News & Updates
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Welcome to this month's newsletter - bringing you right up to date with useful benefit information.
If an EEA national needs to make a claim for Universal Credit, they will need to attend a Habitual Residence Test interview at the Jobcentre.The purpose of the interview is to establish whether the EEA national is eligible to claim UC. There are a series of questions to establish if the claimant is 'actually habitually resident' and has a 'right to reside' or if they have 'permanent residence' status.The problem for claimants is that, until they are able to prove their status, they cannot receive any Universal Credit or receive an Advance Payment. Often, they attend the interview without knowing what information and evidence is needed. They then have to obtain and supply the evidence after the interview and wait until their case is referred to a decision maker. Delays in getting a decision can leave them without any money for weeks or even months.So we have come up with a set of letters to help claimants get the evidence together and go prepared to their HRT interview - to speed up the process.The letters list the documents which could be used as evidence and also state the regulations for each Right to Reside 'status'.
On May 15th 2019 the Supreme Court ruled, by a 5:2 majority, to refuse an appeal against the benefit cap for single parents with children aged under two.
This means that the Benefit Cap can be applied to single parents with small children. This is despite the aim of the cap being to incentivise people to look for work, and under the benefit regulations lone parents with young children are not expected to be in work.
What was the basis of the appeal?
The appeal to the Supreme Court was made up of two originally separate appeals: R(DS & others) v SSWP – brought by CPAG on behalf of two single parent families, and R(DA and Others) v SSWP. The appeal was heard by a seven judge panel.
The appellants' argument was that the Cap discriminates against lone parents with young children, and that such discrimination is irrational and breaches the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions' obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
This is because parents with young children have less opportunity to work because of their caring responsibilities, and frequently have additional pressures. In the cases considered, some of the children had long term medical conditions; one family had previously fled violence.
The judges considered whether any discrimination against single parent families with young children was justifiable. Lady Hale argued that the government failed to strike a fair balance between the benefits of the Cap and the severe damage to the lives of such families where the parents have to choose between working outside the home and not having enough for the family to live on.
But the majority (5:2) conclusion was that the government’s belief - that there are better long-term outcomes for children in households where an adult works - is a reasonable foundation for treating such families in the same way as everyone else subjected to the Cap.More info here