Search rightsnet
Search options

Where

Benefit

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

From

to

Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

Universal Credit or not? 

Rachel1
forum member

North East Law Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Send message

Total Posts: 82

Joined: 9 October 2019

Hi guys, I have a doozy of a benefit calculation and just needed to ask a couple of questions, I’ll try and break it down as simple as possible:

Current situation:
Husband and wife on Income support
Both getting PIP - husband standard rate daily living - wife enhanced daily living
Husband getting carers allowance
getting the SDP of £67.30 as well as another top up of £50.05
They get housing benefit and are under occupying by 2 bedrooms due to having 3 bedrooms (housing association)
They get Council tax reduction too.
Savings of £9000 - HB and IS has deductions on because of the savings.
No private pensions or any other income at all

Husband is 65 wife is 62

Husband is about to turn 66 and has been told he has to come off IS and get his state pension.
He has been told lots of different things by different people and does not know what benefit he should be on in order to get support with housing costs - stay on legacy or go to Universal credit.

My thinking is that he should get:
State pension - but carers allowance would stop and he would still have an underlying claim of that
He should now be exempt from the bedroom tax due to his age (despite being in a mixed age couple they are always exempt if one person is over pension age?!)

My main problem is:

As they get the severe disability premium he should be exempt from claiming universal credit and should therefore be able to stay on housing benefit?
However that leaves them without an amount for his wife - she is not fit for work so should they also make a UC claim just for her LCWRA element?  Or can she stay on IS? 

I do hope I’m not missing anything out.
Any advice is, as always, very much appreciated

HB Anorak
forum member

Benefits consultant/trainer - hbanorak.co.uk, East London

Send message

Total Posts: 2577

Joined: 12 March 2013

Unfortunately the SDP gateway no longer applies and there is nothing to prevent them from claiming UC.  This in turn means that IS cannot be preserved beyond pension age.  It also means that HB will terminate under the mixed age couple rules, although many people believe that to be challengeable as it is doubtful whether Article 6 of the WRA 2012 No 31 Commencement Order succeeds in providing for the termination of HB in a case like that.  It will take case law to clear that up, in the meantime you should expect HB to terminate.

The only other way to avoid it would be if the younger partner by chance has an award of old-style contribution based ESA which she could upgrade to ESA(ir) before the older partner reaches pension age?  He would need to sign off IS first.

Other than that, they might qualify for UC depending on the amount of their rent and pension income.  If switching to ESA(ir) is not an option in this case, the best tactic would be to claim UC before he reaches pension age so as to benefit from the two-week IS run-on.  They should also get an SDP transitional element.  Might need to submit fit notes to get LCWRA element if neither is currently formally assessed as having LCWRA.

Rachel1
forum member

North East Law Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Send message

Total Posts: 82

Joined: 9 October 2019

HB Anorak - 05 January 2022 03:10 PM

Unfortunately the SDP gateway no longer applies and there is nothing to prevent them from claiming UC.  This in turn means that IS cannot be preserved beyond pension age.  It also means that HB will terminate under the mixed age couple rules, although many people believe that to be challengeable as it is doubtful whether Article 6 of the WRA 2012 No 31 Commencement Order succeeds in providing for the termination of HB in a case like that.  It will take case law to clear that up, in the meantime you should expect HB to terminate.

The only other way to avoid it would be if the younger partner by chance has an award of old-style contribution based ESA which she could upgrade to ESA(ir) before the older partner reaches pension age?  He would need to sign off IS first.

Other than that, they might qualify for UC depending on the amount of their rent and pension income.  If switching to ESA(ir) is not an option in this case, the best tactic would be to claim UC before he reaches pension age so as to benefit from the two-week IS run-on.  They should also get an SDP transitional element.  Might need to submit fit notes to get LCWRA element if neither is currently formally assessed as having LCWRA.

Thank you very much for this help, it’s extremely useful. No his wife does not have old style CB ESA unfortunately.  He did advise that he tried to claim UC a few months ago (he’s a new client and only spoke to me yesterday)  He said that he needed a “link” number for his wife and couldn’t get it.  I think I’ll need to sit down with him and go through the UC application by the looks of it though I haven’t got much hands on experience of the actual UC application process.

Any idea about the bedroom tax situation? 

Thank you so much again for your help with this!

Ianb
forum member

Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

Send message

Total Posts: 884

Joined: 24 November 2017

It will be Universal Credit.
Both can claim carer element for looking after the other.
They will get the SDP transitional element (£285 in this case I think).

As HB Anorak says, if either declares a health condition they can be processed for WCA and if found to have LCWRA will then get the LCWRA element instead of the carer element. However from a previous thread it appears that the LCWRA deduction from SDP element would be in full despite the loss of the carer element so this would leave them worse off than if they do not apply for the the LCWRA element. it may therefore be more sensible not to do this. They can always do so in the future if they wish to.
see https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/17679/

As far as I know mixed age couples under UC are subject to the ‘bedroom tax’.

[ Edited: 5 Jan 2022 at 06:11 pm by Ianb ]
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
forum member

Information and advice resources - Age UK

Send message

Total Posts: 2723

Joined: 7 January 2016

If they can’t share a bedroom due to either of their disabilities, then they could at least reduce the bedroom tax I think from 25% to 14% and don’t forget to look at DHP as well.

Vonny
forum member

Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

Send message

Total Posts: 442

Joined: 17 June 2010

Is there anyone who doesn’t live with then who provides regular overnight care? That could give them another bedroom.
The £50.05 is the couple disability premium and will be lost in UC as no protection as for the SDP.

Rachel1
forum member

North East Law Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Send message

Total Posts: 82

Joined: 9 October 2019

Vonny - 06 January 2022 10:34 AM

Is there anyone who doesn’t live with then who provides regular overnight care? That could give them another bedroom.
The £50.05 is the couple disability premium and will be lost in UC as no protection as for the SDP.

Thank you for your response.  My client has since spoken to his local council who have advised that he doesn’t need to go on to UC due to having SDP and that he will no longer be affected by the bedroom tax so now he is very confused!
I have an appointment with him next week to make a UC application as I do now strongly believe that he should be on UC. I’m just still unclear about the bedroom tax sitch.  Unfortunately he does not have anyone outside of the home that provides regular overnight care.

Rachel1
forum member

North East Law Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Send message

Total Posts: 82

Joined: 9 October 2019

Ianb - 05 January 2022 05:46 PM

It will be Universal Credit.
Both can claim carer element for looking after the other.
They will get the SDP transitional element (£285 in this case I think).

As HB Anorak says, if either declares a health condition they can be processed for WCA and if found to have LCWRA will then get the LCWRA element instead of the carer element. However from a previous thread it appears that the LCWRA deduction from SDP element would be in full despite the loss of the carer element so this would leave them worse off than if they do not apply for the the LCWRA element. it may therefore be more sensible not to do this. They can always do so in the future if they wish to.
see https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/17679/

As far as I know mixed age couples under UC are subject to the ‘bedroom tax’.

I believe that the carers allowance will be stopped though as he is having to claim State pension and you cannot claim both?

Rachel1
forum member

North East Law Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne

Send message

Total Posts: 82

Joined: 9 October 2019

HB Anorak - 05 January 2022 03:10 PM

Unfortunately the SDP gateway no longer applies and there is nothing to prevent them from claiming UC.  This in turn means that IS cannot be preserved beyond pension age.  It also means that HB will terminate under the mixed age couple rules, although many people believe that to be challengeable as it is doubtful whether Article 6 of the WRA 2012 No 31 Commencement Order succeeds in providing for the termination of HB in a case like that.  It will take case law to clear that up, in the meantime you should expect HB to terminate.

The only other way to avoid it would be if the younger partner by chance has an award of old-style contribution based ESA which she could upgrade to ESA(ir) before the older partner reaches pension age?  He would need to sign off IS first.

Other than that, they might qualify for UC depending on the amount of their rent and pension income.  If switching to ESA(ir) is not an option in this case, the best tactic would be to claim UC before he reaches pension age so as to benefit from the two-week IS run-on.  They should also get an SDP transitional element.  Might need to submit fit notes to get LCWRA element if neither is currently formally assessed as having LCWRA.

Thank you for your response.  My client has since spoken to his local council while I was not working, who have advised that he doesn’t need to go on to UC due to having SDP and that he will no longer be affected by the bedroom tax so now he is very confused!  They have told him ‘they will sort it out’.
I have an appointment with him next week to make a UC application as I do now strongly believe that he should be on UC. Particularly for him and his partner to both get LCWRA as he will no longer be entitled to carer’s allowance due to claiming state pension.

Prisca
forum member

benefits section (training & accuracy) Bristol city council

Send message

Total Posts: 107

Joined: 20 August 2015

.  My client has since spoken to his local council while I was not working, who have advised that he doesn’t need to go on to UC due to having SDP and that he will no longer be affected by the bedroom tax so now he is very confused!  They have told him ‘they will sort it out’.

His local authority seem to be wrong - the protections which allow mixed age couples to stay on HB don’t include a severe disability premium
if/when the LA discover their error any resulting o/p needs to be LA error / non recoverable!

Vonny
forum member

Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

Send message

Total Posts: 442

Joined: 17 June 2010

Rachel1 - 10 January 2022 05:06 PM
Ianb - 05 January 2022 05:46 PM

It will be Universal Credit.
Both can claim carer element for looking after the other.
They will get the SDP transitional element (£285 in this case I think).

As HB Anorak says, if either declares a health condition they can be processed for WCA and if found to have LCWRA will then get the LCWRA element instead of the carer element. However from a previous thread it appears that the LCWRA deduction from SDP element would be in full despite the loss of the carer element so this would leave them worse off than if they do not apply for the the LCWRA element. it may therefore be more sensible not to do this. They can always do so in the future if they wish to.
see https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/17679/

As far as I know mixed age couples under UC are subject to the ‘bedroom tax’.

I believe that the carers allowance will be stopped though as he is having to claim State pension and you cannot claim both?

Carer’s Allowance will not be paid due to overlapping benefit rules, however he will have underlying entitlement to carer’s allowance meaning that the carer element in UC can be paid, remember to state on the UC claim that he is a carer when that question comes up.  The carer element is the equivalent of the carer premium he would have been getting in the IS claim.  It is actually no different not being paid CA as CA was deducted in full from their IS and then the carers premium added to the IS.

Unfortunately the person your client spoke to at the council was wrong as the sdp gateway is no more.

The bedroom tax applies in UC even when it is a mixed age couple, so the situation will be the same as their current HB. 

Despite reaching pension age, they will be worse off due to losing the disability premium of £50.05.  This is the sort of case that is worth them highlighting to their MP, mixed age couple, neither in a position to work, equals a pensioner living on a reduced income due to the government’s ‘welfare reform’.

Vonny
forum member

Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

Send message

Total Posts: 442

Joined: 17 June 2010

I think you should be thinking in terms of minimising the impact.

Is she capable of spending 35 hours per week doing some type of care for him, it could be verbal reminders not physical care and when claiming UC she then declares herself as being carer at the time of claiming.  She should not claim carer’s allowance for looking after him as this will remove entitlement to the sdp on their current IS claim.

UC carer element does not require a CA claim to be paid and having it at the start of UC will not eat into the SDP transitional element and will mean she has no work related requirements - sdp transitional element expects out there, am I right that this will not knock out the entitlement to sdp when claim uc rule?

That would give them 2 carers elements, which will minimise loss of the disability premium, £13 lost instead of £50 and time the claiming of UC to just before IS ends to give two week run on for both IS and HB

Apply for DHP from council for help with housing costs due to bedroom tax

Ianb
forum member

Macmillan benefits team, Citizens Advice Bristol

Send message

Total Posts: 884

Joined: 24 November 2017

Vonny - 11 January 2022 09:56 AM

UC carer element does not require a CA claim to be paid and having it at the start of UC will not eat into the SDP transitional element and will mean she has no work related requirements - sdp transitional element expects out there, am I right that this will not knock out the entitlement to sdp when claim uc rule?

The SDPTE is only eroded by elements added or increased after the initial claim so you are correct that if two carer elements are included at the outset (as suggested in my post at #3) it has no impact on the SDPTE.

 

Vonny
forum member

Welfare rights adviser - Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

Send message

Total Posts: 442

Joined: 17 June 2010

Ianb - 11 January 2022 04:04 PM

[

The SDPTE is only eroded by elements added or increased after the initial claim so you are correct that if two carer elements are included at the outset (as suggested in my post at #3) it has no impact on the SDPTE.


Thanks for confirming that :)