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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Army pensions etc and claiming UC

Pernish
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Welwyn Hatfield CAB - Adviser

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Cl has PTSE and gets: Invalidity Allowance; War Pension Mobility; War Disablement Pension; Unemployability Supplement; Comfort Allowance; War Pension Constant Attendance Allowance. I’m afraid I don’t know the amounts as this has come via another adviser. Cl is a joint owner occupier with his W.

I just haven’t been able to find a straightforward Gov UK page on these benefits and their impact on UC.

Looking at previous posts on RN | see that the WDP and Unemployability Supplement equate to ESA so I assume they would also be taken into account as income for UC. The other things may be disregarded as disability payments? As an owner occupier I’m wondering whether he would gain any benefit by claiming UC anyway at least until he had had the ten assessment periods to qualify for SMI….

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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Navigating the benefits system for veterans is very challenging. UC seems to have been written without regard to particular benefits veterans may be in receipt of. Faced with the situation you describe I would suggest contacting Royal British Legion because their benefits advisers should be more familiar with the issues.

[ Edited: 14 Dec 2020 at 03:41 pm by Ianb ]
Pernish
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Welwyn Hatfield CAB - Adviser

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Yes I called the BL first off but the adviser I spoke to said that they were not able to advise on benefits! I have tried various other military charities but just not able to get through on the phone. Thanks for the suggestion anyway - perhaps another BL adviser might have been more able to help….

Ianb
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Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

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I thought they used to have some benefits advisers!

HB Anorak
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It is indeed difficult to provide comprehensive advice to veterans because the law governing war pensions and the law governing mainstream social security benefits are completely separate and it is rare to find someone who properly understands both.  But according to my limited udnerstanding, nothing in that list you have reeled off counts as income for UC purposes.

The only ex-services entitlement that counts as income would be a regular occupational pension, which is caught by the generality of “retirement pension income”.  Service personnel sometimes get their pension early if they retire due to illness or injury, but that might be no different from any work pension scheme that allows early retirement - the cause could be a sports injury or a road accident or a chronic illness unrelated to service.  I believe the rule of thumb is that an early-paid pension referred to as SIP is compensation for injury or illness resulting from service, whereas if it is called SAP it is a vanilla occupational pension.

The relationship between war pension and ESA is a red herring.  War pensions and supplements do overlap with mainstream ESA and PIP etc, so you might find someone doesn’t qualify for ESA because they have a war pension - but that doesn’t mean it counts as income for UC purposes.

Ianb
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Is this worth a try https://www.gov.uk/guidance/veterans-welfare-service#how-we-can-help

As an aside, RBL recently produced a report on how veterans are poorly supported by the benefits system https://storage.rblcdn.co.uk/sitefinity/docs/default-source/campaigns-policy-and-research/rbl_-making-the-benefits-system-fit-for-service-report.pdf?sfvrsn=f5f29164_2
The table on page 39 may be helpful.

[ Edited: 14 Dec 2020 at 05:13 pm by Ianb ]
Pernish
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Thanks to all for help here. The guidance and RBL report were very interesting. I’m getting back to client later in the week.

HB Anorak
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Ianb - 14 December 2020 05:01 PM

Is this worth a try https://www.gov.uk/guidance/veterans-welfare-service#how-we-can-help

As an aside, RBL recently produced a report on how veterans are poorly supported by the benefits system https://storage.rblcdn.co.uk/sitefinity/docs/default-source/campaigns-policy-and-research/rbl_-making-the-benefits-system-fit-for-service-report.pdf?sfvrsn=f5f29164_2
The table on page 39 may be helpful.

Possible I’ve got SIP and SAP the wrong way round judging by that table.  Interesting they say both are treated as regular occ pens in UC, I must say I thought one or other of them managed to avoid the SPC definition of “retirement pension income” , but I really don’t know enough about these pensions.  Probably better to trust an RBL document than trust me

[ Edited: 14 Dec 2020 at 07:12 pm by HB Anorak ]
Pernish
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The Note to Occupational Pensions (H5010 of the ADM on Unearned Income) which I found eventually confirms your view that SIPs are excluded for UC and the table on p.39 is wrong on that point. On that basis I think the best advice will be for the client to claim UC and leave it up to the decision maker to decide on whether benefits are overlapping. We can help with any appeal (although there is always a worry of an overpayment hopefully the decision is more likely to be a refusal of benefit…)