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Help with uc new claim while being unfit for work

johnsmith187 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
edited April 2018 in Universal Credit (UC)
Hello, i would like some advice if anyone has a minute.

Basically my wife has been ill with various medical conditions for around ten years. I have happily supported her since being married however in the last year her health has deteriorated to the point where we are spending quite a lot of money on aids,extra help ect so after some research I applied for pip and universal credit. She was awarded standard daily and enhanced mobility. Pip was very straight forward and I'm thankful for it. However I've found universal credit very confusing and not sure what's going on really. I applied online and put that my wife is unable to work, we then attended an Id interview and told us we will receive a payment in 22 days but she couldn't tell me how much it would be. I then got an email on her uc account saying she needs to make an appointment. From what I understand she might be entitled to lcwra element? So I have a few questions..

I've seen people talking about getting sick notes? Will my wife have to do that? Her mobility is bad and she only leaves the house every four-five months because of pain. 

I've seen people saying the lcwra element isn't paid for the first three months does that mean we will receive nothing in the first three payments?

What will she have to do to get into the lcwra part?

If she gets the lcwra how often will she have to go to meetings?

If they say she has to go every month (which I know she will be unable to do) can I just cancel the claim?

Sorry for all the questions I'm just worried about this as I feel as if I've opened a can of worms. My main worry is that apart from my wife's physical illness she also has quite a deep social phobia. After going to the pip interview she broke out in stress hives which because of her low immune system turned into open sores plus she had several panic attacks going up to the day. She now has to have another interview for uc which she is very stressful about. I usually can reassure her but I really don't know what I'm doing. If she gets any worse because of this whole thing I will have to cancel the claim as my wife is more important than a few extra bob a month.

Thanks for your time and any help would be really appreciated. 


  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering

    Hopefully we can give you a bit of clarity. So to answer the questions about your wife, yes, to get extra money in her UC (the limited capability for work-related activity element or LCWRA), she will need to supply sick notes to begin with. If she can't leave the house, can her GP come to see her? It's also correct that the element can't be included for the first 3 months of sick notes (unless your wife was previously on ESA, for example). It doesn't mean you will receive nothing though - you may still be entitled to some UC for your circumstances (I don't know what other income you have, for example, whether you are working?)

    To get the LCWRA element your wife should ask to fill in a form called a UC50. She should get this soon (and definitely once she has supplied sick notes for 28 days). Then she may have to have an assessment  - but if necessary, you can insist that she has this at home. Following the assessment, if it's decided that she has limited capability for work-related activity, she doesn't have to do anything - she won't have to go to interviews, meetings or anything else. I think she is likely to qualify because work-related activity would be a risk to her health (proven by the panic attacks and hives she had over the PIP assessment). 

    Do you get carer's allowance for looking after your wife? If you don't, and you are not working (or only working part-time), it's worth looking into whether you should be getting this. If you claim and could have been entitled for an earlier period, carer's allowance can be backdated by 3 months (as long as you ask for it). You'd need to be caring for your wife for 35 hours a week. If you do get carer's allowance, you can also get something called a carer element in your UC, so make sure you tell them if you do get it.

    Finally, if you have children, childcare costs whilst working, or rent, these are all relevant to the amount of UC you can get. This, together with not knowing whether you work, makes it very hard to say how much you'll get, but you're welcome to come back with more detail (your earnings, savings, rent etc).

    There are online calculators that can help too, including on the Scope website.  I hope having answered a few questions, you'll feel clearer about UC. What should happen is that roughly 5 weeks after you first claimed, you'll get a payment. You can ask for a payment before that if you need one to meet essential costs. 

    I don't want to bombard you with information about UC so will leave it there for now, but do ask if you have further questions.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • johnsmith187
    johnsmith187 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    First of all thank you for replying in so much detail, I really appreciate you taking the time. And thank you for all the welcomes I have received.

    I do work and earn around 1500 a month, our rent is 650pcm and no we don't have children. We have never claimed any type of benefit but I do look after her everyday, washing, dressing, giving her home treatments ect 

    So I guess the next step for us would be to attend the appointment where they will ask her to go get a sick note I presume? Can I get the sick note before the appointment then just give it on the day?

    It is definitely going to be a struggle getting my wife to the drs, she does not have a good relationship with them and when I asked for a home visit they said we are out of the catchment area for home visits. But I will talk to her about it and see how she feels. 

    It does feel silly that 3 weeks ago she went for her pip appointment where they noted, she was unable to dress, wash,fed herself unaided among other things and could not walk more than 20 metres but they can't use that to determine she's not fit for work? But I am new to benefits so I guess I've got a lot to learn.

    Thanks again for your advice

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,447 Disability Gamechanger
    As you work then it's very unlikely that she would be able to claim a means tested, this is because of the amount that you earn would be too high. Claiming a means tested benefit they will count your income.

    If your wife worked and paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last 2 tax years then should could claim Contribution based ESA because this isn't means tested.

    You wouldn't be able to claim Carers Allowance for her either because of the amount your earn per month.
  • johnsmith187
    johnsmith187 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    Thank you for the advice, so if its very unlikely I will cancel the claim then. Thanks again for all the help.
  • johnsmith187
    johnsmith187 Member Posts: 58 Courageous

    So I decided to take my wife to the id interview and go from there. I rang the job centre and told them she would need a ground floor appointment and couldn't walk for very far. On the day, we got there to be told her case worker was on the second floor. I advised that my wife can't go up stairs so we where led out the building to the building next door to use their elevator. The security guard who showed us the way kept huffing and puffing because my wife was getting out of breath and struggling to keep up, she's in a lot of pain when walking. My wife can only stand\walk for around five minutes at a time, by this point we had walked from the car to the building, waited to be seen, walked to the building next door, waited for the elevator walked through a couple of long corridors and finally got to a big room. At this point my wife saw a chair and asked if she should sit and rest for a minute, where the guard said you can't sit there its broken. He then walked us to a set of chairs looking visually annoyed. My wife said she needs a few minutes where he just explained the rest of the directions and walked off. By this point my wife is crying from pain and the pure embarrassment. (She has quite a serve social phobia and dealing with people is very hard for her) I calm her down and we continued to the waiting area for her case worker. Her appointment was for four, at half past having been ignored by everyone a man comes over and explains he's running late and won't be able to see my wife today and she'll have to come back next week. I explained briefly my wife's problems and what it took just to get her out of the house, he said he would try and find someone.  We were then seated with another case worker. By this point my wife has completed shut down, she's just silently crying, staring at the wall controlling her breathing (tying not to have a panic attack). It was painfully obvious the lady didn't have much experience dealing with mental health. I explained my concerns about my wife attended meetings and she told me because I work my wife wouldn't need to attend the job centre? She said it was because I had pushed us into a certain group (can't remember the name) in which claimants didn't attend the job centre. Anyway before I could get anymore details my wife starts to get worse..begging to go home ect to which the lady panics and starts to talk a mile a minute and starts firing leaflets at me across the desk (after we got home and my wife was safe and sound I had to have a little chuckle about it, it was just really funny seeing the lady panic and firing these leaflets off trying to get rid of us)  Anyhow, when I got home I looked at our online to do list and my wife has got a new one saying book an interview...I rang up but I plan to go alone and hopefully get more luck talking to them. I'm still no closer to understanding anything really.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,447 Disability Gamechanger
    What an ordeal for your wife to go through.

    DWP don't have very much knowledge on Universal credit and it really does show here with your wifes appointment and what was said to her.

    As i stated previously because you work and UC is an Income related benefit then she won't be entitled to this. Your income will be counted as part of the claims process and therefore she won't be entitled.

    The group the case worker was talking about is UC equivalent of ESA Support Group which is LCWRA BUT for those entitled to this they would first need to fill out a UC50 form and most likely have an assessment before a decision is made to decide whether this group applies to them. Whist waiting for this fit/sick notes would be needed from a GP. As i previously stated because you work then none of this applies to your wife, unfortunately. You have to support her on your income.

    Also as it's your wifes claim then you will not be able to attend that appointment instead of her. She will need to attend with you.

    This is an awful lot of effort for your wife to go through for a benefit you're not entitled to.

    When your wife filled out the online form did she add your income to this? If not then she should have done this. Once DWP process the claim then they'll write to your wife with a decision. She can of course claim Contribution based ESA if she's paid enough NI contributions in the previous 2 tax years. Your income isn't counted for CB benefits.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,447 Disability Gamechanger
    If you pop all of your details into the UC benefits calculator it will help you understand it a little more. These calculators are only correct if all the correct info is imputed into them.

  • johnsmith187
    johnsmith187 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    Thanks for the reply poppy.
    I'm sorry I forgot to say before but this is actually a joint claim for myself and my wife. I have given all my financial details income,rent ect when applying. Also I didn't explain very well the brief conversation I had with the lady...basically..

    Me: I know my wife has to prove she is unable to work but I am worried about how she is going to cope with meetings and assessments before going into the lcwra group.
    Lady: she shouldn't have to have any assessments or have to prove anything.
    Me: oh I thought she would have to go for an assessment.
    Lady: no because you work you are in (group can't remember the name of) and because its a joint claim you've pushed your wife into that group. And (group I can't remember the name of) is a group where no contact with the job centre is needed. 
    Me: should I be getting sick notes for her? 
    Lady: no she won't need them because she's in the (group I can't remember name of).
    Me: OK...sorry I'm abit confused I thought she would need proof that she can't work before she goes into the lcwra group.
    Lady: she would if she was going into that group but shes been put in (group i cant remember the name of) instead and that group doesnt require you to not be able to work.
    Me: oh right, ok and you're sure?
    Lady: let me look at her pip letter (after reading it) no that all looks fine.
    Me: so that's it then, that's the claim completed? And me and my wife don't have to attend any more meeting?
    Lady: well for now yes but they are always changing stuff so I can't promise for the future.
    Me: OK so can you tell me a rough idea of what payment we will be getting.
    Lady: I can tell you roughly what you'll get. You'll get basic allowance 495 plus a carer element 155 plus 520 towards your rent (=1170) then we take 63% of you income (1500 converts to 945) then minus this from the first number ( 1170-945= 225) so this is what you should receive. But its not guaranteed this is just an estimate ect ect

    So poppy, is this not correct then? I really am so confused at the moment. They certainly don't make it easy. And I really do feel for people dealing with this on their own. God knows how they cope.

    Also about the appointment, I rang uc and explained everything and it was his idea that I go to the appointment alone. So that's what I'm doing, if they turn me away then they turn me away.

    Thanks again
  • johnsmith187
    johnsmith187 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    Oh and thank you for including details about Ni contributions, my wife has only done volunteer work for the past five years because of her health. But it was all unpaid before she had to give it up last year.
  • johnsmith187
    johnsmith187 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    Sorry poppy I didn't see your reply about the calculator until now, I just used it and it said I was in entitled 220 per month ( I ticked that my wife was NOT entitled to lcwra as per your advice) but it also didn't include the carer element which I've already received a letter saying we're entitled to it.

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,447 Disability Gamechanger
    Well i'm totally confused and it seems like the person you spoke to is too. Your wife will not automatically be placed in the group LCWRA just because she receives PIP. PIP is completely different. She will be sent a UC50 form and need to produce fit notes, then she'll need to attend a face 2 face assessment (similar to PIP) after this assessment a report will be written out (like PIP) and a recommendation will be made by the assessment provider and this will either be fit for work, LCW or LCWRA. I can't help you anymore but i do wish you both good luck.
  • johnsmith187
    johnsmith187 Member Posts: 58 Courageous
    Thanks for all your help anyway poppy, my payment is due on the 27th so I guess I'll just have to wait and see.


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