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TOPIC: ESA to UC - Full Service Area

ESA to UC - Full Service Area 6 months 4 weeks ago #204622

My stepson is blind and was claiming ESA (support group) HB, DLA. He needed to move closer to family for support so we found him a suitable rented property. However, this meant he had to migrate on to UC as the new location is in a full service area. So it was not his choice and his personal circumstances have not changed. When attenting the UC interview, we emphasised that this should not be treated as a fresh claim and were told that his benefites should not change (other than the housing element).
However, he now finds that he HAS been awrded benefits at the level of a new claimant... and as a result is £77 a week worse off (ignoring th housing element). Our understanding was that a non voluntary migration to UC should not lead to lower benefits, and that moving house with no change in personal circumstances did not count as a change of circumstances.
Should we appeal this? Any other ideas? Thanks in anticipation.

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ESA to UC - Full Service Area 6 months 4 weeks ago #204656

Ali

If your son had an existing ESA award then this should have been transferred as is to UC. So there should be no reason for a change in payments (see below) other than a switch from fortnightly to monthly payments.

The exception would be if he was receiving the Severe Disability Premium which is not payable under UC and for which there is no Transitional Protection at the moment.

Gordon
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Last Edit: by Gordon.

ESA to UC - Full Service Area 6 months 4 weeks ago #204664

Thanks Gordon. I now know that it is indeed the premium payments that he's lost. He's receiving contribution based ESA, the equivalent amount being deducted from his UC and as you say, this does not attract the premiums.
So what we're left with is a situation where he based the house move on inaccurate information given by the relevant agencies. We were under the impression that he would receive transitional relief as his circumstances had not changed. Now it seems that a house move does count as a relevant change of circumstances for a 'natural migration'. He subsidises his rent from his other benefits over and above the housing element, so this situation could leave him and his guide dog having to give up the suitable home he currently has.

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ESA to UC - Full Service Area 6 months 4 weeks ago #204667

Ali

If he changed Local Authority and needed to claim Housing Benefit then he had no choice but to claim UC.

If you are saying that he only moved on the assumption that his payments would be unaffected and this advice was given by the DWP then he can try making a complaint and ask to be put back on legacy benefits. See the following RightsNet discussion

www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/11889/

Gordon

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ESA to UC - Full Service Area 6 months 4 weeks ago #204679

I made many calls to the UC helpline before we went ahead with his move. There was a lot of genuine goodwill, including several admissions that the system was a disaster. I was given several pieces of information, including being told that he would actually continue on ESA as was in the support group.
I asked over and over again about how we ensured he was not treated as a new claimant and was assured several times that he wouldn't be, nor would he lose money.
I'd have to find out if theose calls are recorded anywhere then how to go about launcing a legal challenge. Any advice welcome on that too.
As regards what constituted a relevant change of circumstances, I could find no clear guidance (hence my calls to DWP). All the examples given did not include a simple house move. I see that things have evolved a little since the universal introduction of UC has been altered and that some sites do advise that it is. I still see no official guidance pre UC application, certainly nothing that the average claimant would find.

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ESA to UC - Full Service Area 6 months 4 weeks ago #204681

Ali

You can make a Subject Access Request for the recordings

SAR :

www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/request-for-personal-information.rtf

From this page :

www.dwp.gov.uk/privacy-policy/data-protection/

However, I think you will need to show that the decision to move was solely based on the advice, if he was going to move anyway then I doubt you will have a case without it as the law appears to have been applied correctly.

Gordon

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