Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

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Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by roberto on Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:26 pm

Can anyone give me any guidance on the procedure of voluntarily withdrawing a Universal Credit claim for 'no reason'? (without finding paid employment) And any potential repercussions for me?

There is very little official documentation I have managed to find, and FOI requests are either incomplete or confusing for me.

I am a single claimant, recieving UC standard allowance only. Currently living with parents and even though I need the UC money to support myself and pay them board and lodgings etc, I am in a relatively fortunate position. (I probably couldn't go very long at all without some money coming in though before I start to really struggle. Parents can hardly support me at all in their position)

Essentially I would just like to know the facts so I can work out all possible avenues that are open for me. At the moment I have no intention of doing this, I would just like to know my options for the future.

Back in the day you could give yourself a break anytime you liked, sign off JSA for a week or two then make a rapid reclaim. Hardly any fuss whatsoever. But now it's this Universal Credit shambles.

When withdrawing your UC claim at any given time during an assessment period, are you still entitled to the money you have incurred until date of withdrawal?

I recieved an advance (loan) at the beginning of my claim which would probably have an outstanding balance at time of any voluntary withdrawal. What would happen regarding this? I know I am still liable to pay it back whatever my circumstances, but would they use the money from my final UC payment to help clear the balance, or pay me it anyway and send me seperate letters ordering me that I have an outstanding balance? It's all really confusing!

And what about making a claim in the future? Do rapid reclaims exist under UC?

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Re: Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by Non Deficere on Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:32 am

This is the most helpful information I can find so far:
https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/12060/#55814
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Re: Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by roberto on Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:37 pm

Thanks for that Non Deficere, unfortunately still unclear though. The DWP don't make it easy do they? Evil or Very Mad

This is pretty much bang on with what I'm querying too;

https://www.reddit.com/r/unitedkingdom/comments/422jcg/can_i_stop_claiming_universal_credit_without_a/

My personal situation re; the advance loan I took makes things a bit more complex though. I'm aware of this below but it doesn't explicitly state whether or not they could take any owed monies from your 'final UC payment'.

Also I'm assuming if you withdraw your claim then claim again with 6 months you would probably be unlikely to get another loan advance, whether you still owed the last one or not?

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-advances

If you move off benefits you will receive a letter telling you how much you owe. The letter will ask you to contact DWP Debt Management Contact Centre to arrange your repayments. It is important that you do not ignore this letter.

If you don’t make payment arrangements, the DWP can recover the amount you owe by either:

   contacting your employer (where you have one) to arrange for deductions to be made from your earnings

   asking an independent debt collection agency to collect this money on our behalf (you should deal directly with the independent debt collector to arrange repayment)


These are the DWP Debt Management details. From what I can tell if they are unsuccesful they can pass it over to a private debt collection agency.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-debt-management-performance-data/dwp-debt-management-customer-service-standards

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Re: Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by Non Deficere on Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:29 pm

roberto wrote:Thanks for that Non Deficere, unfortunately still unclear though. The DWP don't make it easy do they? Evil or Very Mad

This is pretty much bang on with what I'm querying too;

https://www.reddit.com/r/unitedkingdom/comments/422jcg/can_i_stop_claiming_universal_credit_without_a/

My personal situation re; the advance loan I took makes things a bit more complex though. I'm aware of this below but it doesn't explicitly state whether or not they could take any owed monies from your 'final UC payment'.

Also I'm assuming if you withdraw your claim then claim again with 6 months you would probably be unlikely to get another loan advance, whether you still owed the last one or not?

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/universal-credit-advances

If you move off benefits you will receive a letter telling you how much you owe. The letter will ask you to contact DWP Debt Management Contact Centre to arrange your repayments. It is important that you do not ignore this letter.

If you don’t make payment arrangements, the DWP can recover the amount you owe by either:

   contacting your employer (where you have one) to arrange for deductions to be made from your earnings

   asking an independent debt collection agency to collect this money on our behalf (you should deal directly with the independent debt collector to arrange repayment)


These are the DWP Debt Management details. From what I can tell if they are unsuccesful they can pass it over to a private debt collection agency.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-debt-management-performance-data/dwp-debt-management-customer-service-standards

I would expect any overpayment to be recovered.

In my view, I would stay on UC to the end of the assessment period and then close you claim after receiving you initial award if necessary.
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Re: Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by roberto on Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:22 pm

Yeah, depending on how things play out with my work coach I am going to see if I can manage completing two assessment periods. But if the useless courses or 'voluntary' work experience bullshit crops up this could be cut short depending on how much of their bullshit I can tolerate.

Apparently if it has been 6 months or less since your last UC payment 1) the application will be a lot quicker online and 2) your assessment period and payment date should remain the same.

Useful when considering when to reclaim

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/claiming/reapply-for-universal-credit/

The standard monthly allowance for UC aged 25+ is £317.82

How can I find out the daily rate when the month is either 30 or 31 days long? (and 28 for Feb on a non-leap year)

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Re: Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by Non Deficere on Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:16 pm

The assessment period for Universal Credit is one month. Your entitlement to Universal Credit depends on your circumstances and your income in each complete assessment period. ... You will then receive the next payments of Universal Credit after each subsequent assessment period on the same date of the month.

Universal credit assessment period inflexibility

R (Woods and Barrett) v SSWP CO/1552/2018

Permission to apply for judicial review was granted in this matter on 5 July 2018 and the claim has been joined with a similar case being brought by Leigh Day solicitors.  The hearing will take place over 28 and 29 November 2018.
http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/universal-credit-assessment-period-inflexibility
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Re: Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by roberto on Wed Oct 10, 2018 6:43 pm

So, lets assume an assessment period of June 4th to July 3rd
(payment should be recieved 7 days later on the 10th of every month)


Assume the circumstances are no income, no sanctions and you just get the standard allowance for 25+

If you did want to voluntarily close your claim and ensure you'd still be paid for an assessment period, would you advise to wait until the payment day (July 10th)?  or would doing it on the first day of the next assessment period be okay? (July 4th)

I guess that waiting until the payment day would probably be the safest course of action, especially in my circumstance of having a unpaid advance loan, because they could just clear the outstanding balance of the loan with the final payment.

What I'm really eager to know is if UC still has the same policy that JSA used to have. E.g there would typically be 14 days between signing on days on a fortnightly JCP visit, and if you closed your claim after 10 days, you would recieve 10 days worth of money as your final payment.

If for example I decided to close my UC claim after 10 days of an assessment period, would I still get 10 days worth of money?

Whether or not I would actually GET that money (because of the outstanding advance loan) is a different matter, but it would something worth knowing.

It's really confusing and not clear because lets face it, voluntarily closing your UC claim is not something there seems to be much official guidance for.

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Re: Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by Non Deficere on Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:18 am

roberto wrote:So, lets assume an assessment period of June 4th to July 3rd
(payment should be recieved 7 days later on the 10th of every month)


Assume the circumstances are no income, no sanctions and you just get the standard allowance for 25+

If you did want to voluntarily close your claim and ensure you'd still be paid for an assessment period, would you advise to wait until the payment day (July 10th)?  or would doing it on the first day of the next assessment period be okay? (July 4th)

I guess that waiting until the payment day would probably be the safest course of action, especially in my circumstance of having a unpaid advance loan, because they could just clear the outstanding balance of the loan with the final payment.

What I'm really eager to know is if UC still has the same policy that JSA used to have. E.g there would typically be 14 days between signing on days on a fortnightly JCP visit, and if you closed your claim after 10 days, you would recieve 10 days worth of money as your final payment.

If for example I decided to close my UC claim after 10 days of an assessment period, would I still get 10 days worth of money?

Whether or not I would actually GET that money (because of the outstanding advance loan) is a different matter, but it would something worth knowing.

It's really confusing and not clear because lets face it, voluntarily closing your UC claim is not something there seems to be much official guidance for.


Hi roberto

I had no intention in getting involved with UC advice , so I am struggling too!

The best answer I can find so far:



Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears. What happens if my circumstances change part way through the month?

This month is called an ‘assessment period’. Universal Credit payments are calculated based on the claimant’s circumstances at the end of each assessment period. Where there is a change of circumstances part way through an assessment period, the claimant’s next payment reflects their new circumstances. The change is not applied ‘pro-rata’ and can result in winners and losers.


https://www.newcastle.gov.uk/benefits-and-council-tax/welfare-rights-and-money-advice/universal-credit-more-detailed-guide


My earlier advice still stands.
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Re: Voluntarily withdrawing a UC claim?

Post by roberto on Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:17 pm

Thankyou Non Deficere, well if I do close my claim voluntarily and start a new one within 6 months I will report what actually happens because at the moment there is no public record (online forums, blogs, fois) etc of anyone doing so thus far.

RE; the pro-rata thing - I think that is mainly talking about any possible wages coming in etc and not simply just closing your claim. Hope I'm not reading it wrong  Neutral

If you had a gun to my head, this is what I think probably happens... assuming no income, no sanctions etc

CLOSING CLAIM VOLUNTARILY (10 days into an assessment period)
you recieve 10 days worth of money on your next normal payment date

I just can't see our good friends at the DWP going "screw it, no pro-rata, roberto gets a full months worth of money". Conversley I can't see them not paying you anything at all; although this would be less surprising. But still unlikely i think

RECLAIMING UC WITHIN 6 MONTHS

Now this is where I don't have a clue. Apparently reclaiming within 6 months would usually see you on the same assessment period as before. Although there is no reference specifically to voluntary claim withdrawers

Reclaims
If a claimant with no current Universal Credit entitlement re-qualifies (for example due to a decrease in their earnings or because of a change in circumstances occurring within 6 months of their previous Universal Credit entitlement ending) they will not go through the full new claim process.  In these circumstances they would make a new Universal Credit claim and will only:

* provide updated information (as the department would already hold their personal details for their previous Universal Credit award)  
* retain their previous Universal Credit assessment period and be paid on the same date each month as per their previous award  
* agree a Claimant Commitment
* in the majority of cases receive a Universal Credit payment for the whole of the assessment period in which they made their new claim (see 'Previous employment ends' below)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/317043/response/783603/attach/3/617%20Universal%20Credit%20Reawards%20rapid%20reclaims%20run%20ons%20Policy.pdf

Again though, I'm not sure what to think of this.

Imagine you left it long enough to reclaim so it wasn't the same assessment period as your final one. Could it really be the case that making a reclaim a few days before your assessment period ends, and bam....almost a week later you get a full months worth of money? Neutral

I know one of the main ideas of UC is so that people don't have to keep closing and reclaiming like on JSA, but there should surely be some guidance on the matter? Will keep you updated on my search for this knowledge!

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