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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit migration  →  Thread

Maximising Entitlement to Transitional Element- Risky Strategy or Sure Fire Plan?

Poll: What would YOU do?
Total Votes: 1
Be safe: claim UC and forget TE
0
Be bold: apply for SDP then wait and see
1
Lee Forrest
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Team leader of Financial and Social Inclusion - Karbon Homes, Newcastle

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Total Posts: 92

Joined: 16 May 2011

It is 27th January 2021. A client has a benefit check during which they are found to be missing out on a Severe DIsability Premium within their IBJSA. But! They have moved into a new property this very day, and must submit a UC claim in order to meet their rental liability!

What do you advise?

a) Claim UC. It’s a shame about the SDP, but the TE is there to compensate people for their financial loss. Technically the client isn’t going to experience one and the most important thing is to ensure they are in the best position to pay their rent and you’re careful not to implicitly or explicitly advise someone not to claim a benefit they are entitled to or to have no means of meeting their rental liability. You could be leaving the client worse off with this advice.

b) Whoah! Don’t claim UC! Advise ESA that you have moved out and request the SDP to be added to your claim. Once it’s included in your award, you can claim UC and get a Transitional Element worth £120 a month. You should get around £3000 in backdated payments, too! The client says they’ll definitely pay any rent arrears out of this!

You choose ‘B’. Several weeks later the client gets in touch. They owe £900 in rent arrears. They claimed UC when they received a letter telling them they were entitled to an increase in their award of IBJSA. However, they did not receive a transitional element and now ESA say they did not meet the conditions for the backdated amount and their entitlement to ESA ended the day before their UC claim.

What would you have felt confident advising?
What has gone wrong?
How could you help your client to appeal against the decision that choice ‘B’ resulted in?

My opinion is that the priority in this case would be to safeguard that clients entitlement to UC and would be advising the former. There’s an argument, of course, that the client should be given options- but I’m not sure that the latter is a legitimate option to present in good conscience in these circumstances (when it involves a benefit that the client needs to pay priority payments like rent)....

[ Edited: 27 Jan 2021 at 08:07 am by Lee Forrest ]
Vonny
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Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

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But how do they pay the rent in the meantime, if this is an entirely new liability for housing costs (ie they have no change of circumstances to allow their current HB to pay the rent on their new place in the same LA).  They cannot now make a new HB claim.  The £180 transitional sdp element is not going to be enough to cover the lost rent.

Lee Forrest
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Team leader of Financial and Social Inclusion - Karbon Homes, Newcastle

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Total Posts: 92

Joined: 16 May 2011

Vonny - 27 January 2021 08:32 AM

But how do they pay the rent in the meantime, if this is an entirely new liability for housing costs (ie they have no change of circumstances to allow their current HB to pay the rent on their new place in the same LA).  They cannot now make a new HB claim.  The £180 transitional sdp element is not going to be enough to cover the lost rent.

Thanks, Vonny!

Vonny
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Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

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Total Posts: 339

Joined: 17 June 2010

I think we are all trying to get our heads round how easy it is to lose all of the transitional element
‘simplifying the benefit system’?

[ Edited: 27 Jan 2021 at 08:58 am by Vonny ]
Elliot Kent
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Total Posts: 2011

Joined: 14 July 2014

Just to be awkward Lee, if there is a backdated entitlement to the SDP wouldn’t it also be possible to claim UC whilst requesting revision/supersession of the JSA/ESA decisions to include it - then once that is done you are entitled to the transitional element?

I have dealt with a few cases before the gateway closed where claimant would only become entitled to the SDP once they moved into their property (e.g. because they were street homeless or living with family etc) - so in these cases they had a similar choice between just claiming UC or trying to keep their legacy benefits alive by moving into the property whilst still on ESA, getting the SDP sorted out and then hopefully getting the HB sorted retrospectively.

We had clients go either way on this depending on what their priorities were. In one case the gentleman was living in his car but was terrified of UC and refused to claim it. He was offered a property by a social landlord who was apparently savvy enough to his benefit issues that they said they would withdraw the offer unless he signed a document confirming that he would claim UC as soon as he moved in. It was a fair amount of trouble dealing with that situation but it was ultimately possible to keep him on ESA and HB.