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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

UC and death of working age partner

S Taylor
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Welfare benefits adviser - Macmillan Caring Locally, Christchurch

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I have a bereaved husband over pension age who was in receipt of UC with his working age wife. Wife died on 6th January, 2023 and their payday was 14th of the month so I am assuming their AP was 8th to 7th. I have looked at CPAG handbook and am I right in thinking this change of circumstance will take effect from the 1st day of the AP, ie: 8th December, 2022? If this is right there will now be a recovereable overpayment as the husband wasn’t able to see the registrar and complete Tell Us Once until 16th January, 2023.

Just seems unfair for UC to stop from 8th December when the husband won’t be able to claim PC until 7th January! Am I missing something?!

Thanks in advance.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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I don’t have the reference to hand but remember that where someone hasn’t made an advance PC claim and they’re claiming UC and reach SPA, they get one full payment of UC for the final AIP in which they reach SPA.

S Taylor
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Thanks Paul. The husband is 67 though so he reached retirement age a while ago.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Ah right, of course that would have only worked if he’d just turned SPA.

This feels like a right conundrum, can’t think this is the intended effect of legislation but haven’t come across a case like this before from memory.

Jon (CANY)
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Does the normal run-on not apply to MACs?

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/regulation/37

“... the award is to continue to be calculated as if the person had not died for the assessment period in which the death occurs and the following two assessment periods.”

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Ha, well spotted Jon.

S Taylor
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Thanks both. I had assumed this wouldn’t apply as he is over pension age so he is not entitled without her? But if she is treated as if she had not died does this get round that?

Goodness, he’s going to be applying for Housing Benefit this weekend! Shall I tell him to hold fire?

Jon (CANY)
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Having done a search, it seems messy:
https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/15562

as per that thread, “reg 37 UC Regs allows for max entitlement to be treated as if partner had not died, but it does not allow a claimant to be entitled if they otherwise would not be”, however, this circular gives a different view:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/housing-benefit-adjudication-circulars-2021/a42021-the-universal-credit-persons-who-have-attained-state-pension-credit-qualifying-age-amendment-regulations-2020

In bereavement cases, the surviving member of the couple may remain entitled to UC for up to two assessment periods after the assessment period in which the partner died. This also applies to mixed age couples where the surviving member has reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit at the date of the bereavement. They may choose instead to relinquish entitlement to UC at any time during the three month run-on period.

Charles
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I think it is fairly clear now that the surviving member of the couple can continue to get UC for the run-on period. See also the SSAC minutes from May 2020, at para. 6.3(e)-(f) on page 13, and also pages 28-32.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1103581/ssac-minutes-may-2020.pdf


How exactly Reg 37 can allow for this is another question! I can think of two options:
1. Reg 37 implicitly provides for an exception to the basic condition that a claimant must be under pension age (under s.4(2) of WRA2012).
2. Reg 37 implicitly prescribes the end of the run-on period as the date from when the superseding decision takes effect (under s.10(6) of SSA1998).

I have problems with both options though:
Option 1 doesn’t explain the wording in Reg. 37 of “the award is to continue…” - surely this must be a new single award, and not as continuation of the old award.
Option 2 doesn’t sit well with me, as how can subsequent superseding decisions which are made prior to the end of the run-on simply ignore the fact that one of them has died?

A practical difference between the two options would be whether the UC claim could be relinquished in the AP in which the partner died, and a claim made for PC backdated to the start of the AP.
Reg 5(3)-(6) of the SPC Regs 2002 allows for such a claim for PC, but only where the claimant “lost joint entitlement to universal credit as part of a mixed-age couple” from the start of that AP.
If option 1 is correct, that would be true, so a backdated PC claim could be made. However, if option 2 is correct, then that condition is not fulfilled, so a backdated PC claim could not be made.

S Taylor
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Thanks everyone.

So is it cast-iron that this chap is entitled to the UC bereavement run on?  There’s no chance in 3 months time it will come back as an overpayment?

S Taylor
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Just to update on the outcome.

UC did pay the 3 month bereavement run on! They did initially say they would only pay 1 month but an MR request and a very helpful work coach at JCP got it sorted quickly.

Thanks everyone for advice.

Sally

Rebecca Lough
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Hello,

Reviving this thread in the hope that someone might know. It’s another MAC, but the younger partner survived. UC stayed as is for 3 APs, except that included state pension income which was no longer in payment so the surviving partner has significantly lost out. Does anyone know what is meant to happen in these circumstances?

Thank you

HB Anorak
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Good grief - just when you think they must have exhausted the seam of ways to get things wrong, they produce another nugget

The “run-on after a death” as it is called is in Reg 37, which is in Part 4 “Elements of an Award”.  Reg 37 begins with the words “In calculating the maximum amount of an award where any of the following persons has died ...”

Only the maximum amount runs on for the period after death, income is calculated in the normal way and obviously cannot include state pension for a person who is dead.

Rebecca Lough
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Thanks so much. It did seem slightly mad to include it!

Rebecca Lough
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Update: When we submitted an MR, they came straight back and said that it couldn’t be challenged because it’s a policy issue. SSCS1 submitted.

HB Anorak
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Rebecca Lough - 13 May 2024 04:25 PM

Update: When we submitted an MR, they came straight back and said that it couldn’t be challenged because it’s a policy issue. SSCS1 submitted.

I wish supported accommodation appeals were that easy.  It’s like shelling peas making fools out of UC isn’t it