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Registered blind and rejectedDLA question

huney
huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
edited July 7 in PIP, DLA, and AA
Hello I have a couple of questions, one is about DLA and one is about challenging overpayment decisions. DLA is the most important one but I need to give some background into the other for it to make sense. 
My son is 3 nearly 4 and is registered blind. I gave up work to care for him and moved from tax credits claim to universal credit, my husband is a self employed electrician but we still qualified for some extra help. 
When I signed up for uc we got an extra disabled child element for my son being registered blind and my work coach asked if I care for him 35 hours a week. I said I did and then I started getting a carer element too.
A few month ago I had a message on my journal saying I had been overpaid and wasn’t entitled to disabled child element. I explained I was because my son being blind and they sent it to a decision maker who agreed with me. I then got another letter saying I had been overpaid carer element and wasn’t entitled to it because I my son didn’t get DLA. I didn’t know there was a separate benefit he may be entitled to - so that’s what prompted my to apply for DLA. 
We got our decision letter yesterday and he has been rejected for DLA and says he has no additional care needs of a child his age and no mobility needs. 

My questions are:

Is this correct? Is he only entitled to the disabled child element of uc and not DLA? 
The carer element they gave me incorrectly, should I be having to pay this back? It was their fault not mine.
Is there any way other than getting DLA and then carer element for them to not pressure me back to work? I’m not ready to leave him yet but uc are saying I have to work 16 hours because he is 3 and they don’t accept I am a carer 

Comments

  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,983 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 4
    If he is registered blind you are entitled to the higher rate disabled child addition in UC.

    You are not entitled to the carer element of UC unless he gets PIP middle or high rate care.

    If you have incorrectly been paid carer element it is recoverable by DWP regardless of the reason.

    The decision to refuse DLA should be challenged. Request a Mandatory Reconsideration, see 
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/problems-with-benefits-and-tax-credits/challenging-a-benefit-decision/challenging-a-dwp-benefit-decision-on-or-after-28-october-2013/challenging-a-benefit-or-tax-credit-decision-asking-for-a-reconsideration/

    See if you can get Support with this https://advicelocal.uk/

    To qualify for DLA you need to demonstrate that 
    • they need a lot more care, attention or supervision than a child of the same age who isn't disabled, and/or
    • they have difficulty walking or getting around outdoors in unfamiliar places, compared to a child of the same age who isn't disabled
    More information here
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/disability-living-allowance/before-you-claim-dla/check-if-you-can-get-dla/
    and
    https://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/Benefits_for_Children_2020.docx
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,445 Disability Gamechanger
    I rather think I’d be instantly challenging the recovery of the Carers Element.

    Theoretically all UC overpayments are recoverable. However, all such absolutes have to have the opportunity to exercise the discretion to not recover and this seems to me to absolutely be one of those instances where consideration of exercising the discretion to not recover is the minimum to expect. 

    At the point at which the overpayment arises you don’t know what DLA is; you don’t make a claim for DLA and yet your work coach brings up the issue of caring. By implication they must therefore have known you had a disabled child. You are, as case law has long since established, entitled to rely upon the evidence of expert professionals and yet your work coach fails to identify potential entitlement to DLA; recommends the Carers Element and fails to make the most basic connecting between the two. 

    I’m hearing about a scenario in which you did not and could not have caused the overpayment and nor could you have known that you were being overpaid. I’m struggling to think of a better UC overpayment to challenge i.e. one where you are demonstrably blameless in every respect. I would lodge an immediate letter before action. Here’s a CPAG example. 


    I’d recommend getting representation as DWP will fight this. However, a rep can escalate via local routes and that will be taken seriously in most cases. You’re aiming for a total write off.

    As regards the DLA I can’t in all conscience recommend RNIB. It’s an area they are generic and weak on in my personal view. A couple of things to remember.

    1 - whilst registration helps ultimately it’s a voluntary thing and says nothing about functional vision. 

    2 - a DLA claim is harder the younger the child but especially so for sight impairment. Expect to need to go all the way to appeal as DWP have literally no clue when it comes to sensory impairment. 

    Would be useful to know the nature of the health condition in order to comment further.
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    Thank you both so much for the information. I found a charity on Facebook that have said they will help me argue the carer overpayment, apparently they have been successful before with similar ones relating to carer element. 
    Challenging and reconsiderations and appeals all sound very hard and expensive just to secure DLA. Is there no other way? I don’t want to take on the dwp in court!!  
    Mikehughescq you asked about my son’s condition, sorry if this is too much information as people tend to shut down or get squeamish on the topic of eyes, but my son was very premature and has a detached retina in one eye and only light perception in the other. 
    This may be where I went wrong with the forms because it says basically as he has vision in one eye they don’t believe he has higher care needs. But he doesn’t have vision in one eye he can see lights and shadow.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,983 Disability Gamechanger
    huney said: Challenging and reconsiderations and appeals all sound very hard and expensive just to secure DLA. Is there no other way? I don’t want to take on the dwp in court!!  
    It doesn't cost you anything financially. Seek support as advised to help you navigate the process and construct your arguments. Do not use any organisation that says it will charge you for supporting you. Going to a tribunal, if necessary, is all part of a normal process.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,983 Disability Gamechanger
    I rather think I’d be instantly challenging the recovery of the Carers Element.

    Theoretically all UC overpayments are recoverable. However, all such absolutes have to have the opportunity to exercise the discretion to not recover and this seems to me to absolutely be one of those instances where consideration of exercising the discretion to not recover is the minimum to expect. 
    I understand that even though the law permits it there have been almost no instances in which DWP have exercised their discretion not to recover UC overpayments (despite all the reassurances given by the government that they would use it).

    Nonetheless I agree it is worth challenging. 
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    calcotti said:
    huney said: Challenging and reconsiderations and appeals all sound very hard and expensive just to secure DLA. Is there no other way? I don’t want to take on the dwp in court!!  
    It doesn't cost you anything financially. Seek support as advised to help you navigate the process and construct your arguments. Do not use any organisation that says it will charge you for supporting you. Going to a tribunal, if necessary, is all part of a normal process.
    Do you know where I look for this? The people helping me with the overpayment said they can’t help me with DLA. 
    Also do you know much about universal credit and work search? I read something about light touch and wondered if I can use that to not have to work search while this gets sorted?  I want to work but won’t be until my son starts school. It is annoying as on tax credits because my husband works I didn’t have to
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    calcotti said:
    I rather think I’d be instantly challenging the recovery of the Carers Element.

    Theoretically all UC overpayments are recoverable. However, all such absolutes have to have the opportunity to exercise the discretion to not recover and this seems to me to absolutely be one of those instances where consideration of exercising the discretion to not recover is the minimum to expect. 
    I understand that even though the law permits it there have been almost no instances in which DWP have exercised their discretion not to recover UC overpayments (despite all the reassurances given by the government that they would use it).

    Nonetheless I agree it is worth challenging. 
    Curious if there are stats for that? I want to know what my chances are 
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,983 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 5
    huney said:
    calcotti said:
    huney said: Challenging and reconsiderations and appeals all sound very hard and expensive just to secure DLA. Is there no other way? I don’t want to take on the dwp in court!!  
    It doesn't cost you anything financially. Seek support as advised to help you navigate the process and construct your arguments. Do not use any organisation that says it will charge you for supporting you. Going to a tribunal, if necessary, is all part of a normal process.
    Do you know where I look for this? The people helping me with the overpayment said they can’t help me with DLA. 
    Also do you know much about universal credit and work search? I read something about light touch and wondered if I can use that to not have to work search while this gets sorted?  I want to work but won’t be until my son starts school. It is annoying as on tax credits because my husband works I didn’t have to
    ‘Light touch’ applies to people who are already earning and working above a threshold.

    Your work coach has discretion to amend your hours of work search but you cannot make them do this. To get the work search requirement removed you need to be recognised as a carer which means successfully claiming a DLA for your son.

    Use the link I provided earlier https://advicelocal.uk/ to see if you can find an agency that can help you with challenging the decision. 
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    edited June 5
    I thought on a joint claim a partner earning can also put me on light touch, it sounds like my only option to be able to stay home is him to get DLA so they see I am a carer?
    I missed that link in your first message thanks calcotti. It had quite a lot of results and many of them are law firms, is there some that are better than others? Do I need a lawyer law firm one or is something like the last one with benefit appeals ok? There are carer centres too but it sounds like I’m not technically a carer unless he gets DLA?
    Do I just contact them all and see who can help? I feel more overwhelmed now. It would be easier if it just had one result lol 


  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    edited June 5
    I edited to delete the list as I realise it may give my location too well.
    The results vary from carer places which I don’t think I’d be eligible for, to things run by the council and then there’s a citizen advice. The benefit appeal place is run by a council near me is it weird for the council to help appeal against dwp? Would citizens advice or the law places be better? 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,445 Disability Gamechanger
    calcotti said:
    I rather think I’d be instantly challenging the recovery of the Carers Element.

    Theoretically all UC overpayments are recoverable. However, all such absolutes have to have the opportunity to exercise the discretion to not recover and this seems to me to absolutely be one of those instances where consideration of exercising the discretion to not recover is the minimum to expect. 
    I understand that even though the law permits it there have been almost no instances in which DWP have exercised their discretion not to recover UC overpayments (despite all the reassurances given by the government that they would use it).

    Nonetheless I agree it is worth challenging. 
    A game changer.

    https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/dwp-accepts-it-has-discretion-to-waive-recoverable-hardship-payment-debts-after-it-conceding-judicial-review
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,983 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 5
    huney said:
    I thought on a joint claim a partner earning can also put me on light touch, it sounds like my only option to be able to stay home is him to get DLA so they see I am a carer?
    That is correct, if you have a partner then whether or not you are light touch will be determined by joint earnings. 
    huney said:
     It had quite a lot of results and many of them are law firms, 
    You don’t need a lawyer. You want a local Citizens Advice or other charity offering welfare benefits support. 

    You don’t have to have support. You can do it yourself but I sense that you would be happier with support.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,983 Disability Gamechanger
    calcotti said:
    I rather think I’d be instantly challenging the recovery of the Carers Element.

    Theoretically all UC overpayments are recoverable. However, all such absolutes have to have the opportunity to exercise the discretion to not recover and this seems to me to absolutely be one of those instances where consideration of exercising the discretion to not recover is the minimum to expect. 
    I understand that even though the law permits it there have been almost no instances in which DWP have exercised their discretion not to recover UC overpayments (despite all the reassurances given by the government that they would use it).

    Nonetheless I agree it is worth challenging. 
    A game changer.

    https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/dwp-accepts-it-has-discretion-to-waive-recoverable-hardship-payment-debts-after-it-conceding-judicial-review
    That case seems to refer specifically to recoverable hardship payments. Whether it could result in a more balanced approach to recovering UC debt, as originally promised, remains to be seen.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,445 Disability Gamechanger
    The decision is a game changer all round as far as the WR world is concerned. 

    Outside of that I am aware of considerable work being done to sort out UC debt but it’s a big task.
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    I have sent a mandatory reconsideration for dla , I did it by myself so not sure of my chances there. 
    I emailed a welfare rights but they said they didn’t have resources to help me, which isn’t a surprise as things are pretty bad everywhere I guess.

    Does anyone know about sanctions on UC? I had a message that I missed a work search meeting and that I may be sanctioned. Will this stop all my money?
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 5,974

    Scope community team

    Many people submit MRs without expert advice @huney. What did you include in your MR? 

    Was it a work search review? According to the Understanding Universal Credit website:
    If you fail to do what you have agreed in your Claimant Commitment without good reason, your Universal Credit payments may be reduced for a set period. This is known as a sanction.

    If you are asked to attend a work search review but don’t attend and don’t have a good reason why, you will receive a sanction until you arrange and attend another work search review.

    There are different levels of sanctions and they’re decided based on the reason for the sanction. If you have had previous sanctions, this may mean new sanctions will be for a longer period.

    If you claim Universal Credit as a couple and only one of you doesn’t meet their responsibilities, you may receive a sanction to your joint payment.

    Read more about sanctions and the debts and deductions that can be taken from Universal Credit payments.

    Have you rearranged the meeting?

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  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    I explained the extra help my son needs on a daily basis and why I disagree with their report. I hope they will listen but won’t hold my breath it seems many don’t get awarded. It seems dla is really hard to get for a child which is sad.

    With UC they messaged in the morning giving me an appointment at 1pm that same day but I didn’t go on the journal until that evening, am I meant to check it all day every day in case they do an appointment? 
    She said she doesn’t have any appointments now until 1st July so does that mean I will be sanctioned until then? What do we do for money if they take all of our uc? 
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    To my great surprise we’ve been successful with our mandatory reconsideration and awarded low rate daily living. It says he needs to be 5 to be considered for mobility so do I just apply again when he turns 5? 
    Does this change my UC at all?
  • calcotti
    calcotti Member Posts: 2,983 Disability Gamechanger
    edited June 30
    huney said:
    To my great surprise we’ve been successful with our mandatory reconsideration and awarded low rate daily living. It says he needs to be 5 to be considered for mobility so do I just apply again when he turns 5? 
    Does this change my UC at all?
    As you already get the disabled child element on the grounds of blindness the low rate care DLA award will make no difference to your UC award.

    You can ask for DLA to be reassessed when he is 5, it isn’t a completely new application (although the process after you request the reassessment is essentially the same).
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,213 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi there 

    Great news you don't reapply just report a change I think not 109% sure with dla 

    How long is the award for will he be 5 before it ends 

    Dla isn't means tested if it's like pip so shouldn't affect uc but you may find there are other things you can claim and I'm sure other members with children on dla can help more 
    Here to help with my experience in hunan resources and employment rights 
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,074

    Scope community team

    Hello @huney,
    It's not my place to say whether an award is appropriate, and you know your child or their level of care needs, but I wanted to mention a few things:
    Mobility: while you can't be considered for lower mobility until age 5, there is the higher rate mobility award which you can claim from age 3. 

    Care component:
     there are three levels of care component and I've copied a description of each from Citizen's Advice below:
    "You’ll get the higher rate of £89.60 if your child either:
    • needs care or supervision frequently throughout both the day and night, or
    • has been diagnosed as terminally ill and is not expected to live more than 6 months

    If your child is terminally ill but their doctor expects them to live more than 6 months, you should talk to an adviser.

    You’ll get the middle rate of £60.00 if your child either:

    • needs care or supervision throughout either the day or the night, or
    • gets renal dialysis twice or more a week
    You’ll get the lower rate of £23.70 if your child needs extra care throughout some of the day (for at least an hour) but not at night."

    If you're unhappy with your decision, you can still challenge it further by taking it to tribunal. It's worth adding that the lower rate DLA care component will not allow you to claim the carer element of UC so your work conditions will still apply.
    I know you mentioned Welfare Rights were unable to help with your MR, but it may be worth trying to get in touch with them now it's progressed to see if they can help with tribunal if that's the route you choose. 
    Community Manager
    Scope

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  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    edited July 1
    Just an hour of care feels insulting really, reading those I do think higher or middle rate is more applicable. 
    Is there anyone else I could talk it through with? I tried welfare rights for the mr but they said they were too busy so don’t think they can help with this. 
    I don’t want to say exactly but I’m around the Manchester area. 
    The link above gives so many results and I don’t know what next is best if not welfare right 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,445 Disability Gamechanger
    Welfare rights services don’t refuse to do MRs because they’re busy (although they’ll likely be way over capacity at present and for the foreseeable future). More likely they refuse because an MR is a straightforward thing to which not much value can be added by a WRO and the low success rate often doesn’t justify the amount of effort required to turn around the more obvious screw ups when going to appeal would solve the issue. Now you’re past MR and are just seeking one off advice before deciding whether to appeal or not then no agency is going to refuse you one off advice. 

    In the GM area you have local authority welfare rights in Tameside, Oldham, Stockport, Salford, Trafford and Bolton. In the other areas you have CitA or other options such as WR based in Carers Centres (Wigan and Leigh). You also of course have Greater Manchester Law Centre. 
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    Thank you I managed to find someone online to help, they’re not Manchester based but work across the U.K. which is good!!
    Does it sound reasonable to go for a higher rate? I don’t want to seem greedy and not sure whether I’m pushing my luck 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,445 Disability Gamechanger
    Oh dear. That sounds ominous. I’m hoping it’s not one of the eye charities. They take a generic approach of “if you have eye condition x then you will have y symptoms and they will cause a issues”. It’s prescriptive and unhelpful. I’m also hoping you’re not paying for a service as all the GM services are free and paying us unnecessary when there’s nothing which guarantees any quality difference. 

    Whether you go for higher rate DLA care is not a matter of what’s reasonable. It’s a matter of whether he has day and night time needs which meet the criteria. That will be a matter of fact rather than opinion.
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    I think middle may be what I am hoping for. He is awake through the night (about 5-6 times a night and takes roughly 30 minutes to get back to sleep as he still can’t self settle) but I don’t know how much is related to his eye sight and how much is personality. His older siblings were a lot more independent at his age, they slept through the night and if they woke they could find their own cup/teddy/blanket  and would turn on their night light music and go back off but he won’t. I also worry when he wakes in the night now he’s in a bed rather than a cot that he’ll walk around and get hurt but I’m not sure how much this counts as care, it’s just what you do for your kids when they can’t sleep and you worry about them.
    Can I appeal and just go for middle? 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,445 Disability Gamechanger
    Start by reading the rules for middle rate care and higher rate care.
  • huney
    huney Member Posts: 20 Listener
    It feels a bit like you are hinting you think low is correct and I shouldn’t appeal, is that right? Do you know the best place to find the rules for middle and higher? I can find detailed descriptors as to what counts for PIP but not DLA. 
    I’m so fed up of it all tbh, especially with all the overpayments and trouble I’m having with uc. Everything is such a mess and every time I try and fix it I just get more confused and more problems happen
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 7,445 Disability Gamechanger
    No, I’m not one for hinting anything. I’m saying that you don’t debate what rate of DLA care as though it were a lottery or a guessing game. You get to know the rules and make decisions based on that. All that said, I would be looking to make a case for middle rate care because 5/6 times per night is not extraordinary for a 4 year old.

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