Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Surplus earnings threshold remains at £2,500 for a further 12 months

Added on 1st March 2024

The DWP have announced that the surplus earnings threshold will remain at £2,500 until 31st March 2025. It was temporarily increased from £300 in 2018 but has remained at £2,500 ever since. Click here to find out more about surplus earnings.

Missed out on NI Credits when caring for children?

Added on 28th February 2024

Some claimants have missed out on NI credits because their Child Benefit claims were not associated with the NI records before the year 2000. HMRC have begun writing to claimants who could be underpaid the State Pension because of this. They estimate that the underpayments will amount to £1.3 billion across 210,000 claimants.

Another group of people missed out on claiming Child Benefit and so didn't get the associated NI credits. The government is planning to legislate for a new route to claim NI credits - but this will not be available until April 2026 as this is how long it will take to implement the IT system.

Caselaw on rival claims for Child Benefit

Added on 28th February 2024

In this case from Northern Ireland, a separated couple shared custody of their three children. HMRC decided to award CB for two of the children to one parent (who was earning NMW), and CB for the third child to the other partner (who was earning over £60,000pa and so affected by the High Income Child Benefit Charge). This effectively meant that no Child Benefit was being paid for the third child even though it would be if the other partner was entitled to it. HMRC argued that they followed the law by awarding the Child Benefit to the parent with main responsibility. But the High Court pointed out that HMRC's 'Procedural Guide' requires the Decision Maker to consider the impact of their decision on each parent and 'who stands to lose most'. Therefore, all three awards of Child Benefit should go to the parent that will actually receive them.

NEW ARTICLE: Managed Migration: April Uprating and timing of the claim

Added on 22nd February 2024

Legacy benefit claimants who have received their Managed Migration Notice should think carefully about the timing of their UC claim. The exact date on which they make their claim can have a big impact on the amount of their UC going forward, when they receive their UC payments and also when they have to report things like childcare costs and self-employed earnings.

Here we are looking at how that decision may be impacted by the April benefit uprating.

NEW ARTICLE: Short-Term Assistance (Scotland) - help or hindrance?

Added on 7th February 2024

Short-term Assistance is a payment someone can get in Scotland if their Child or Adult Disability Payment has been reduced or stopped and they’ve asked for that decision to be looked at again. BUT Short-term Assistance is not a passporting benefit to any other entitlements which may cause issues.

UC Claimants Cannot Verify ID using Government Gateway

Added on 29th January 2024

When a new UC claimant verifies their ID, they will no longer be given the option of logging into their Government Gateway account. To verify their ID they can use things like their recent payslips, a valid UK passport etc.

Increasing TSDPE for Existing UC Claimants is Delayed

Added on 16th January 2024

Regulations that come into force on 14th January 2024 legislate for an increase to the Transitional SDP Element for UC claimants who were entitled to a Disability Premium, Enhanced Disability Premium, or Disabled Child Premium / Element in a 'legacy' benefit before claiming UC.

The Regs say that it up to the Secretary of State when and how to manage the increase for claimants who are already on UC on the 14th February 2024. The DWP have told stakeholders that this will not happen in February 2024.

New claims for UC (made on or after 14th February 2024) will include a higher TSDPE if the claimant is entitled to it as planned.

Next Cost of Living Payments Announced

Added on 21st December 2023

The DWP have announced that the next cost of living payments will be paid between 6th and 22nd February 2024. To be entitled to the payment of £299, claimants must have been in receipt of a qualifying benefit between 13th November and 12th December 2023. Click here for more on Cost of Living payments.

NEW ARTICLE: Increase to the Amount of TSDPE from Feb 24

Added on 29th November 2023

New legislation in force from 14th February 2024 introduces increases to the TSDPE for certain claimants. A High Court decision in Jan 2022 found that the DWP were not adequately compensating claimants receiving the SDP. This article looks at what the additions are and who will be entitled to them.

Averaging earnings for Carer's Allowance

Added on 17th November 2023

The claimant in this case was on a zero hours contract and did not have regular earnings. When calculating her entitlement to CA the DWP looked at their earnings each week and so they were not entitled to it in some weeks when they received a higher income. The claimant challenged this, arguing that their earnings should be averaged - which would mean she was entitled to CA in all weeks. The Upper Tribunal agreed with the claimant and stated that where a claimant as earnings that fluctuate and this is not a 'blip', their earnings can be averaged. Click here for caselaw on averaging earnings in CA

Increases to conditionality for parents of 3-12-year-olds

Added on 27th October 2023

Parents of 3-12-year-olds who are in the All Work-Related Requirements group on UC will now be expected to spend up to 30 hours a week working or looking for work - although this can be reduced at the discretion of the Work Coach. Previously, the main carer of a 3-year-old was only expected to spend 16 hours a week looking for work. This increased to 25 hours when the child was 5. Click here to learn more about the All Work-Related Requirements group.

Benefits for people fleeing Israel, Palestine and Lebanon

Added on 27th October 2023

A new statutory instrument exempts people who were residing in Israel, Palestine or Lebanon immediately before 7th October 2023 and who left in connection with the attach on 7th October or following violence from having to satisfy the habitual residence test or past presence test. A second statutory instrument enables LAs to provide housing and homelessness assistance to these individuals.

December areas for Managed Migration announced

Added on 24th October 2023

The DWP have announced that Migration Notices will start to be sent in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire in December 2023. They also confirmed that they are on track to roll out Managed Migration across all Jobcentre Plus areas by the end of the financial year. Click here to find out more about the Managed Migration timetable.

Bereavement Support Payment when deceased partner was severely disabled

Added on 23rd October 2023

The Court of Appeal have agreed with decision in the High Court and Northern Ireland Court of Appeal that the NI contribution conditions of BSP are discriminatory against those who are severely disabled and unable to work. For a surviving partner to be entitled to BSP, their partner needs to have actually paid National Insurance contributions in at least one tax year. Two very similar cases (one in England and one in Northern Ireland) argued that this was discriminatory against severely disabled individuals who are unable to work throughout their life. Both Courts of Appeal have now found that it is. For the COA decision on BSP click here and for more on BSP click here

Youth Offer extended to all UC claimants aged 16-24

Added on 27th September 2023

The youth offer was previously only available to young claimants on UC in the intensive work search regime but it is now available to all UC claimants aged between 16-24 regardless of their conditionality group. The youth offer provide extra support to young people looking for a job. Find out more about the youth offer here.

DWP not sharing information with HMRC is not official error

Added on 22nd September 2023

The Upper Tribunal found that there is no legal requirement for the DWP to share information about claimants with HMRC so it does not amount to an official error if they failed to do so. In this case, the claimant was awarded DLA for her child in 2010 but only had the Disabled Child Element added to her CTC award in 2016 when the DWP informed HMRC of the DLA as part of an information sharing exercise. The Upper Tribunal found that this was correct. The claimant argued that she had informed HMRC of the DLA when it was awarded but there was no evidence of this and it was ignored. For the full decision on data sharing click here.

Second Cost of Living Payments 2023/24

Added on 26th September 2023

The qualifying period for the second Cost of Living Payments for 2023/24 is 18th August - 17th September 2023. Where a claimant was entitled to a payment of UC, IR-ESA, IS, IB-JSA, PC or Tax Credits between these dates, they will receive a £300 Cost of Living Payment paid between 31st October and 19th November 2023.

Find out more about the Cost of Living Payments here

Religious Beliefs Could Stop Claimants From Taking 'Reasonable Steps' to Secure Student Loan

Added on 6th September 2023

The HB Regulations state that where a student could acquire a student loan by taking 'reasonable steps', their entitlement to Housing Benefit should be calculated as though they are receiving the loan - even if they have chosen not claim it. A previous First-tier Tribunal decision stated that this was the case even if the claimant's personal circumstances prevent them from applying for the loan. However, a devout Muslim student argued that his religion prevents him from taking a loan (because it is considered a sin to pay interest). The Upper Tribunal declined to follow the previous FtT decision and decided that the claimant's personal circumstances were relevant to whether they could take 'reasonable steps' to acquire the student loan. Consequently, the student's HB entitlement should be worked out ignoring the student loan.

State Pension Correction Exercise

Added on 31st August 2023

From August 2023, HMRC will contact an estimated 210,000 people and invite them to correct errors in their National Insurance records which would cause them State Pension underpayments. This will affect those wo claimed Child Benefit before May 2000 as before that date claimants were not required to provide their NINo when claiming Child Benefit, and so may not have been credited with the correct number of years of Home Responsibilities Protection.

This could potentially cause overpayments of Pension Credit and means-tested benefits. However, we would expect that such overpayments will not be recoverable as they were not cause by the claimant's misrepresentation or failure to disclose relevant information.

Click here for more from gov.uk on the State Pension correction exercise.

Two Child Limit - Natural children always considered in age order

Added on 8th August 2023

The Upper Tribunal has ruled that there is no legal reason for ignoring the Regulation which requires the DWP to consider natural children in age order when applying the Two Child Limit. The claimant argued that the children should be considered in the order they joined the family after the UC claim was made (because her eldest child was returned to the family from LA care shortly after she had her third child and could have been exempt from the Two Child Limit). In this case, the Judge recognised that the claimant could have success with a Judicial Review challenge of the decision to apply the Two Child Limit in this way.

New Managed Migration Areas and Discovery Phase

Added on 26th July 2023

The DWP have announce the areas in which Managed Migration will begin in September. They are East Scotland, Cumbria, Lancashire, South West Wales, Essex, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Isle of Wight. They also announced that from September they would start bringing other claimants into the Managed Migration process and would be sending approximately 2,000 Notices to claimants receiving different benefit combinations (i.e. claimants receiving Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-Based JSA and those on Income-Related ESA and Tax Credits.). Click here for more information on the Managed Migration timetable.

Light Touch Reviews of PIP will use Simplified Forms

Added on 19th July 2023

The DWP is preparing to start 'light touch' reviews of 10 year PIP awards (PIP was introduced in 2013). They have said that they will use a simplified form focusing on how a claimant's abilities have changed. In most cases an assessment with a health professional will not be required unless there has been a change in circumstances.

30,000 Migration Notices Sent this Month

Added on 6th July 2023

According to Neil Couling, 30,000 Migration Notices were sent this month - up from 1,000 a month ago. The DWP are hoping to get this up to 80,000 by the end of the year.

Managed Migration Plans - timetable and couples

Added on 20th June 2023

A letter to Neil Couling published has been published confirming that he's still in charge of Managed Migration. It also states that the DWP expect all claimants on Tax Credits, Income-Based JSA, and Income Support, as well as HB-only claimants to be moved onto UC by the end of 2024/25. Additionally, our understanding is that only a very small number of Migration Notices will be sent to couples in the next couple of months as the process is in a 'discovery phase'.

New UC Regulations Making Amendments

Added on 19th May 2023

New Regulations have been issued that make miscellaneous minor amendments to UC legislation to correct errors and clarify policy intent. Specifically, the amendments include: making it clear that claimants who are already determined to have a LCW do not need to serve the 3-month relevant period before the LCWRA Element is awarded; clarifying that the maximum period of one month backdating in UC is based on the length of an assessment period, with the date of claim becoming the last day of the first assessment period.

Scottish Carer's Allowance Supplement Eligibility

Added on 12th April 2023

Claimants living in Scotland and receiving Carer's Allowance on 10th April and/or 9th October will be entitled to payments of £270.50. Payment dates will be announced later in the year but Social Security Scotland will write to people in advance so they know to expect the payment.

Changes to SMI Loans (new Regs)

Added on 3rd April 2023

New Regulations mean that claimants will be able to apply for an SMI loan after being on UC for three consecutive months. Additionally, the zero earnings rule has been removed - meaning UC claimants with earnings will be able to apply for an SMI loan. The new Regs also removed the need to serve a new qualifying period for claimants who reclaim UC within 6 months of an award ending, reclaim a legacy benefit within 52 weeks of an award ending, and Mixed Age Couples if the older member was receiving receiving SMI payments in Pension Credit within a month of their joint UC entitlement starting.

Uprating of benefits in April 2023

Added on 20th March 2023

The Benefit Uprating Regulations were laid before Parliament confirming all of the new rates. See our new rates poster here.

Household Support Fund extended until 31st March 2024

Added on 24th February 2023

Local Authorities are responsible for deciding who they support but are advised to prioritise households that do not have access to other support.

Click here for more on the fund.

The Administrative Earnings Threshold has increased

Added on 30th January 2023

120,000 claimants in the All-Work Related Requirements group will be moved from the 'Light Tough Regime' to the 'Intensive Work-Search Regime' meaning they need to look for more / better paying work based on their earnings.

For more on the threshold, click here.

Changes to Statutory Paternity Pay

Added on 7th February 2024

New Regulations relax a lot of the rules regarding entitlement to Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave to make it easier to claim. The relaxed rules will apply for children whose expected week of birth beings after 6th April 2024 or who are expected to be placed for adoption on or after 6th April 2024. See the SSP explanatory memorandum here.

Some Claimants Underpaid New-Style JSA

Added on 23rd January 2024

Some claimant who claimed NS-JSA between 19 March 2020 and 19 November 2022 could have been underpaid due to an error in how the DWP treated pensions that had been inherited from someone who had died ie they treated them the same as other pensions which can reduce NS-JSA of over £50 when they should have been ignored all together.

The DWP are trying to contact anyone who they think could have been affected and claimants can contact the DWP if they think it applies to them - they should be paid what they missed out on. Click here for more on missing NS-JSA from gov.uk.

New Caselaw: Revision can be Based on Information Not Known at Time of Decision

Added on 11th January 2024

In this case, the DWP initially awarded the claimant (an EEA National) UC based on her having Worker Status. They later revised this decision as the company she was working for was believed to be a shell company. Evidence that this was correct was produced after the DWP made the decision that the claimant was not entitled to UC. The Upper Tribunal ruled that it did not matter that the evidence of it being a shell company was not available when the DWP made their decision as it was relating to the time the decision was made. Click here for the decision.

NEW ARTICLE: Changes to MIF for Some Claimants

Added on 3rd January 2024

For some self-employed UC claimants, the level of the Minimum Income Floor that's applicable to their UC claim will increase from January 2024. This could mean a higher assumed income and therefore a lower UC award even though their earnings have not changed.

New Areas for Managed Migration

Added on 28th November 2023

The DWP have confirmed that in January 2024 Migration Notices will start being sent in Tyne and Wear, Leicester and Northamptonshire, and Devon.
Then in February Notices will start being sent in Northern and Northeast Scotland, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, North and Mid Wales, Birmingham and Solihull, Mercia, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, West London, and Surrey and Sussex.
Finally, in March Notices will start being sent in the Black Country.
For more on the roll-out of Managed Migration, click here.

NEW ARTICLE: Autumn Statement - Benefit Changes

Added on 28th November 2023

On 22nd Nov the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP, delivered his Autumn Statement, laying out the UK government's financial priorities for the immediate and longer-term future. This article looks at the changes relevant to people working with benefit claimants.

Welsh support for homeowners at risk of repossession

Added on 17th November 2023

The Welsh Government have announced a new mortgage support scheme to help homeowners at risk of repossession. It is available to those whose property is valued at £300,000 or less and who have a total household income of less than £67,000pa. Find out more about the Welsh mortgage scheme here.

Removal of the Child Benefit 'living in the UK' test

Added on 27th October 2023

Previously, a claimant needed to be living in the UK for three months before they could be entitled to Child Benefit but the government were planning on simplifying this process. They have brought this forward in light of the situation in Israel and Palestine - to avoid needing to legislate twice to help people fleeing these areas. If a claimant is able to claim Child Benefit (i.e., they are not excluded based on their immigration status), they can claim even if they have just arrived in the UK. Click here for more on Child Benefit.

NEW BRIEFING: Managed Migration for Self-employed Tax Credit Claimants

Added on 24th October 2023

We have published a new briefing all about how Managed Migration will work for self-employed Tax Credit claimants. Check out the briefing on managed migration for TC claimants.

Leaflet being sent to ALL Tax Credit claimants

Added on 22nd October 2023

Tax Credit claimants are being sent a leaflet advising them to 'get ready for UC'. These are NOT Managed Migration leaflets and it's important that claimants understand this as they could lose out if they claim UC too soon. Find out more about the 'get ready for UC' leaflets here

New Areas for Managed Migration

Added on 27th September 2023

From 16th October 2023, Tax Credit-only claimants in Northern Ireland will begin to receive Migration Notices (seems to be whole of the country not specific areas).

From November 2023, Managed Migration will start in South West Scotland - covers areas like Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire.

The areas for the new discovery phase of non-Tax Credit-only claimants are Manchester, Harrow and Northumberland.

Find out more about Managed Migration here.

NEW ARTICLE: Minimum Income Floor Correction for Couples

Added on 22nd September 2023

See our new article on the correction to the UC computer system which means that some self-employed claimants receive less. Find the article about the MIF fix here

Consultation on Changes to the WCA

Added on 12th September 2023

The government has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Work Capability Assessment - specifically to reduce the number of claimant's in the LCWRA group. Any changes following the consultation will need to be passed in parliament and so will not come into effect until at least 2025. This change comes ahead of the removal of the WCA in favour of a combined assessment with PIP as the DWP want to bring about changes before this will take effect.

Click here for the WCA consultation.

Overnight Care Must be Required for Extra Bedroom

Added on 5th September 2023

The Upper Tribunal have ruled that in line with the Bedroom Tax rules for Housing Benefit, an extra bedroom can only be awarded for an overnight carer where someone in the house actually requires care. In this case, the claimants' adult daughter sometimes woke in the night with arrythmia and her mum calmed her down. However, if her mum was not there, she was capable of calming herself down so there is no requirement for overnight care and were not deemed to need an extra bedroom for an overnight carer. Click here for the judgement on the meaning of care for an extra bedroom.

PIP Past Presence Test cannot be Waived if Detained Abroad

Added on 22nd August 2023

An Upper Tribunal judge has ruled that is correct that a claimant who was detained abroad for medical treatment failed the past presence test as there was no exception for this in the Regulations. Click here for the judgement

Guidance on Retrospective Claims for Widowed Parent's Allowance

Added on 7th August 2023

New guidance has been released clarifying how retrospective payments of Widowed Parent's Allowance will be calculated and interact with other benefits. Retrospective claims can be made by individuals who were living with their partner and a dependent child when their partner died but were not married / in a civil partnership with them. The guidance clarifies that the amount of backpayment of WPA could be reduced if there were receiving Carer's Allowance, ESA, JSA or Income Support during a period which the backpayment covers. Additionally, if they were receiving UC during this period, this could result in a UC overpayment.Click here for a link to the guidance

Parents to get More Work Coach Support

Added on 24th July 2023

From today, parents of children aged one and two will start to have more face-to-face support. Lead carers of a one-year-old child will start to have work-focused meetings with their work coach every three months and lead carers of two-year-olds will meet their work coach every month.

Pre-Settled Status will Automatically be Extended

Added on 18th July 2023

The Home Office have confirmed that people with Pre-Settled Status will automatically have their status extended by two years if they have not been given Settled Status after five years. Initially, the Home Office had said that they would end someone's Pre-Settled Status after five years but this was challenged in the High Court.

August Areas for Managed Migration

Added on 27th June 2023

In August Migration Notices will start being sent in West Scotland, West Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and South London. This will be the first Notices sent out in Scotland.

People fleeing Sudan exempt from HRT

Added on 31st May 2023

Regulations that came into force on 15th May 2023 added new categories to the list of persons exempted from having to satisfy the factual part of the Habitual Residence Test (HRT) for income-related, disability and carer benefits and the Past Presence Test (PPT) for disability and carer benefits. Individuals must be entitled to claim benefits in the UK (i.e. have recourse to public funds), have been residing in Sudan before 15th April 2023 and have left Sudan in connection with the violence that rapidly escalated on that day. Click here for more on claimants fleeing Sudan

Temporary Increase to Winter Fuel Payment

Added on 19th May 2023

New Regulations have been issued that provide for a temporary increase to Winter Fuel Payments in 2023/24. The WFP Regulations are available here

Paying Childcare Costs Element Upfront

Added on 11th April 2023

In the Spring budget, the government announced its plans to improve help with childcare in UC for claimants starting work or increasing their hours. Currently, the claimant can apply for help from the Flexible Support Fund for help paying their first childcare payment - but they cannot then get help with this payment from Universal Credit. The DWP is expected to remove the rule excluding claimants getting help from the FSF and UC for the same childcare payment for those starting work / increasing their hours.

State Pension Age will Increase as Planned

Added on 30th March 2023

The government as confirmed its plans to increase the State Pension age to 67 between 2026-28. They will review when to increase it to 68 in two years time.

New guidance on when UC claims can be backdated

Added on 1st March 2023

Following two Upper Tribunal decisions, the DWP have released new guidance on when Decision Makers can consider whether a claimant meets the conditions for having their claim backdated.

Click here for more on backdating and click here for the guidance.

Eligibility to bereavement benefits extended to unmarried couples with children

Added on 13th February 2023

From 9th February 2023, surviving partners who were living with their partner and entitled to Child Benefit at the time of their death, could be entitled to Bereavement Support Payment.

Additionally, some claimants will be able to make retrospective claims if they would have been entitled to a bereavement benefit on 30th August 2018 had these rules been in place.

Click here for more.

It is the Administrative Earnings Threshold that applied on the first day of the claim that matters when terminating a Transitional Element

Added on 18th January 2023

A claimant's Transitional Element is terminated if their earnings were above their AET when they made their claim but fall below it for three consecutive Monthly Assessment Periods.

Click here for more on when Transitional Elements are terminated.

Pilot to help victims of domestic abuse recieve instant support in Jobcentres to start in early 2023

Added on 3rd January 2023

The 'ask for ANI' scheme is a Home Office initiative currently active in pharmacies. The DWP will run a pilot of the scheme in selected Jobcentres for 9-12 months starting in Q1 of 2023. Victims of domestic abuse will be able to ask for ANI in participating Jobcentres allowing them to discretely ask for immediate help from the police and/or domestic abuse services.

State Pension age Tax Credit Claimants will be Contacted from August 2024

Added on 29th January 2024

The DWP have said that they will start sending Migration Notices to Tax Credit claimants who are above State Pension age from August 2024. If they are a single claimant or a couple who are both over State Pension age, they will be able to claim Pension Credit (or see their Pension Credit increase when they stop receiving Tax Credits). If they are a Mixed Age Couple, they should seek expert advice

Vulnerable Claimants will not have Claim Closed due to Sanction

Added on 23rd January 2024

In the Autumn Statement the DWP announced that they would be closing the UC accounts of claimants who are only entitled to the Standard Allowance and who have disengaged from the Jobcentre for 6 months. The DWP have said that they are developing a process to ensure that claimants who have developed a vulnerability over these 6 months will not have their claim closed.

They have also confirmed that the loss passported benefits (e.g., free prescriptions) mentioned in the policy will be the result of the loss of UC so if the claimant continues to be entitled to them for a different reason (e.g., due a health condition), they will continue to receive them.

Managed Migration will Start Earlier than Planned in Mercia

Added on 18th January 2024

The managed migration of Tax Credit-only claimants in Mercia was due to start on 5th February 2024. But the DWP have announced that it will now be starting on 22nd January (i.e., it has been brought forward two weeks). It currently not clear whether other areas due to start Managed Migration in February have also been brought forward. For more on the Managed Migration timetable click here.

NEW ARTICLE: Important Decision for Mixed Age Couples Moving From IR-ESA to UC

Added on 11th January 2024

Where a couple's entitlement to IR-ESA ends because the older members turns State Pension age. The older member of the couple should not need to serve the 'relevant period' if they can be treated as having an LCWRA on UC

Claimants not entitled to a HCE if become a 'prisoner' in first MAP

Added on 2nd January 2024

The UC Regulations allow a single 'prisoner' to continue receiving the Housing Costs Element in UC if they were entitled to UC and receiving it immediately before becoming a ‘prisoner’. A Judge in the Upper Tribunal ruled that this does not apply where the claimant becomes a 'prisoner' within their first MAP because they have no previous entitlement to UC. Click here for more on 'prisoners'.

Managed Migration will be Rolled Out by Benefit Type

Added on 5th  December 2023

A letter published by Neil Couling details how the rollout of Managed Migration will develop from April 2024. He states that Migration Notices will be sent to

  • Income Support (& HB) claimants from April to June
  • Income-Related ESA and Child Tax Credit (& HB) claimants from July to September
  • Income-Based JSA (& HB) claimants in September
  • Tax Credit and Housing Benefit claimants from April
  • Housing Benefit-only claimants after TC & HB claimants
Click here for more on the rollout on Managed Migration.

Managed Migration deadlines extended for Christmas

Added on 15th November 2023

The DWP have confirmed that where a claimant's Migration Notice deadline would have fallen between 11th December 2023 and 5th January 2024 have automatically had their deadlines extended by 30 days.

Support for areas flooded by Storm Babet

Added on 27th October 2023

The DWP have announced that

  • flooded households can apply for up to £500 case to help with immediate costs
  • households and businesses significantly affected by flooding will be eligible for 100% council tax and business rates relief for at least three months
  • small-to-medium businesses will be eligible for up to £2,500 from the Business Recovery Grant
  • eligible flood-hit property owners will be able to apply for up to £5,000 to help make their homes and businesses more resilient to flooding via the Property Flood Resilience Repair Grant Scheme
Click here for more on support after Storm Babet.

Scottish Government announces 'fund to leave'

Added on 23rd October 2023

The Scottish Government has announced that the £500,000 fund will be delivered by Women's Aid groups in the five Local Authority areas with the most women's homelessness applications due to domestic abuse (Glasgow City, Edinburgh, North and South Lanarkshire and Fife. Women can apply to the fund by contacting one of the participating Women's Aid groups or Scottish Women's Aid. The fund will provide help with rent and clothes etc. For more on the 'fund to leave' click here.

NEW ARTICLE: Backdating claims for Universal Credit - the current position

Added on 12th October 2023

How far back can a claim go and what is the time limit to make such a request? We explore these issues as well as outlining the current case law regrading time limits in this article.

Delays to increasing conditionality

Added on 6th October 2023

The DWP is prioritising the Targeted Case Review project which is reviewing claims made during the pandemic for fraud and error. This means that they are focusing their recruitment drive on this project and moving staff over from other areas. This is worsening a staffing crisis within the DWP says the PCS union.

Consequently, the Union says that the DWP have agreed some easements to reduce the workload of overstretched Work Coaches. There are -

  • delaying the introduction of the in-work progression conditionality offer for claimants in the 'Light Touch' regime
  • reducing the work coach impact of the lead carer conditionality measure to increase work-focused interviews for lead carers of children aged one and two 
  • reducing work coach contact for Work and Health Programme and Intensive Personalised Employment Support participants from fortnightly to once every four weeks

Sure Start Maternity Grant for Ukranian and Afghan Refugees

Added on 26th September 2023

Normally, claimants can only claim the SSMG if they have no other children under 16 and they make their claim within 6 months of the baby being born. But if they have come to the UK from Ukraine or Afghanistan as a result of the conflicts in those places, they can claim the SSMG even if they have other children from before moving to the UK. Additionally, the DWP will allow these claimants until 8th December 2023 to make their claim for SSMG - even if this is over 6 months after the birth.

Managed Migration: New Areas and Claimants

Added on 12th September 2023

The DWP have announced the next areas for Managed Migration. From October 2023, Notices will be sent in South East Wales (including Cardiff) and Central Scotland (including Glasgow). Additionally, the DWP have confirmed their plan to expand the discovery phase beyond Tax Credit-only claimants with approximately 2,000 Migration Notices being sent out from September 2023.

Changes for New-Style / Contributory Jobseeker's Allowance Claimants

Added on 13th September 2023

The DWP have accepted some proposals put forward by the Social Security Advisory Committee in relation to NS-JSA. These are: introducing a UC-style diary for NS-JSA claimants and making sure that they have access to the same employment programmes as those on UC. The SSAC also recommended further steps to combine UC with the New-Style benefits but the DWP rejected these.

DLA to CDP Transfer Progress

Added on 10th August 2023

The transfer from DLA to CDP is now more than 99% complete. However, the average processing time for new claimants is still more than 100 days - with 16% of applications taking more than 140 days to be processed.

NEW ARTICLE - Increased Conditionality for Parents

Added on 3rd August2023

Check out our new article on increased conditionality for parents here

DWP has Launched Trial Campaign for Pension Credit Take-up

Added on 20th July 2023

The DWP have launched the 'Invitation to Claim' trial attempting to encourage take-up of Pension Credit. Two thousand State Pension age Housing Benefit claimants across ten Local Authority areas will receive letters inviting them to apply for Pension Credit. More from the DWP on 'Invitation to Claim' here.

Changes to DLA Presence Test

Added on 7th July 2023

New Guidance has been issued to explain changes to DLA brought about by the introduction of Child Disability Payment in Scotland. To be entitled to DLA (unless they have an ongoing award), claimants must be present in England, Wales or Northern Ireland - this has been changed from GB. However, the Past Presence Test is unaltered (i.e. they will satisfy the Past Presence Test if they have been living anywhere in GB including Scotland. If someone on DLA moves to Scotland, they will retain their entitlement for approximately 13 weeks. If they are awaiting a decision on a DLA claim when they move to Scotland, the DWP should decide their claim as though they satisfy the Presence Test. Find the guidance on the DLA presence test here.

ADM Guidance on Changes to UC Childcare Element

Added on 27th June 2023

New ADM guidance clarifies the changes to the UC Childcare Element that will take place from 28th June 2023. Firstly, the maximum rates will increase to £950.92 for one child and £1,630.15 for two or more children. Additionally, where a claimant is taking up paid work or increasing their hours of work, is required to pay for childcare before they can get help with in from UC, and is less likely to take up work / increased hours because of this, they can get help with this payment from both the Flexible Support fund and the UC Childcare Costs Element Click here for more on the Childcare Costs Element and click here for the ADM Guidance on changes to the Childcare Costs Element.

New Areas for Managed Migration in July

Added on 26th May 2023

The DWP have announced that Migration Notices will start to be sent in Durham and Tees Valley, Kent, North London and East Anglia from July 2023. They also announced that they are starting a 'discovery phase' for couples.

June Areas for Managed Migration

Added on 25th April 2023

The DWP have announced that Migration Notices will start being sent in Greater Manchester and East Yorkshire and the Humber in June 2023. They also announced their intention to have Managed Migration rolled out to every Jobcentre in the country by the end of March 2024.

Terminal Illness Rules for PIP, DLA and AA

Added on 3rd April 2023

The Special Rules for End of Life (SREL) are going to be extended to PIP, DLA and AA from today. This means that claimants will be considered to be 'terminally ill' for the benefits if their death can reasonably be expected within 12 months (extended from 6). SREL already apply to UC and ESA.

New areas for Managed Migration announced

Added on 28th March 2023

From 17th April 2023, 500 Migration Notices will be sent out to Tax Credit-only claimants living in Andersonstown and Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. Additionally, Migration Notices will begin to be sent in Avon, Somerset and Gloucest in April 2023 and in East London and Cheshire from May 2023. Future locations will be announced 2 months before Notices begin being sent.

More managed migration notices sent out in cornwall

Added on 27th February 2023

Migration notices were sent out to Tax Credit-only claimants in various areas in Cornwall from 13th and 20th February.

Click here for more on managed migration or click here to learn more about our webinar on 14th March.

Excluding cohabiting couples without children from bereavement benefits

Added on 2nd February 2023

Entitlement to bereavement benefits will soon be extended to cohabiting couples with children as excluding them was found to be discriminatory against the children of parents who had not formed a legal union. However, if there are no children, an Upper Tribunal decision says there is no discrimination.

Click here for the decision and click here for more on bereavement benefits.

The Court of Appeal rejected the appeal against the DWP's decision not to apply the £20 uplift to 'legacy' benefits

Added on 17th January 2023

The CoA ruled that as the purpose of the £20 uplift was to support individuals who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, it was not a legal requirement to extend this to legacy benefits - even though these claimants will have suffered financial hardship.

Reduction is council tax liability for those recieving Council Tax Support

Added on 3rd January 2023

The government has released guidance for Local Authorities planning their 2023/4 CTS schemes advising that individuals with a council tax liability for 2023/4 after CTS should have this liability reduced by £25 (or to £nil if their remaining liability is under £25).

Click here for more on CTS and click here for the gov.uk guidance.

The DWP have released a report on the first 499 claimants sent migration notices

Added on 16th January 2023

To read more click here.

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