Search rightsnet
Search options

Where

Benefit

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

From

to

Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Covid-19: Welfare benefit issues  →  Thread

UC Nil Entitlement

roecab
forum member

Welfare benefits supervisor - Roehampton CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 400

Joined: 17 June 2010

Dear All,

We have a client who claimed UC in March 2020, she was not entitled as her earnings were too high by approx. £400.00 per month, and they did not fall to a level to give entitlement to UC until 31-08-20.

At that stage our client contacted the DWP who told he to report this on her journal.

However, it is not clear why, or how, they kept her claim open as she had nil entitlement?

This has caused an issue with the AP, as it has been set by the March claim, meaning that the final payment 31-08-20 carried forward into September.

Does anyone know why the claim might have been kept open for over five months without any payments?

Thank you in advance

Ianb
forum member

Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

Send message

Total Posts: 784

Joined: 24 November 2017

Even if the claim was closed Reg 21 (3c) of the UC Regs states that you keep the same assessment period if you reclaim within 6 months provided you have continued to meet the basic entitlement conditions

[ Edited: 12 Apr 2021 at 09:47 pm by Ianb ]
Charles
forum member

Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

Send message

Total Posts: 1045

Joined: 27 February 2019

I don’t think Reg 21(3C) applies here, as there was never entitlement to start with.

The reason this has happened is probably due to the new Reg 32A of the C&P Regs.

However, as this is implemented by treating the claimant as making a claim on the first day of each subsequent month, I don’t see what is stopping you arguing that you should also be allowed to make a fresh claim at the start of September.
For example, say the original claim was made on the 15th, which would mean a claim was treated as made on 15th August. I don’t see why another claim could not be made on 1st September.

Ianb
forum member

Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

Send message

Total Posts: 784

Joined: 24 November 2017

Charles - 13 April 2021 02:14 AM

I don’t think Reg 21(3C) applies here, as there was never entitlement to start with.

I did wonder about that but considered that claimant met the eligibility conditions which means that a UC claim was opened even though no payment was ultimately made due to the income received.

However reading the regulation this morning I note that it does say where “the claimant was previously entitled to an award of universal credit” and agree that the common sense reading of “award” is that a payment actually needs to have been made in which case I agree that that seems not to apply.

Curiously though, in practice, even if the claim was closed as a result of nil payment wouldn’t the journal remain accessible for six months for a rapid reclaim which would then result in the same AP dates being used.

[ Edited: 13 Apr 2021 at 08:31 am by Ianb ]
Charles
forum member

Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

Send message

Total Posts: 1045

Joined: 27 February 2019

Ianb - 13 April 2021 08:20 AM

Curiously though, in practice, even if the claim was closed as a result of nil payment wouldn’t the journal remain accessible for six months for a rapid reclaim which would then result in the same AP dates being used.

I’ve not had such a case, but, prior to the new auto-claim feature put in place last year, did the journal remain accessible for 6 months where there hadn’t been entitlement?

roecab
forum member

Welfare benefits supervisor - Roehampton CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 400

Joined: 17 June 2010

Thank you both.

And, Charles, yes it remained accessbile.

So when she went to make what she thought was a new claim, it revivied the previous - this set the AP at the initial claim period.

In this case it means her final payment from work made on 31-08-20, was caught as the AP was set at 15-08-20 to 14-09-20, and so for September 2020 she was not paid UC, also as she had no entitlement in September 2020 she could not apply for an advance payment.

This client only came to us ater being to the MP etc and interstingly even though the MP escalated it and the DWP replied, they also missed that she should have applied a grace period from the ben cap but they applied that as well

So it is a bit of a mess.

Charles
forum member

Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

Send message

Total Posts: 1045

Joined: 27 February 2019

roecab - 13 April 2021 10:34 AM

Thank you both.

And, Charles, yes it remained accessbile.

So when she went to make what she thought was a new claim, it revivied the previous - this set the AP at the initial claim period.

In this case it means her final payment from work made on 31-08-20, was caught as the AP was set at 15-08-20 to 14-09-20, and so for September 2020 she was not paid UC, also as she had no entitlement in September 2020 she could not apply for an advance payment.

This client only came to us ater being to the MP etc and interstingly even though the MP escalated it and the DWP replied, they also missed that she should have applied a grace period from the ben cap but they applied that as well

So it is a bit of a mess.

I know nowadays it remains accessible, due to the new auto-reclaim rule, but was that the case prior to last year when this rule was implemented?

I would consider appealing the decision not to allow her to make a claim beginning at the start of September, based on the argument I posted earlier.

Ianb
forum member

Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

Send message

Total Posts: 784

Joined: 24 November 2017

Charles - 13 April 2021 10:49 AM

I know nowadays it remains accessible, due to the new auto-reclaim rule, but was that the case prior to last year when this rule was implemented?.

Even before pandemic if UC claim was closed due to nil payment the journal was supposed to remain open accessible for six months so claimant could do rapid reclaim. I don’t know if the journal would stay accessible if no payment was ever made.

I assume that if somebody tried to make a new claim with the same details there would be a message telling them to use their existing journal.

Some HoC guidance here http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2020-0646/121._Reclaims_v8.0.pdf

This refers to a six month period from an award ending. Also says “To be eligible for a re-claim a claimant must have been assessed as eligible for Universal Credit for the assessment period before their claim was closed.”
I am not sure whether or not having an award and being eligible have the same meaning. Seems to me you could be eligible but not entitled. Perhaps DWP have confused themselves.

Crucially it also says “Claimants cannot opt out of the re-claim process. All claimants will be subject to a re-claim if they return to Universal Credit within six assessment periods of their entitlement ending.”

 

[ Edited: 13 Apr 2021 at 03:59 pm by Ianb ]
Charles
forum member

Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

Send message

Total Posts: 1045

Joined: 27 February 2019

Ianb - 13 April 2021 03:50 PM
Charles - 13 April 2021 10:49 AM

I know nowadays it remains accessible, due to the new auto-reclaim rule, but was that the case prior to last year when this rule was implemented?.

Even before pandemic if UC claim was closed due to nil payment the journal was supposed to remain open accessible for six months so claimant could do rapid reclaim. I don’t know if the journal would stay accessible if no payment was ever made.

I assume that if somebody tried to make a new claim with the same details there would be a message telling them to use their existing journal.

Some HoC guidance here http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2020-0646/121._Reclaims_v8.0.pdf

This refers to a six month period from an award ending. In this case a claim has been made but no payment has been made so an award never started and therefore cannot have ended.

Yep, I’ve seen plain vanilla reclaims, but never come across a case where the original claim was refused due to earnings and a reclaim tried.

The document you link to is actually explicit that it only applies to cases where there was prior entitlement.

I haven’t got time to look for it now, but someone once posted on here that the UC system allows a new account to be set up (obviously with a different email address), and a new claim be made with different AP dates even in cases where there was prior entitlement. I remember thinking at the time that that could be very useful in some cases like the one in this thread!

EDIT: Just seen your edit. I think it’s clumsy wording, but I don’t think there is a different between eligible and entitled.

[ Edited: 13 Apr 2021 at 04:00 pm by Charles ]
Ianb
forum member

Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

Send message

Total Posts: 784

Joined: 24 November 2017

Charles - 13 April 2021 03:57 PM

The document you link to is actually explicit that it only applies to cases where there was prior entitlement.

i was still editing my thoughts and was about to make that point!

It does seem that, as sometoimes happens, the guidance confuses itself my using phrases which don’t necessarily mean the same thing as if they were interchangeable.

[ Edited: 13 Apr 2021 at 04:02 pm by Ianb ]
Charles
forum member

Accountant, Haffner Hoff Ltd, Manchester

Send message

Total Posts: 1045

Joined: 27 February 2019

Ianb - 13 April 2021 04:00 PM
Charles - 13 April 2021 03:57 PM

The document you link to is actually explicit that it only applies to cases where there was prior entitlement.

i was still editing my thoughts and was about to make that point!

And now I’ve edited my post!

roecab
forum member

Welfare benefits supervisor - Roehampton CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 400

Joined: 17 June 2010

Thank you both, it is appreciated.

I have advsied the client of her options.

Cheers and have a great evening.