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    • fooddestroyer
    • By fooddestroyer 10th Jan 19, 12:50 PM
    • 33Posts
    • 3Thanks
    fooddestroyer
    Universal Credit: SYSTEMATIC INJUSTICE
    • #1
    • 10th Jan 19, 12:50 PM
    Universal Credit: SYSTEMATIC INJUSTICE 10th Jan 19 at 12:50 PM
    My wife and I were placed on UC at the end of Oct 2018 after I became ill. I am a cross-border worker: I was working just over the border in Ireland, whilst living in N.Ireland, U.K.

    Initially, as someone who paid taxes in Ireland I rightfully made a claim for Illness Benefit in the Irish system; my Doctor's medical cert stated that I'd be unfit for work for 12 weeks. I also called into my local Jobs and Benefits office in N.Ireland and was transparent about my situation. They placed my wife and I on UC from 26th Oct as we live in N.Ireland U.K and thus we have ultimate tax responsibility to/in U.K.

    The weeks rolled by and I got a letter in December to say that I had been awarded Illness Benefit in the Irish system. I was also transparent with the Irish System (that I was on benefits in N.Ireland/U.K.) but they said just to make the U.K UC system aware and it should be no issue. I immediately informed UC by online journal on 20th Dec to which they said my situation would need to go to a "decision maker"?

    I heard nothing, and even asked them how/if this Irish benefit would affect UC on 28th Dec on my journal. On 2nd Jan I got another message from UC on the journal asking me to provide more info on the Irish benefit award, which I did. No comment on the journal from them after....

    So far we have got no money for January, and we received an embarrassing call from our landlady (who we have a signed tenancy agreement with) to say that UC had not paid her! We are a young family of four and this is the worst time of year for this to happen

    I made a formal complaint via online journal (as no-one would help me at my local Jobs & Benefits office, or on the telephone) and got a call from a UC supervisor yesterday. She said that the "decision makers" are "snowed under" and it could take weeks for us to get a decision. The best they could offer was some sort of 'loan' to see us through. She had nothing to say to the fact that our tenancy agreement was violated needlessly and no apology on the behalf of a systematic failure against ordinary families like us.

    I have been in touch with the Irish state department to say that I will not be sending in another medical cert as I am being penalised by the U.K. for this income. The Irish benefits advisors are aghast at this but they too don't have a solution: UC just unapologetically does as it wants.

    I feel a great injustice is being done, more systemic than anything else. As I eagerly await the UC "decision makers" I am considering my rights - can/should I take this to a higher level - solicitor?? We are hurt, embarrassed, without adequate funds to live on basics.

    Thoughtful considerations welcome.

    Thanks.
Page 1
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Jan 19, 1:14 PM
    • 1,225 Posts
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    calcotti
    • #2
    • 10th Jan 19, 1:14 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Jan 19, 1:14 PM
    I don't think a solicitor is going to be of any help. Suggest contacting your local MP and asking if they can intercede.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 10th Jan 19, 3:36 PM
    • 2,703 Posts
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    Alice Holt
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 19, 3:36 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 19, 3:36 PM
    As well as your MP, also try your local advice agency.

    One (quite technical) option would be a Judicial Review pre-action letter. You can find a pro-forma template online.
    http://england.shelter.org.uk/legal/courts_and_legal_action/pre_action_protocols/pre-action_protocol_for_judicial_review (Letter before claim para).
    This would be addressed to the DWP legal team covering NI.

    I understand this can be used in cases where unnecessary delay by the DWP is causing hardship. The intention is not to proceed to Judicial Review (which is very costly), but to get the matter in front of the DWP legal team. They then have to respond within 14 days.
    This may also be worthwhile, because your case looks complex and DWP decision makers can shy away from cases involving more complicated law in favour of easier cases.

    I haven't used this myself, but CPAG are suggesting this as a tactic given the current DWP chaos, and long waiting periods for tribunal hearings.

    I'm not sure if NI has law centres which may be able help - unfortunately in England legal aid cuts have severely reduced the provision of such advice.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • OhWow
    • By OhWow 10th Jan 19, 4:15 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    OhWow
    • #4
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:15 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:15 PM
    I am a cross-border worker: I was working just over the border in Ireland, whilst living in N.Ireland, U.K.

    Initially, as someone who paid taxes in Ireland I rightfully made a claim for Illness Benefit in the Irish system; my Doctor's medical cert stated that I'd be unfit for work for 12 weeks.
    Originally posted by fooddestroyer

    Don't the EU rules state that a cross border worker claims benefits from the EU country they pay their taxes too??? In this case the Republic of Ireland. The fact that the Republic of Ireland paid you benefits seems to comfirm this.

    Why aren't you claiming all your benefits from the Republic, instead of only asking them for sickness benefits?
    Last edited by OhWow; 10-01-2019 at 4:32 PM.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Jan 19, 4:35 PM
    • 1,225 Posts
    • 830 Thanks
    calcotti
    • #5
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:35 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:35 PM
    Don't the EU rules state that a cross border worker claims benefits from the EU country they pay their taxes too??? In this case the Republic of Ireland. The fact that the Republic of Ireland paid you benefits seems to comfirm this.

    Why aren't you claiming all your benefits from the Republic, instead of only asking them for sickness benefits?
    Originally posted by OhWow
    OP post says he pays tax in Ireland but has tax liability in UK as place of residence so I inferred he effectively has overseas earnings taxed at source but is still liable for UK taxation (and presumably there is some sort of cross border tax offsetting).
    • OhWow
    • By OhWow 10th Jan 19, 4:37 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    OhWow
    • #6
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:37 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:37 PM
    OP post says he pays tax in Ireland but has tax liability in UK as place of residence so I inferred he effectively has overseas earnings taxed at source but is still liable for UK taxation (and presumably there is some sort of cross border tax offsetting).
    Originally posted by calcotti

    The EU's "cross-border workers" have different rules under EU laws, for - tax law, right of residence, welfare entitlements.

    The Republic are already paying him benefits because he is an EU cross-border worker in their country. I wondered why he wasn't asking the Republic for any other benefits he needs too, instead of only asking them for sick benefits.
    Last edited by OhWow; 10-01-2019 at 4:59 PM.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Jan 19, 4:50 PM
    • 1,225 Posts
    • 830 Thanks
    calcotti
    • #7
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:50 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Jan 19, 4:50 PM
    The EU's "cross-border workers" have different rules under EU laws, for these workers for - tax law, right of residence, welfare entitlements.

    The Republic are paying him benefits as he is an EU cross-border worker in their country. I wondered why he wasn't asking the Republic for any other benefits he needs too, instead of only asking them for sick benefits.
    Originally posted by OhWow
    Understood - I didn't mean to sound as if I was questioning whether or not he can do this. Just genuinely interested to know how this works for someone in this position (all a bit topical at the moment!). He appears to have a tax foothold in two places. I know there are regulations about who is the 'competent state' for benefits purposes but I have never had to wrestle with these regs and am not clear how they work.
    Last edited by calcotti; 10-01-2019 at 5:02 PM.
    • OhWow
    • By OhWow 10th Jan 19, 5:17 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    OhWow
    • #8
    • 10th Jan 19, 5:17 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Jan 19, 5:17 PM
    Understood - I didn't mean to sound as if I was questioning whether or not he can do this. Just genuinely interested to know how this works for someone in this position (all a bit topical at the moment!).
    Originally posted by calcotti

    Sorry, I didn't mean to come across like I was talking down. An EEA country has to pay benefits to an EEA citizen worker who resides in that country and give them access to their healthcare system under the same terms as a citizen of that country can have.


    EU cross-border workers seem to have different rules and the OP resides in the UK and works in the Republic of Ireland. The Republic seem to have accepted they should pay benefits to the OP as they are paying. The UK seems to have agreed with that too?



    He appears to have a tax foothold in two places. I know there are regulations about who is the 'competent state' for benefits purposes ...
    Originally posted by calcotti

    And healthcare comes into play too for the EU "cross-border workers" who work in one EEA country but "reside" in anothe EEA country. Healthcare would not be cheap for a family of six if they resided in the Republic of Ireland because their healthcare system is so expensive. NI is part of the UK and therefore has the NHS.
    Last edited by OhWow; 10-01-2019 at 5:58 PM.
    • calcotti
    • By calcotti 10th Jan 19, 5:34 PM
    • 1,225 Posts
    • 830 Thanks
    calcotti
    • #9
    • 10th Jan 19, 5:34 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Jan 19, 5:34 PM
    Found this in a slightly old CPAG article http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/european-nationals-and-sickness-benefits

    "The general rule is that the competent state is the state in which the claimant is working or treated as working. For those who are not currently economically active, the competent state is normally the state of residence. For payments classed as ‘special non-contributory benefits’... it is always the state of residence whose legislation applies.

    If an EEA national is resident in one member state (‘state A’) but, for example, works in another member state (‘state B’) such that it is her/his competent state under the general rule, for cash sickness benefits state B will normally be the competent state. For family members of such an EEA national, state B will also normally be the competent state for paying their cash sickness benefits, whatever state they themselves reside in."

    On this basis Ireland appears to be the competent state for sickness benefits. UC of course combines what used to be income based JSA/ESA, housing benefit and child tax credits. Seems to me that UC is therefore more than just a sickness benefit but I don't know what that means in terms of who pays what!!
    • OhWow
    • By OhWow 10th Jan 19, 6:14 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    OhWow
    Found this in a slightly old CPAG article http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/european-nationals-and-sickness-benefits

    "The general rule is that the competent state is the state in which the claimant is working or treated as working. For those who are not currently economically active, the competent state is normally the state of residence. For payments classed as ‘special non-contributory benefits’... it is always the state of residence whose legislation applies.

    If an EEA national is resident in one member state (‘state A’) but, for example, works in another member state (‘state B’) such that it is her/his competent state under the general rule, for cash sickness benefits state B will normally be the competent state. For family members of such an EEA national, state B will also normally be the competent state for paying their cash sickness benefits, whatever state they themselves reside in."

    On this basis Ireland appears to be the competent state for sickness benefits. UC of course combines what used to be income based JSA/ESA, housing benefit and child tax credits. Seems to me that UC is therefore more than just a sickness benefit but I don't know what that means in terms of who pays what!!
    Originally posted by calcotti





    "economically inactive" under the EU's 2004 Directive, refers to those EEA citizens who reside in another EEA country but are not in "genuine and effective" employment continuously e.g. student, self sufficient (living on their own means) etc


    Under EU rules, somebody who is sick, loses their job, stops work to give birth, retains their "worker rights" for a set time- remain economically active in that EEA country.


    The OP will likely have retained worker rights is "economically active" in the Republic of Ireland.I have no idea what they mean by ‘special non-contributory benefits’.



    You can have a read of how the UK (Home Office) assess of somebody is an EEA "qualified person" in the UK and the different types of "qualified person" the EU has and about retained worker rights etc. For the OP, it might be better to find the Republic of Ireland's rules on what a "qualified person" is in their country as every member state has different rules, as allowed under EU law.
    This is the UK one -
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-economic-area-nationals-qualified-persons
    Last edited by OhWow; 10-01-2019 at 6:42 PM.
    • OhWow
    • By OhWow 10th Jan 19, 6:17 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    OhWow
    My wife and I were placed on UC at the end of Oct 2018 after I became ill. I am a cross-border worker: I was working just over the border in Ireland, whilst living in N.Ireland, U.K.
    Originally posted by fooddestroyer

    Are you a British citizen? Irish citizen? Or a citizen of another EEA country? What citizenship does your wife and children have?

    If you are a British or Irish citizen and all your family are too, then you have a right to live on the Island of Ireland, work, claim benefits and EU rules don't come into it at all!



    I have been in touch with the Irish state department to say that I will not be sending in another medical cert as I am being penalised by the U.K. for this income.
    Originally posted by fooddestroyer

    How much is that Republic of Ireland sickness benefit?
    Last edited by OhWow; 10-01-2019 at 7:12 PM.
    • huckster
    • By huckster 10th Jan 19, 10:27 PM
    • 3,427 Posts
    • 1,507 Thanks
    huckster
    I cannot see this case as being unique in Northern Ireland. There must be others, where a decision has already been made, as to how UC would deal with the situation.

    I would suggest calling Universal Credit and asking the Case Manager to speak to their local Service Improvement Lead (SIL) about this. The SIL can search through records for information about this situation and if necessary they can raise this with DWP Head Office.

    Without much knowledge on Northern Ireland benefits and Irish workers rights, I would think you claim Irish health related benefits accrued through work taxes and then on the UC claim, they would deduct the Irish benefit payment as 'other income'. This would mean that you would not receive much UC help, other than housing and you would need a UC health assessment to see if you qualified for extra help. You would need to be seen as having limited capability for work and work related activity to qualify for an extra payment.
    The comments I post are personal opinion. Always refer to official information sources before relying on internet forums. If you have a problem with any organisation, enter into their official complaints process at the earliest opportunity, as sometimes complaints have to be started within a certain time frame.
    • OhWow
    • By OhWow 11th Jan 19, 4:40 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    OhWow
    Looking back on your posts,

    -you and your children are dual Irish/British citizens. I assume your US citizen wife is also an Irish citizen too now because of the time she has lived on the Island of Ireland (had 4 children). I can't see how EU rules (cross- border workers and who would pay what benefit) would apply, because under EU rules, you cannot be an EEA citizen in your own EEA country/ies.

    -I assume you have been claiming benefits from the UK (NI) for years too as you said you had a low income when you had 2 children and now you have 4, and you also posted a few years ago that you are ill?


    You are living in your own country and are not an EEA citizen living in another EEA country. You are an Irish ciitizen who is working in his own country (the Republic of Ireland) and not an EU citizen cross-border worker.

    It seems then that the reduction of your UK benefits, are under UK benefit rules and nothing to do with EU rules.

    Perhaps you should visit the CAB in NI as they will know about benefit arrangements the UK and the Irish government have, when you are working in the Republic of Ireland. Unless somebody on here knows?
    Last edited by OhWow; 11-01-2019 at 6:21 PM.
    • fooddestroyer
    • By fooddestroyer 11th Jan 19, 4:41 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    fooddestroyer
    WOW!

    Thanks everyone for the input. I shall read with wine tonight!!
    • fooddestroyer
    • By fooddestroyer 12th Jan 19, 10:39 AM
    • 33 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    fooddestroyer
    Again THANKS to all who are in this conversation. I have read and mulled through. Apologies is this looks like a brief answer, and I am sorry if I am not addressing all the questions and replies. You have all been great. (if you feel offended that I have missed something really imporant to you, ask me directly again, and I'll try answer

    --

    In short, I have got in touch with a local CAB guy I know. He feels with our situation, that UK ARE the competent state and that we need to sign off the Irish benefit to keep things simple with UC/PIP/Child Benefit. Basically, we'd be better off in the meanwhile until things change.

    With me being unsure of a return to work anytime soon, and with (allegedly) the U.K. being the competent state this appears the best way forward.

    Nevertheless, UC have 'frozen' payments to me. I visited a local MP yesterday and they said that the best thing in the interim to do is:
    1. Get any housing costs paid to me, and set up a separate S/O to pay landlord so that the tenancy agreement is not violated again
    2. Take the local foodbank vouchers and don't get into any debt through UC!

    Thanks.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 12th Jan 19, 12:54 PM
    • 2,703 Posts
    • 3,161 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    In short, I have got in touch with a local CAB guy I know. He feels with our situation, that UK ARE the competent state and that we need to sign off the Irish benefit to keep things simple with UC/PIP/Child Benefit. Basically, we'd be better off in the meanwhile until things change.

    With me being unsure of a return to work anytime soon, and with (allegedly) the U.K. being the competent state this appears the best way forward.

    Nevertheless, UC have 'frozen' payments to me. I visited a local MP yesterday and they said that the best thing in the interim to do is:
    1. Get any housing costs paid to me, and set up a separate S/O to pay landlord so that the tenancy agreement is not violated again
    2. Take the local foodbank vouchers and don't get into any debt through UC!

    Thanks.
    Originally posted by fooddestroyer
    I'm not sure about this:
    a) I really think you need to get advice from an accredited advice agency / CAB / Law Centre.
    As I read your post you have acted on individual advice from a "CAB guy" you know who "feels" the UK is the component authority.
    He may well be right, as evidenced by the fact that UC have accepted your claim. If they were not the appropriate benefit authority your claim would likely have been rejected in October.
    On the basis on that advice you have stopped an income coming into the household (the Irish benefit).

    b) On the face of it, the MP's comment doesn't make sense.
    Yout housing costs are not separate from UC. Housing costs are included in the UC payment. They will be paid to you as part of the UC payment (unless you elect for a direct payment to the landlord and this is agreed by the DWP).
    Until the DWP sort your UC claim out, no housing costs will be paid.

    c) As I interpreted your opening post, the problem is the delay in getting a decision on your UC claim and getting the housing element paid so you can pay your rent.
    That's why calcotti in the first reply suggested getting your MP involved. Want you want from your MP is not advice about S/O's and the foodbank, but for them to intervene on your behalf with the DWP to get the UC decision made quickly and in your favour.

    Cancelling the Irish benefit, may not speed up the UC decision. It introduces a change of circumstances that could further delay a decision.

    If I have understood correctly your difficulty is that the UC claim you made in October is still awaiting clearance by a DWP DM, so I would suggest -
    1) Ask your MP to intervene with the DWP to speed up their decision process;
    2) Get accredited advice and request the advisor to contact the DWP on your behalf;
    3) Contact the DWP resolution manager who handled your compliant, and try to find out exactly why there is a delay and when it will be resolved, etc
    4) If you have access to a Law Centre consider a pre-action Judicial Review letter to the DWP lawyers who have a legal duty to respond in 14 days.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • fooddestroyer
    • By fooddestroyer 15th Jan 19, 3:53 PM
    • 33 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    fooddestroyer
    Alice - thank you for your thoughts, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply so well.

    I shall call the MP's office tomorrow as I have been speaking to 'Supervisors' at DWP/UC over the past few days who say that "it wont be too much longer"!
    • OhWow
    • By OhWow 15th Jan 19, 6:14 PM
    • 133 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    OhWow

    In short, I have got in touch with a local CAB guy I know. He feels with our situation, that UK ARE the competent state
    Originally posted by fooddestroyer

    "competent state" is EU rules. Why are you trying to use EU rules when you are living and working in your own countries? Under EU rules, we can't be an EEA citizen in our own EEA country/ies.
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