HMRC decision to terminate tax credits claim following a claim for UC (which was ultimately unsuccessful) – a tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to consider whether the DWP was entitled to be satisfied that basic conditions for UC are met.
UA – 2020 – 000563 – TC
This is one of a number of similar cases where a claimant on tax credits made a claim for UC where the Department outlined that the basic conditions were met under regulation 8 of the UC (Transitional Provisions) Regulation 2014 before dealing into the detail of the claim and disallowing entitlement. The claimant was unable to go back on to tax credits.
A three judge Upper Tribunal panel held that the tribunal had erred in law when deciding the claimant’s retained entitlement to tax credits after he had claimed UC. The tribunal in dealing with tax credits did not have the jurisdiction to decide whether the DWP was entitled to issue a ‘stop notice’ to HMRC that the basic conditions for UC had been met.
The UC (TP) regulations in Northern Ireland require the DfC to issue to HMRC a ‘stop notice’ to confirm the basic conditions for UC are met thereby triggering the determination of the tax credit claim. This applies regardless of the outcome of the UC claim and can leave claimants losing out as there is no legal basis to return to tax credits.
The UC (Transitional Protection) Amendment Regulations (NI) 2022 amended regulation 6 of the (TP) Regulations (NI) 2016 to make it clear that a person who claims UC cannot withdraw his or her claim and go back to tax credits regardless of circumstances. In effect, a decision to move from tax credits (or other legacy benefits) to UC cannot be reversed once a claim is made.It is worth noting one remedy where wrongly advised by the Department to more from tax credits to UC is a complaint to the NI Public Services Ombudsman. In a recent case, the Ombudsman Margaret Kelly ordered DfC to pay £11,500 (the amount of tax credits lost after being advised to claim UC, a claim which was then refused). See ‘Man has thousands of pounds in benefits repaid after being wrongly told to apply for Universal Credit’ on nipso.org.uk.
For a full copy of the judgement, click here.