Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Newsletters: November 2019

November 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to our latest newsletter - bringing you right up to date with useful benefit information.

In this issue find out more about:

  • Human Rights- Supreme Court Decision
  • Paid early at Christmas?- reducing the impact on UC claimants
  • Mixed aged Couples and Children- a recent query
  • General Election:- what the main Parties are promising...
  • EEA:- EU Settlement Scheme delays and date of decision.
  • New Tools- Summary sheets and our new Student Mapping Tool
  • E-Learning Zone- Subscribe now!

  • Your chance toWIN £50for your localFOOD BANKand chocolates for you!
Human Rights &the
Bedroom Tax (and more!)

The Supreme Court - looking at a Bedroom Tax case - has ruled that secondary legislation can be "disapplied" (ie ignored) where it conflicts with the Human Rights Act.

The judgement makes it clear that where secondary* legislation breaches the claimant’s Human Rights, a decision maker has the right to disapply a provision of that secondary legislation:indeed it appears to impose a duty on public bodies to act in such a manner.
So this is no longer an issue solely for Judicial Review.

*Secondary legislation includes the UC Regulations as well as the HB Regulations (as opposed to primary legislation such as the Welfare Reform Act ie an Act of Parliament).

This decision does not mean that the Bedroom Tax as a whole breaches Human Rights and is therefore unlawful – but makes it easier for those claimants who are affected by the Bedroom Tax to challenge it if they believe that in their situation the application of it breaches their Human Rights.

Some claimants living in a 'Sanctuary Scheme' or living in adapted/purpose build properties for whom it would be too difficult to move,can now appeal a Bedroom Tax reduction on the grounds that it breaches their Human Rights direct to their Local Authority / DWP.

CLICK HERE: For more info and Standard Letters in our Briefing
Paid early at Christmas?
Reducing the impact on UC claimants....
Some employers pay their employees earlier than usual over the Christmas period. This can be for a number of reasons.

This can then affect a UC claimant's entitlement to UC if it means that they receive this early payment in a different Monthly Assessment Period to normal.

HMRC have confirmed that where an employer pays early over the Christmas period, they should report the normal (or contractual) payday as the payment date on their Full Payment Submission (FPS) and ensure that the FPS is submitted on or before this date.Click here.

For example: if they pay their employees on Friday 20th December 2019 but the normal/contractual payment date is Tuesday 31st December 2019, they can report the payment date on the FPS as 31st December and ensure the submission is sent on or before 31st December.

Read more - Click here
In our September 2019 newsletter we suggested that those UC claimants who have issues with their UC entitlement - due to the way their wages and UC Monthly Assessments fall - could end their UC claim and make a new one and this would change their UC Assessment dates and rectify the issues.
Whilst we are aware that some claimants have been successful at doing this, UC Regulations actually state then when a claimant claims again after a previous claim has ended, and it is less than 6 months since their old award ended, their new Monthly Assessment Periods will be the same as they were before.

(Reg 21, UC Regulations 2013).

Recent query about...
Mixed age couples
& children
I am helping a mixed age couple who are getting Pension Credit and Housing Benefit. They have recently taken guardianship of their granddaughter and she has moved into the property so they contacted Tax Credits/DWP who advised them they would need to claim Universal Credit. Is that correct?

They could claim UC - but that is not the best advice for them!
Instead of claiming UC they should contact the Pension Service and ask for an additional amount for a child in their Pension Credit.
Whereas, if they claim UC, they will be over£600 per month worse off!

More information here

General Election
- Party Pledges

These are just some of the welfare reform pledges made by the key political parties in their manifestos for the December 2019 general election:

  • Continue to protect the vulnerable.
  • Increase benefits in line with inflation from April 2020.
  • Scrap Universal Credit and introduce an emergency package of reforms.
  • Immediately stop moving people onto UC.
  • Make housing cost payments directly to landlords.
  • Suspend the current sanctions regime.
  • Scrap the Benefit Cap.
  • Scrap the Two Child Limit, so ending the ‘rape clause’.
  • Scrap the Bedroom Tax.
  • Increase the Local Housing Allowance.
  • Increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group.
  • Increase Carer’s Allowance to the level of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Reduce the wait for the first payment of UC from five weeks to five days.
  • Remove the Two Child Limit.
  • Remove the Benefit Cap.
  • Increase work allowances and introducing a second earner work allowance.
  • Establish a legal right to food
  • Reform Universal Credit to be more supportive of the self-employed.
  • Increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area.
  • Abolish the Bedroom Tax and introduce positive incentives for people to downsize.
  • Separate employment support from benefits administration.
  • Overhaul the Bereavement Allowance to give more support and to extend it to unmarried couples when a parent dies.
  • Phase in (by 2025) a Universal Basic Income – an unconditional financial payment to everyone at a level above their subsistence needs. It will be paid to everyone unconditionally without regard to employment status.
  • Replace UC and JSA (and “a large range of variously means-tested benefits” with the UBI.
  • Tackle the five-week delay in getting a payment.
  • Scrap the benefits freeze.
  • Lead the fight against the Two Child Limit on tax credits and the associated rape clause.
  • Establish the Best Start Grant.
  • Introduce the Scottish Child Payment.
Read the full list here

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EEA Nationals
- waiting for Settled Status

The EU Settlement Scheme enables some EEA nationals and certain family members who are already living in the UK before Brexit (or before the deadline to apply) for a new immigration status - "Settled Status under UK immigration law".

If they're given settled status this enables them to receive benefits under the same rules that currently apply to British Citizens.

EEA Nationals and their family members need to apply for Settled Status to retain their rights to benefits after 2020.

We have heard that there is currently a backlog of applications and even the simplest appear to be taking 2-3 months. In urgent situations claimants can ring the EUSS helpline 0300 790 0566.

Recent question
I have a query regarding one of our tenants.Here is a summary of her circumstances:
•Tenant split up with her partner and moved into one of our properties.She made a claim for UC.
•UC claim – not paid as she failed the Habitual Residence Test.
•Tenant has recently been awarded Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, she has notified the UC dept but has yet to receive a UC payment.
I would like to know whether her UC payment is likely to be backdated to the date she made her UC claim or from the date she received Settled Status?

She will need to make a new UC claim.
To be awarded UC, the claimant must have met all the key claiming criteria on the date they made their claim and Settled Status is only effective from the date it is granted.
So, now that she has Settled Status – she should make a new UC claim.
She might still want to challenge the decision to refuse her previous claim, if the UC dept missed a different ‘status’ that would mean she had the ‘right to reside’.

CLICK HERE: For more information on the Settlement Scheme
Have you seen our new tools?

New summary sheets:
CLICK HERE to see all our UC summary sheets

New Mapping Tool:
Short video of student mapping tool
This mapping tool helps you work
out which students
can receive
Universal Credit.

Take a look at this video showing someone working their way through it.

Note the video opens up in a new window.
CLICK HERE to see all our mapping tools
New E-Learning Zone
Our new E-Learning zone is nearly ready...

We've been working hard on developing E-learning courses aimed at housing professionals and benefit advisers.

You can have specialised E-Learning courses about Universal Credit at your fingertips for all your staff to enjoy.

Developed by experts in the field.

CLICK HERE to learn more

Your chance to
win £50for your local food bank

Every month we give you the chance to win £50 for your local 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.

Well done to the October winner - Sabine Isaac from The Royal British Legion, Liverpool Office- a £50 cheque is making its way to her chosen food bank.

To enter this month's competition, just email the answer to the question below to us by Friday 20th December 2019 for your chance to win.

This month's quiz .....

Ash claimed UC when he moved home last year.
He has recently received a lump sum payment of more than £9000 which is arrears of ESA - he had been underpaid due to a DWP error.

The lower savings limit for UC is £6000.

Will the lump sum count as capital when Ash's UC award is calculated?

Find the answer on the website here.

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

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