Universal Credit
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Universal credit for disabled students

AprilApril Member Posts: 100 Courageous
edited June 2020 in Universal Credit
Hi everyone, I am still having problems claiming Universal Credit for my disabled daughter.
I know there is a catch 22 situation here, because UC is definitely payable to disabled students but to get it they need a work capability assessment. But, Universal Credit don't do the assessments.
 So, I have taken advice, and decided to apply for New Style ESA for her (which I know she isn't entitled to) simply to get the Work Assessment, and then I was going to go back to Universal Credit with the assessment in hand. So far so good. I applied online and waited...
But, this morning she got a letter turning her down for ESA because she hasn't paid any national insurance contributions. So no assessment?! What do we do now? I thought they did the assessment first before making any decision. That's what I was banking on. But they turned her down after my initial application.
Please can someone give me advice. How on earth do I get this work capability assessment for her so that she can claim Universal Credit. There is a lot of money out there waiting to be claimed but so many obstacles in the way!

Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,122 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @April Welcome to the community.

    my knowledge to trigger an assessment on UC you need to send in fit notes stating unfit for work, once she has been signed off as unfit for work for a few months (not sure of exact time) they will send out the UC50 form to complete then arrange an assessment.

    ESA is payable dependant on NI contributions which is why she will have been turned down if no earnings.

    Have you spoken to CAB or welfare rights or maybe where she is studying as they should have a disability representative
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,937 Disability Gamechanger
    There is indeed a catch 22. There are some possible solutions. See https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/Forums/viewthread/11927/P30/. Realistically you are going to need formal advice not forum advice.
  • SarahUCESarahUCE Member Posts: 20 Pioneering
    edited June 2020
    I’d like to very politely disagree with @mikehughescq here, forum advice is more than adequate for this situation, specialist advice isn’t needed. 

    The process was changed and is actually very simple now (assuming you are fortunate enough to have a work coach and case manager that know what they’re doing).

    @April, your daughter can apply for UC. This catch-22 has been acknowledged and the work coach and case manager can tick for there being an exception when verifying the claim, allowing disabled students to be assessed. 
    When she applies to UC she needs to do so with a fit note from her GP, be sure to report her being unfit for work as part of the application. Make it very clear with a post in her journal after applying that she has an exception, receives PIP/DLA and her claim should remain open while she awaits a WCA. 

    Interestingly her ESA should remain open as a credits-only claim. Did the letter say anything about that? 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,937 Disability Gamechanger
    “Popcorn”.
  • SarahUCESarahUCE Member Posts: 20 Pioneering
    edited June 2020
    I just realised I’d misread the intent/meaning in your comment @mikehughescq and have adjusted mine. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,937 Disability Gamechanger
    Indeed. Unfortunately the number of work coaches and case managers brought in from other jurisdictions makes that fairly remote in my view but... we shall see.
  • SarahUCESarahUCE Member Posts: 20 Pioneering
    Indeed. Unfortunately the number of work coaches and case managers brought in from other jurisdictions makes that fairly remote in my view but... we shall see.
    Don’t get me started on that! I spoke to them recently about a client’s missing child element after joining claims with a partner and the lady replied “I don’t even know what that is, I’ve just moved over from child maintenance service”. I suppose at least she was honest, which is better than the ones who claim they know what they’re doing while making error after error and asserting they’re correct. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,937 Disability Gamechanger
    Ooh, you who I think you might be? 

    Good news for this place if I’m right. 
  • AprilApril Member Posts: 100 Courageous
    @SarahUCE, thank you so much for your help.
    Are you saying that the catch 22 has been acknowledged by the government as being unfair, and they are now allowing a WCA for Universal credit for disabled students? In which case, my daughter won't need to try to get a WCA via ESA? (She's been given an indefinite fit note by her GP but I haven't been asked for that yet.)
    By the way, the ESA letter was a bit confusing. It said that they can't pay my daughter ESA because she hasn't paid NI contributions, but it also mentions a potential need for a work focus interview. In any case, perhaps I should forget applying for that now and concentrate on Universal credit. 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,924

    Scope community team

    Hi @April. That's correct, the system is supposed to mean you can now apply for UC as a disabled student waiting for a work capability assessment. However, it largely depends on them actioning the claim properly. We've definitely seen cases where people are still refused despite the change and having to appeal.

    With regards to ESA, it is likely they've set up a credits-only claim for her so will eventually ask her to have an assessment. However there's nothing stopping you claiming for UC too. The complication might come if she is offered a WCA on both benefits. It would be worth you getting in touch with ESA to check whether a credits-only claim has indeed been set up. 

    Good luck and please let us know how you get on. 
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

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  • quinqquinq Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Hi @April. That's correct, the system is supposed to mean you can now apply for UC as a disabled student waiting for a work capability assessment. However, it largely depends on them actioning the claim properly. We've definitely seen cases where people are still refused despite the change and having to appeal.
    Do you know how this works if the person was on UC beforehand and is still waiting on a WCA? 

    and/or do you have anything on paper that might convince the UC folks to not close a claim while waiting for WCA? The last I can find is this from 2019 which says a claim should be closed (or denied) if the person is waiting for WCA: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2019-0980/122_Students_Eligibility_conditionality_and_student_income_v16.0.pdf

    "Where a disabled claimant is a student at the time of claiming or becomes a student during the Universal Credit claim and is not receiving one of the qualifying benefits or the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) process has not been completed; the type of course they are doing will determine if they have entitlement to Universal Credit." 
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