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Suspending UC claim while abroad

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Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K)

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Total Posts: 22

Joined: 28 September 2016

I couldn’t spot a discussion post that raised this issue, but I can’t imagine it’s uncommon.

Claimant’s AP runs from 4-3 of each month, with a payment date of 10th of each month. On 28/08, she notified UC that she was going abroad for 28 days, returning on 20/09.  She wasn’t paid as usual on the 10th of the month, and contacted UC to ask what was going on. She had to borrow money in order to pay for COVID tests to go home on 20/09 + meet her other living costs during that 10-day period. She was finally paid on 23/09, nearly two weeks after her ordinary payment date, and only once she had returned to the UK.

It transpires that her claim was suspended until she arrived back in the UK, and only paid once she had confirmed this with UC. She very nearly couldn’t return home because she was left without any money. At the very least, this seems a trigger-happy way of operating the discretion to suspend. But I also can’t see how this is lawful - surely her entitlement continues as of right unless and until the award is superseded and disallowed because of an absence exceeding 1 month? It seems absurd that the DWP could preemptively suspend a claim before grounds for supersession are made out, in a scenario where loss of benefit could potentially cause a claimant to be stranded abroad, thus disentitling them.

Any advice/thoughts would be appreciated - having a busy Friday and don’t currently have the bandwidth/energy to think about this in more depth.