Universal Credit/COL/Savings/Help to Save/PIP

Victoriajayne
Victoriajayne Posts: 131
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edited 22 January at 10:10PM in Benefits & tax credits
Hi, am hoping someone may be able to give me advice - apologies in advance for the long-winded backstory.
I'm on Universal Credit and have been since I went off sick following an incident with my former employer, who I subsequently had to take to Employment Tribunal. I'm classed as Limited Capability for Work, and due to a rapidly worsening progressive health condition, I'm being reassessed, and I'm in the process of applying for PIP.
I also have a Help to Save account which is due to pay the final bonus in early February.
I came to a settlement with my former employer prior to the tribunal hearing, and my job ended.
I was paid an amount of compensation and outstanding salary, which I reported as a change in circumstances as it took me over 6K. I then received a call from UC, where I was asked about the money, and told to report my savings every month on the last day of my assessment period, which I then did until my savings dropped below 6K.
Jump forwards to November 23, when I received some inheritance, which took me back over 6K again, so I duly reported it as a change of circumstances.
I noted at this point that the reporting method had changed - now I was being asked to say how much was in each of my bank accounts.
I still had the Autumn Cost Of Living payment sitting in my bank account, so I listed it as a welfare payment as I'm aware it's disregarded indefinitely until it's spent.
All was fine with Decembers UC payment, although my statement was a couple of days late.
Jump forwards again to present, and it's a completely different story with January's UC payment - I reported change of circumstances on the last day of assessment period as before, again listing what was in each of my accounts and the COL payment, but this time the statement did not materialise, nor did any payment. I called them to ask what was going on, then got a message on my journal and an appointment for 7 days later at jobcentre to show proof of capital declared, with my UC suspended until the evidence had been reviewed. This has been provided, but Jan payment is still not sorted.
Ultimately, I think some of the issues are down to the method of reporting capital. I'm trying to be honest and truthful, but seem to be hitting a brick wall.  :(

I've asked several questions in the jobcentre and on my journal about reporting savings and the treatment of benefits as income, but no-one seems to be able to answer!

So, if anyone has experience of this and can answer the following questions, I'd be most grateful!

1. Presumably I have to continue reporting the COL payments as welfare payments until they are spent, so that they don't get lumped in with capital and consequently subject to deductions?
2. Is UC classed as capital or income as soon as it goes into bank account, or is there a period where it's disregarded? If there's a disregard, how should it be reported when completing change of circumstances?
3. GOV website says that Help to Save bonuses will not affect Universal Credit payments, but there does not seem to be a way of reporting it separately?
4. Are PIP payments classed as capital or income as soon as they go into bank account, or is there a period where it's disregarded? Again, if there's a disregard, how should it be reported when completing change of circumstances?

Thanks for reading :smile:
Google is my friend ..... :j

Comments

  • peteuk
    peteuk Posts: 1,206
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    My (basic) understanding was that the COL was disregarded for a year.  However it’s difficult to track a payment of £300 unless you put it in a separate account or pot.

    PIP is disregarded but should your capital/savings increase (either in general bank or savings accounts) then its going to show up. 

    UC is disregarded for a month, as this is what you are due to live off, any underspend is then counted as capital/savings the following month.

    I might be wrong but hopefully someone will be able to advise you fully and confirm or correct my basic understanding.
     

    Proud to have dealt with our debts
    Starting debt 2005 £65.7K.
    Current debt ZERO.
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  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Posts: 8,134
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    2 and 4 income is not capital until the end of the next assessment period (after the one on which you received it).  So the PIP and UC you receive during your current assessment period are not capital, until/unless there's any left unspent at the end of the next assessment period. 

    So for reporting capital at the end of an AP, it's the total of what you have, minus the benefit payments you've received that month/AP, minus any disregarded payments such as the COL.

    (I can't answer 1 and 3 as I've not had to use the section of reporting a change in capital myself.)
  • poppy12345
    poppy12345 Posts: 17,707
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    peteuk said:
    My (basic) understanding was that the COL was disregarded for a year. 



    That's not correct. They are disregarded indefinitely, as the OP correctly stated.

    Sorry can't advise about the rest because my brain is fried tonight.
  • HillStreetBlues
    HillStreetBlues Posts: 3,030
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    edited 22 January at 11:59PM
    How many CoL payments have you had, is it just the £300 one?
    Let's Be Careful Out There
  • Victoriajayne
    Victoriajayne Posts: 131
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    2 and 4 income is not capital until the end of the next assessment period (after the one on which you received it).  So the PIP and UC you receive during your current assessment period are not capital, until/unless there's any left unspent at the end of the next assessment period. 

    So for reporting capital at the end of an AP, it's the total of what you have, minus the benefit payments you've received that month/AP, minus any disregarded payments such as the COL.

    (I can't answer 1 and 3 as I've not had to use the section of reporting a change in capital myself.)
    This is where the problem lies though - previously, it just asked for a total figure, so it was possible to do the calculation you state, and input the result.

    Now when I'm declaring change of circumstance regarding savings, it asks for actual balances of my accounts, then does the calculation itself, however it doesn't take into account what it knows I've already been paid!
    I can't see a category for including the UC payment that's gone in myself so it can be disregarded.
    This month, I've had to provide printed bank statements as evidence showing the actual balances on the last day of the assessment period when I declared the change.
    Google is my friend ..... :j
  • Victoriajayne
    Victoriajayne Posts: 131
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    How many CoL payments have you had, is it just the £300 one?
    I had the £301 COL, but I was below 6k at that point if I remember rightly so didn't need to report change of circumstances.
    Google is my friend ..... :j
  • HillStreetBlues
    HillStreetBlues Posts: 3,030
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    How many CoL payments have you had, is it just the £300 one?
    I had the £301 COL, but I was below 6k at that point if I remember rightly so didn't need to report change of circumstances.
    So you have £601 disregarded in total.
    CoL payments should be the last thing you theoretical spend. So if you have had at least £601 in capital that can be CoL payments.

    Let's Be Careful Out There
  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Posts: 8,134
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    2 and 4 income is not capital until the end of the next assessment period (after the one on which you received it).  So the PIP and UC you receive during your current assessment period are not capital, until/unless there's any left unspent at the end of the next assessment period. 

    So for reporting capital at the end of an AP, it's the total of what you have, minus the benefit payments you've received that month/AP, minus any disregarded payments such as the COL.

    (I can't answer 1 and 3 as I've not had to use the section of reporting a change in capital myself.)
    This is where the problem lies though - previously, it just asked for a total figure, so it was possible to do the calculation you state, and input the result.

    Now when I'm declaring change of circumstance regarding savings, it asks for actual balances of my accounts, then does the calculation itself, however it doesn't take into account what it knows I've already been paid!
    I can't see a category for including the UC payment that's gone in myself so it can be disregarded.
    This month, I've had to provide printed bank statements as evidence showing the actual balances on the last day of the assessment period when I declared the change.
    If it asks for whole totals in bank accounts then I suppose you'd have to put the actual totals, but send a journal message detailing what is capital and what is income.

    As you know, what actually matters for payment purposes is the total capital (or rather, in which £250 band the total falls) on the last day of the assessment period.

    The bank statements will show benefits payments so whomever looks at them can disregard those payments (although you may wish to send a message or add a note to remind them to disregard those amounts), though I don't know whether they'd ask for proof far enough back to show your COL payments haven't been spent so are disregarded.


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