Last week we were contacted by someone who had taken one of our leaflets outside the buroo after just signing on to Universal Credit. He had just been dismissed from a long-term job and been paid a lump sum in lieu of three month’s work. He had paid quite a bit of tax on this, but been reassured that he would be able to claim the tax back, as indeed he will – BUT in the month he receives the tax rebate it will be ‘treated as employed earnings’ when they calculate his Universal Credit. The same is true of repayment of National Insurance contributions. Clearly grossly unfair – and clearly laid out in Universal Credit rules.
On a more positive note, we also got a phone call from a man in Ayrshire who had just got back from two years working in another EU country and was having to rely on support from his father, as he had been told by the DWP that since he had been living abroad he couldn’t get any benefits for three months. After a long discussion with CPAG I was able to inform him that under EU coordination rules he should be able to get Income-based JSA straight away as his time working in the EU counts towards this. (The EU does have some uses.) He will have to put in a Mandatory Reconsideration and get temporary help if necessary from the Scottish Welfare Fund.