16th August 2022: Harrow is the next location that 'manage migration' will be rolled out. In an email to stakeholders the DWP revealed that 250 claimants in the London Borough of Harrow will receive 'migration notices' from 'mid-August'. The email also stated that they do not expect to announce any more locations during the summer. Click here for more on managed migration.
11th August 2022: Applications for the £500 payment to unpaid carers in Wales to reopen from 15th August 2022 - 2nd September 2022. Eligible carers (i.e. those who were receiving Carer's Allowance on 31st March 2022) should contact their Local Authority within the three week window to register for the payment.
8th August 2022: 114,000 claimants will be moved into Intensive Work Search Regime by Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) increase. Claimants in the all work-related requirements group who are earnings below the AET are in the Intensive Work Search regime where they are expected to comply with work search and availability requirements. The increase to the AET that will happen from 26th September will move 114,000 claimants from the 'Light Tough regime' into this group. Click here for more.
8th August 2022: Claimants cannot receive UC payment until they have been allocated a National Insurance Number. New caselaw has determined that claimants must be allocated a NINo before they can receive a UC payment. It was previously believed that they were entitled to receive a payment after providing the evidence necessary to be allocated a NINo. Click here for more information and click here for the caselaw.
29th July 2022: Victims of domestic abuse and modern slavery who will be exempt from the Shared Accommodation Rate of Local Housing Allowance for UC and HB will need to self-identify. Rules in place from October 2022 mean that these groups will be exempt but the DWP have confirmed that they will need to raise the issue themselves to have the exemption applied. There will not be any prompts on the claim - though the rule should be included in Work Coach guidance.
20th July 2022: Welsh fuel support eligibility criteria extended. This autumn / winter eligibility for support with fuel costs will be extended to include households on child tax credits, pension credits, disability benefits, carers allowance, contributory benefits and those receiving help from the council tax reduction scheme to pay their council tax bill.
15th June 2022: More than half of the households with someone assessed as having LCW/LCWRA has deductions from their award in February 2022. Click here for the HoC written answer and click here for more on what deductions can be taken from a UC award.
14th June 2022: Latest PIP statistics released show drop in successful MR requests back to pre-Covid levels with 29% being successful. Click here for the statistics.
13th June 2022: PIP claimants in Scotland start to be transferred onto Adult Disability Payment. The transfer is automatic at the same rate and Social Security Scotland will work with the DWP to ensure no gaps. The transfer will begin in the current pilot areas, expanded across Scotland in August and due for completion summer 2024. More about Adult Disability Payment here. Case transfer guide available here.
10th June 2022: Registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists to be able to issue Fit Notes. In force from 1st July 2022, new Regulations extend the categories of people who can issue fit notes. Click here for the Regulations.
10th June 2022: More than half of all households with children on UC were subject to deductions in February 2022. Over a million households with children were subject to deductions with more than half of them having deductions at a rate of 21-25%. A further 61,000 had a deduction rate of more than 25%. Click here for the HoC written answer and click here for more on what deductions can be taken from a UC award.
9th June 2022: Changes to Bereavement Support Payment making slow progress. Draft Regulations to extend BSP and widowed parent's allowance to cohabiting partners with dependant children are unlikely to be passed until at least the Autumn. Click here for more on bereavement benefits.
30th May 2022: EEA nationals' right to reside as 'self-sufficient' or 'self-sufficient student'. On March 10th 2022, the CJEU in C-247/20 VI ruled that access to NHS healthcare DOES count as comprehensive sickness insurance, and that previous refusals on the basis that it did not, were incorrect. More here.
27th May 2022: Scottish Carer's Assistance will begin to be rolled out by the end of 2023. Full national roll out should begin in Spring 2024. Click here for the announcement and here for more information of Scottish devolved benefits.
26th May 2022: Package of measures to support those with low incomes / the most vulnerable announced. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, outlined the package of measures including Cost of Living Payments for many benefit claimants and pensioner households - click here for more information and here for the government page.
20th May 2022: Some claimants awaiting a work capability assessment will receive ‘additional work coach support’. A trial of the additional support will begin across a third of the country on June 14th. If claimants start working / earning the equivalent of 16 hours a week at minimum wage before their first WCA and are not receiving PIP / ADP / DLA / CDP, they will be treated as fit for work. Click here for more on disabled workers and here for the DWP statement.
18th May 2022: More information on 'managed migration discovery phase. Claimants who miss the deadline for applying for Universal Credit during the managed migration 'discovery phase' will be given a minimum one month extension and the DWP will take 'proactive engagement' with the claimant. Additionally, 'particularly vulnerable and / or complex groups' will intially be excluded from the process. Click here for the briefing or click here for more on managed migration.
10th May 2022: Where a claimant needs to ‘piggyback’ on an EEA National ex-partner against who they have a non-molestation order, a First-Tier Tribunal could enable the DWP to retrieve the information. But the judge highlights that when an adviser requests this, they should demonstrate that they have made all reasonable endeavours to get the information. Click here for more information on obtaining evidence for piggybacking.
10th May 2022: Manage migration restarting in Bolton and Medway. To begin with 250 claimants in each area are expected to receive notices giving them three months to claim Universal Credit. Click here for more on managed migration.
10th May 2022: Children of UC claimants will remain entitled to free school meals until they finish the phase of schooling (primary or secondary) they’re in on 31st March 2023. Previous guidance stated they would remain entitled until they finish the phase of schooling they were in when UC is fully rolled out – expected to be 2024. Click here for more on free school meals.
3rd May 2022: CPAG is requesting examples where the DWP have failed to have regard for claimant's disabilities or make appropriate reasonable adjustments. For their Early Warning System click here.
5th April 2022: Guidance confirms that the £350 "thank you" payment for those hosting Ukrainians has no effect on bedroom tax, LHA rates, non dependent deductions/UC housing cost cntributions, or DHPs. HB Adjudication Circular 4/2022 here. More on the Ukraine schemes and UC here.
5th April 2022: New form for terminally ill claimants. Terminally ill claimants can now be treated as having a LCWRA if they are reasonably expected to die within 12 months. In these cases, their clinician should fill out a SR1 form. Due to parliamentary process, the extension of end of life rules has not yet been applied to PIP/DLA/AA so clinicians of claimants who are reasonably expected to die within 6 months should fill out the DS1500 (instead of the SR1) as this applies to UC / ESA / PIP / DLA / AA. Click here for more on terminally ill claimants or click here for more on the change from the DWP.
5th April 2022: The DWP are reviewing claims for PIP made by hearing-impaired claimants on or after 21st August 2020. Following an upper tribunal decision, hearing-impaired claimants may be able to get 2 points for washing and bathing if they need a visual alarm system (as they would be unable to hear a fire alarm etc). DWP are reviewing cases made on or after 21st August 2020 (from when the rules are in place) to see if claims should have had a different outcome. Click here for more from the DWP.
5th April 2022: Energy companies will not be able to request deductions from benefits for ongoing liability. In response to the energy crisis, the government are going to suspend the ability of energy companies to make requests for Fuel Direct deductions for one year. Claimants will still be able to request them themselves. Click here for more on third party deductions from UC.
5th April 2022: Upper Tribunal confirms that where a claimant fails to accept a revised claimant commitment, the DWP should not close the award: there is no legal basis to allow this. Instead if the claimant fails to attend/participate in an interview to review new commitments, with no good reason, the DWP should consider whether or not a sanction should be applied. Upper Tribunal Decision FO v SSWP (UC) UKUT 56 (AAC) CUC/1792/2020
28th March 2022: Covid-19-related easements to statutory sick pay rules ending from 25th March. The waiting days for SSP will be reinstated and those who are self-isolating will no longer be deemed incapable of work. Click here for the Regs.
28th March 2022: Social Security benefit rates for 2022/23 confirmed. The proposed rates announced last November have now been laid. Most benefits are being increased by 3.1% and from 11th April 2022. Click here for our benefit rate guides and click here for the Regs.
11th March 2022: Payments from energy rebate scheme will be disregarded as capital for 12 months. In England, these payments will take the form of a £150 Council Tax rebates for households in bands A-D and will be paid by Local Authorities from April 2022. Click here for more on which capital is disregarded and click here for the Regs.
11th March 2022: Claimants who were underpaid ESA on transfer from incapacity benefits may have also been underpaid Housing Benefit. There were 112,000 identified cases where ESA was not paid upon migration when it should have been and the DWP is now looking at whether these claimants were underpaid HB as a result of the error - as if the ESA had been in place, they would have been entitled to passported HB at the maximum rate. Local Authorities will be notified of these cases between 14-18th March and are expected to pay any arrears due by 30th June. Click here for more in the LA Welfare Direct Bulletin.
10th March 2022: 'Relevant threshold' for UC surplus earnings rules will stay at £2,500 until 31st March 2023. The threshold is expected to drop to £300 but this has been delayed by another year 'to safeguard the efficient administration of universal credit'. Click here for more on surplus earnings and click here for the announcement.
10th February 2022: Roll out of Adult Disability Payment in Scotland to begin on 21st March 2022. The Scottish Parliament approved Regulations that new claimants in certain areas of Scotland will be able to make claims for ADP from 21st March. The plan is for it to be rolled out nationwide from 29th August 2022. The entitlement rules are similar to PIP. Click here for the policy paper.
3rd February 2022: Case law confirms that a UC claim cannot be withdrawn after it has been accepted. The judge ruled that the claimant could not withdraw his claim for UC (and therefore have his Housing Benefit reinstated) because the DWP had accepted his claim and issued a 'stop notice' to the Local Authority - this happened within 2 hours of his claim. Click here for more on stop notices. Click here for the judgement.
1st February 2022: The Welsh Government are doubling the winter fuel support payment to £200. Existing recipients do not need to do anything and should receive the extra £100 soon. Any who is yet to apply has until 28th February to apply.
31st January 2022: The High Court has dismissed a judicial review challenge to the disabled student rules on UC. The challenge was made before the latest amendments to the rules, but the judge decided that the DWP's policy aim was not irrational or discriminatory. The current rules prevent disabled students from claiming UC unless they were found to have a LCW before starting their course. Click here for more on the rule. Click here for the judgement.
28th January 2022: Increase in Carer's Allowance earnings limit in Scotland. From 11th April, a Carer's Allowance claimant in Scotland will be able to earn up to £132 a week (up from £128) before they are considered 'gainfully employed' and prevented from claiming the benefit. Click here for the Regs.
27th January 2022: UC claimants will be required to widen their job search to outside of their preferred sector after 4 weeks of jobseeking. Previously, UC claimants have been able to restrict their job search to their preferred sector for 3 months. The move is part of a DWP push to get more people in work and fill a record number of vacancies in the job market. Claimants who fail to widen their search appropriately could be sanctioned.
26th January 2022: Claimants with a terminal illness will not need to sign a claimant commitment for Universal Credit or ESA. New Regulations in effect from 15th February 2022 explicitly state that claimants with a terminal illness do not need to sign a claimant commitment - before this, it was at the discretion of the Work Coach to decide whether the illness amounted to 'exceptional circumstances'. Click here for more on the claimant commitment in UC and click here for the amending Regs.
26th January 2022: Citizens Advice to deliver the UC Help to Claim service for a further 12 months
21st January 2022: Lack of compensation for claimants who lose the enhanced disability premium and/or the child tax credit disabled child element upon migrating to UC ruled unlawful by the High Court. The court upheld that the sudden drop in income experienced by claimants who naturally migrate to UC constitutes unlawful discrimination. The judge suggested that having 6 rates of the Transitional SDP Element to include extra for claimants who were receiving the EDP would be a reasonable way to avoid discrimination. Click here for more on the ruling from Leigh Day (the solicitors who represented two of the claimants) and click here for more on the TSDPE.