Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Newsletters: March 2017

March 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to this month's newsletter - bringing you right up to date with useful benefit information.

In this issue find out more about:

  • The changes from April- quick links to the detail on our website.
  • Changes for families April 2017 -Regulations are published
  • Update on Housing Costs for 18-21 year olds- this change does NOT AFFECT those on Housing Benefit.
  • Changes to the PIP Regulations-Amendments to two of the 'activities' in the disability test from 16th March.
  • Universal Credit - Problems with Housing Costs-When a joint tenant leaves
  • Bereavement Support Payment- New Regulations confirm the details of this Welfare Reform change.
  • Universal Credit - Childcare Costs -Providing receipts so the Childcare Cost Element can be paid.
  • Details of our Open Training Courses- get yourself booked on!

As well as:

  • Your chance to WIN £50 for your local FOOD BANK, and chocolates for you!
  • This month's really useful standard letter.
Welfare Reform Timeline
Click here for our updated timeline

Changes for Families
Regulations Published!
The long-awaited Regulations have now been published.

Two child limit - in brief:
  • Unless certain exceptions apply:
  • In Child Tax Credit no extra child element for any child born on or after 6th April 2017 if there are already 2 or more dependent children in the household unless an exception applies.
  • In Housing Benefit the default rule is no extra child allowance for any additional children to the household on or after 6th April 2017 / limit to two child allowances for any new claim for Housing Benefit made on or after 6th April 2017 UNLESS the claimant's Child Tax Credit award includes a child element for that child.
  • and
  • For existing Universal Credit claimants - the general rule is no extra child element for any new dependent children in the household if there are already 2 or more in the award, regardless of when they were born, however,
  • During the period from 6th April 2017 - 31st October 2018 there will be protection in the UC rules to mirror the CTC rules - ie if a 3rd or subsequent child or young person comes to live in the claimant's household a child element will be included if they were born before 6 April 2017.
  • New claims for Universal Credit from families with 3 or more children will be directed to claim legacy benefits instead, even in Full (Digital) Service areas (although claimants who have been on UC previously may have to make a new claim for UC - we are currently reviewing the Regulations to work out which claimants this will apply to).
  • Exclusions will apply in certain circumstances, such as multiple births, adoptions, families caring for children who would otherwise be in local authority care, born as a result of non-consensual conception.
Click here for more details.

If you want to find out more about this complex change to the benefit rules to ensure your tenants don't miss out -get booked on to one of our half day workshops- one in Manchester and one in London - more details below.

Other Changes

The Regulations also confirm that in Child Tax Credit there will be no Family Element in the award if the first child is born on or after 6th April 2017.

In Universal Credit, the Regulations are also amended so that the higher amount of the Child Element for the eldest child is abolished for claimants whose first child is born after 6th April 2017; they will get the child element at £235.83 instead of £290.00 per month.

There are also amendments to the Child Tax Credit Regulations to create a separate disability element. Previously a higher child element was paid for a disabled or severely disabled child or young person. In order that the disability element can still be paid to a 3rd or subsequent child for whom a basic element is not paid, the 2 elements will be separate from 6th April 2017.
Housing Costs for 18 - 21 Year Olds
The Regulations for this Welfare Reform have now been published -
and we have been receiving a large number of queries about this!
So,we have added some FAQs and some examples to the website
Our flowchart has also been updated.
Click here.

Changes to
PIP Regulations

from 16th March 2017

In response to two Upper Tribunal decisions, in which the judges interpreted the law in a way that could mean more generous Personal Independence Payment (PIP) awards than the government originally intended, the government has announced changes to the Regulations in order to clarify their original intention.

The changes affect the mobility activity ‘Planning and Following Journeys’ and the daily living activity 'Managing Therapy or Monitoring a Health Condition' and apply to decisions made on or after 16th March 2017.

Planning and Following Journeys
The change will mainly affect those whose anxiety-related condition is the reason they cannot go out alone.
The change introduces clearer limitations for some of the descriptors by adding the wording‘for reasons other than psychological distress.’
For more details click here.

Managing Therapy or Monitoring a Health Condition
An Upper Tier Judge decided that if someone needed help with both taking mediation and monitoring their health condition, then this could be included in the ordinary meaning of 'therapy', and therefore, instead of only being able to score 1 point, it would be possible to score between 2 and 8 points from descriptors (c) to (f).

In response,the government has amended the wording in the descriptor 3(b) and the definitions in the regulations to clarify that 'therapy' does not include taking medication. Click here for more information.

Benefit Rates Pocket Guides 2017/18
Our handy folding pocket benefit rate guides are at the printers....
Watch for yours arriving in the post over the next few weeks.

Bereavement Support Payment

The government has now published the Regulations for the new Bereavement Support Payment which will replace the current bereavement benefits (Bereavement Allowance, Widowed Parent's Allowance and Bereavement Payment) for those who are bereaved from 6th April 2017.
More details here.
Our 'Hot Topic' Workshops - get booked on!

The following Half-Day Workshops are available:


Welfare Benefits for Families:The changing landscape
Monday 3rd April 2017- Manchester
half day - 9.45am to 12.45pm
Click here for outline and here for more details


Limited Capacity ESA & UC: The problem areas
Monday 3rd April 2017- Manchester
half day - 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Click here for outline and here for more details


Welfare Benefits for Families:The changing landscape
Tuesday 11th April 2017- London
half day - 1.15pm to 4.30pm
Click here for outline and here for more details


Digital UC: What's different?
Tuesday 16th May 2017- Spennymoor
half day - 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Click here for more details

Book a place for £55+vat per delegate per half day session
(or come on two for £95+vat).

email info@housingsystems.co.uk

Universal Credit - Housing Costs when a joint tenant leaves
    We are aware of several cases where problems have arisen when one joint tenant has permanently left the property. The DWP has been refusing to increase the remaining joint tenant's Housing Cost Element until the joint tenancy is ended and a new one started, which may be inappropriate or could take several months.

    We believe the Universal Credit Regulations allow for the remaining tenant's Housing Cost Element to be increased, to reflect their liability for the whole of the rent,from the Monthly Assessment Period during which the other joint tenant leaves the household. Click here for more details.

    We have 'beefed up' our standard letters UC HCE3 and UC HCE3a - please let us know if you have success with them.
    New Open Course -
    Digital Universal Credit - the essentials

    Wednesday 26th April 2017
    9.30am - 4.30pm

    Click here for more details


    Book a place for £95+vat per delegate.

    email info@housingsystems.co.uk

    Your chance to
    win £50 for your local food bank

    Every month we give you the chance to win £50 for your local food bank.
    Well done to last month's winner -Caroline from STAR Housing - a £50 cheque is making its way to Bridgnorth Food Bank.

    The winner will be selected at random and can nominate a food bank of their choice to receive a £50 cheque from us, and will receive a box of chocolates for themselves.

    Just email the answer to the question below to us by Friday 21st April for your chance to win.

    This month’s question is:

    Housing Benefit claims should be backdated to the date a passport benefit has been awarded from where the claim for HB is made within one month of the claim for the passport benefit.
    This rule has become especially helpful for working age HB claimants where the HB backdate rules limit backdating to just one month from the date of request.
    It can mean that some claimants can get their HB backdated longer than a month.......

    Which of these passport benefits can be backdated three months without having to demonstrate good cause-

    1. Income Based Jobseekers Allowance?
    2. Income Support?
    3. Income Based Employment and Support Allowance?
    4. Universal Credit (for those living in specified accommodation)?

    Find your answer here

    email your answer to: info@housingsystems.co.uk

    This month's useful
    standard letter

    With hundreds of useful standard letters on the website it would be surprising if you were aware of all of them.So each month we are going to feature just one.

    This month we would like to remind you about two letters: UC CP36 and UC CP37.

    Tenants living in UC 'Live'/Gateway area scan use one of these letters if the Housing Benefit Office is refusing to accept their claim, insisting they should be claiming Universal Credit instead or think the '6 month rule' means they are classed as a UC claimant.

    Only certain people are classed as 'UC claimants' and therefore not able to make a new claim for HB in the 'Live'/Gateway areas. Click here for more information.

    Did you Know?

    How UC claimants report
    their childcare costs?

    Universal Credit claimants who pay for registered childcare to enable them to work can get a childcare cost element worth 85% of their childcare costs (up to a maximum limit).

    In order to qualify for the help claimants must have:
    • already paid for the childcare (ie their UC childcare cost element is a partial refund), and
    • reported how much they have paid within a strict time limit, and
    • provided evidence that they have paid for the childcare.
    Particular Issues under the 'Full' / Digital service

    Claimants under the 'Full' / Digital Service must report how much they have paid for childcare each month, by the end of their Monthly Assessment Period. They should do this via their UC account journal. However, they then need to provide the evidence. Currently, there is no facility to upload* childcare receipts electronically onto their UC account. Neither is there a facility to send evidence by post (as there is for non-digital Live Service claimants).

    *The DWP have said that they hope to have this facility available by the end of 2017.

    Claimants are being advised to present evidence of their childcare costs to their work coach. However, if they are unable to get to the Jobcentre (eg because they are working), they can agree with their work coach to send the childcare receipts in to the Jobcentre.

    Click here for more information.
    Would you like a...

    2017 Wall Planner?

    Free of charge!
    Email requests to info@housingsystems.co.uk
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