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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Children and childcare  →  Thread

Can a child / young person claim UC whilst in Residential school or college?

Ruth
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Trust Officer The Friendly Trust

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I have 4 clients who are 16/17.  They are in the care of the local authority and placed in suitable residential schools/colleges/ homes.  They have severe learning /physical/mental health/autism disabilities and receive the mobility component of PIP only due to their residence.

Can you advise please under which circumstances they might be able to apply for UC?  I have been given conflicting information and don’t want to waste time or cause them to become dysregulated if they have to attend a Job Centre, especially for no reason.  I don’t know exactly when they will transfer to young adults and be moved on. 

Thanks in anticipation

NeverSayNo
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Welfare rights department - Northumberland County Council

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16-17yro young people in local authority care can claim UC in their own right on the basis they are ill. Being “looked after” does not stop a UC claim on this basis.

The difficulty we find is when these young people are in education they can fall foul of really complicated rules on claiming UC when in education (have to have passed the WCA). And as I understand it there is a restriction to this route coming in on 15th December too.

But it certainly has been possible. In our work we support our local council looked-after team and have been successful in getting disabled young people (including students) on to UC before turning 18.

However, it is a struggle and the social workers/appointees need a lot of support to go through the steps. The average JC+ work coach has very patchy understanding of the law in this area. DWP have said “credits only” claims to NS-ESA cannot be processed, UC cannot be paid to looked-after children, etc, etc. We have been using our Partnership Manager a lot to get through this maze.

Being in residential care, or being fostered,  does not mean UC on this basis cannot be claimed

Ruth
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Trust Officer The Friendly Trust

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Thank you very much.  It sounds like I need to make the applications straight away. 

When you say “The difficulty we find is when these young people are in education they can fall foul of really complicated rules on claiming UC when in education (have to have passed the WCA). And as I understand it there is a restriction to this route coming in on 15th December too.”... are you able to quote / link me to any legislation that will help me, please?  Also, as 13 weeks will not pass before 15.12.21, will they still be able to claim?  Is it the date of the application or the date of the WCA that is critical?

“My” young people seem to be in the same category as your LA looked after children, so you have given me hope!!

NeverSayNo
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Welfare rights department - Northumberland County Council

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Hi Ruth

You can quote Reg 8(1) and (2) of the UC 2013 Regs at DWP if they do not allow a 16-17yro looked-after young person to claim UC. There is nothing in those regs to stop such a claim if the young person is in res care or fostered.

Which is all well and good unless the young person also happens to be in education.

Have a look at CPAG p878 about claiming UC if “receiving education” because not all education will necessarily stop a UC claim. That part of CPAG has references to the regulation in case you need to quote them)

Where the young person is in education that counts as “receiving education” then before the UC claim is made, the young person/appointee rings up ESA and specifically says they want to make a “credits only” claim to NS-ESA. IF this is not taken, complain. Once the claim is accepted we have had to complain that the Claimant Commitment isn’t automatically failed, then complain for the ESA50 to come out and then complain for the assessment to be done. Always using escalation processes where the DWP give out misleading advice (which is usually just to claim UC). There has been a lot of complaining.

Once the person has passed the WCA, then we have put in the UC claims. These UC claims have usually proceeded with no problem other than the baloney about resubmitting fit notes and immediately being referred for a WCA again. This is just wrong and a complaint sorts this out.

I think from 15th December this route will not be open to young people (unless someone on here has another work around) because they have to have passed the WCA BEFORE their course of education begins under these new regulations, here:

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/further-limitation-of-exception-to-the-universal-credit-basic-condition-not-to-be-receiving-education-for-those-in-receipt-of-a-disability-benefit

I must say also, some disabled students have claimed UC without the above route. I am not sure if they are overpaid claims or not.

Hope that helps.

UB40
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Debt Advice + Community Money Advice Launceston

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There is another route into full time non advanced education for young people who fall within the DWP definition of care leavers via Second Chance Learning.
This may apply to 16 to 18 year olds in what are described as Care Homes, though I don’t have any practical experience here.

*****DWP has extended ‘Second Chance Learning’ from age 19 to age 21 or the end of the
academic year in which the 21st birthday occurs. This allows care leavers to claim
Income Support and Housing Benefit if returning to full time, non-advanced, education to
make up for missed qualifications. These enhanced measures will continue as part of
Universal Credit;******
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/266484/Care_Leaver_Strategy.pdf