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Impossible to answer question in To-Do List

fade2grayfade2gray Member Posts: 8 Listener
edited May 2019 in Universal Credit
After being dumped from ESA/WRA onto UC, I found the process a bit daunting and took several days to complete the claim. However, I did manage to get my claim backdated and received my first payment (less deduction for a necessary advance) on Fri 3rd May. Simultaneously, two identical entries appeared in my To-Do List -

"Confirm previous earnings from work [Due by Friday 17 May 2019]"

When the entry is clicked on, the first question asked is -

"In the 12 months before you claimed Universal Credit, were there any gaps in your employment? [This doesn't include paid holidays, maternity or paternity leave.]"

The only option to answer is yes or no, but if I answer either way I will be inferring that I had been working during the twelve months before my claim, which I wasn't

I have been arguing this point in my journal, but I keep being told to answer "no". This is making me feel extremely anxious that I'm being forced into 'admitting' something that isn't true, and if I can't resolve this by the 17th might be subject to sanctions.

Any advice please?

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI,

    There were no gaps because you weren't working, you were claiming ESA in the WRAG. Your ESA WRAG will be honoured and you'll be placed into the relevant group for UC, which is LCW. I would put a note on your journal telling them you were in this group for ESA. It can take a while for your details to be transferred to UC and for them to place you into this group.

    As you have LCW your claimant commitment should reflect this, which will be the work preparation requirement group. you will be expected to prepare for a move into work, additional work, or better paid work. Actions to get ready for work could include attending training courses, preparing a CV or taking part in the Work Programme.

    You will not be required to take steps to apply for or take up work as a condition of your claim.


    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • fade2grayfade2gray Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited May 2019
    Hi, thanks for the reply.

    The question seems poorly worded and might benefit from an initial question asking something along the lines of, "Were you employed in the twelve months before your claim?".

    But, I should answer 'no', to any gaps in employment, even though I wasn't employed?

    Also, I failed to mention that I have submitted fit notes, supporting my original condition, exempting me from looking for work or attending work-related interviews, will that make any difference regarding LCW?

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes, it confuses almost everyone but you should still answer no. Then maybe put a note on your journal.

    You shouldn't need to submit any fit notes because you already have LCW but you may need to send them until they update your claim and place in the LCW group, this can take a few weeks because the details need to be sent from ESA.

    I'm afraid the fit notes will not exclude you from work related activity, if you're unable to do what is asked of you then you should speak to your work coach but LCW means you are expected to prepare for work in the future. Sanctions are possible if you don't do what's expected in your journal.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • fade2grayfade2gray Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Thanks for the explanations. :)
  • Jean EveleighJean Eveleigh Member Posts: 103 Pioneering
    I would say yes there was a gap of 12 months as I was unemployed and claiming disability related benefits
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,946 Scope community team
    Hi @fade2gray
    I've spoken to a number of benefit advisors and DWP representatives about this particular question, it is very poorly worded and causes no amount of confusion. 
    Unfortunately I have to disagree with @poppy123456. You should actually put 'yes', there have been gaps, it was one long gap as you weren't working. Those that are unemployed, disabled or have been job seekers for the full 12 months prior would put yes. 

    However, if you've already submitted your answer please don't worry. It is used only to determine whether the benefit cap should apply or if you'll be in the 'grace period'. The majority of people answer this question incorrectly, and as you were advised on your journal to answer 'no' it won't cause you any problems. 
    As long as you answered the following questions regarding how much you earned in the previous 12 months correctly, that is the most important section. 


    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
  • fade2grayfade2gray Member Posts: 8 Listener

    I sent another message to my work coach regarding the issue, who sent me this reply -

    If you answered 'no' to the question have you been employed in the past 12 months prior to your claim, then answering 'no' to the question were there any gaps in your employment does not infer you were in employment.
    But, I have come to the same conclusion and reckon I should answer 'yes' as you say, here goes nothing.

    Thanks.
  • ihatecoronaihatecorona Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hello, I am also stuck on this question but with a different problem.

    If I answer yes to the question "did you earn less than £430 in any of the previous 12 months", then it asks me to confirm that I "earnt less than £430 a month", which is not true. Some months would have been higher, the average would have been higher. But it is also true that I did not earn more than £430 in every month.

    Again with this impossible question!?!
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,946 Scope community team
    Hello @ihatecorona and a warm welcome to the community. It's a very badly worded question isn't it?

    This question is to determine whether you should fall into the grace period of the benefit cap. For the grace period to apply, you need to have earned over the threshold every month, for the last 12 months. Ironically, the £430 figure is actually irrelevant as you need to have earned more than this for the grace period. 

    If there were any months you earned less than £430 a month, you would put "yes" and then confirm that you "earned less than £430 a month". I completely understand your argument that the average would have been higher than £430, but unlike some legacy benefits, UC work on a month-to-month basis and earnings in an individual month are what matters, rather than yearly or monthly average.
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
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