know if they are signposted by UC once UC ends?

Also can anyone confirm if UC have an age trigger now, ie UC will automatically end at the end of the assessment period that the claimant reaches SRP age?

As far as we are aware, there is no automatic trigger in the UC system about someone reaching SPA, hence why awards are overrunning for some people, especially single claimants. Nor am I aware of any kind of follow-up from DWP when someone leaves UC.

Amanda JB
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Thank you, that’s what we were told middle of last year but hoped it had changed since the introduction of
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/655/introduction

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Amanda JB - 03 February 2021 03:30 PM

Thank you, that’s what we were told middle of last year but hoped it had changed since the introduction of
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/655/introduction

To be fair, that may be the case, as we haven’t seen as many cases recently so perhaps they have adjusted the systems and we simply don’t know.

Amanda JB
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So… information received now tells us that they do provide a journal message unto 3 months ahead of reaching SRP age and it mentions benefits that they can claim, including HB , but its all manual so dependent on resources I expect

They have new functionality in place which is only at the development stage to automate this including age triggers, hopefully will be in place as soon as possible..

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Thanks for that Amanda, very helpful to know.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Ok, have now caught up with DWP contact and the situation is this.

The thinking with this change was that for the vast majority of people moving from UC to PC, their first payment of State Pension will be paid after the end date of the last AIP for UC. As such, it is unlikely that the SP will affect the amount of UC payable.

If someone does receive SP payment within the UC AIP, then yes it will be taken into account as normal.

We’ve not heard of any cases where this has happened, so I’d imagine the anticipated outcome is largely the case, due to SP being paid in arrears.

Charles
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But unearned income for UC is not calculated based on the date of payment!