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Newsletters: January 2021

January 2021 Newsletter

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

In this issue find out more about:

  • End of the SDP Gateway from 27th Jan 2021 - the new Transitional SDP Element and what about those moving home w/c 25th January 2021?
     
  • EEA Nationals - new rules from 1st January 2021.
     
  • LCWRA Element - check the dates - some claimants could be due a back payment.
     
  • Scottish Child Payment - new payments start next month.
     
  • What's happening to the extra £20 UC/Tax Credits? 
     
  • Support for vulnerable children / young people - grants funded by the National Lottery.
     
  • New Standard Letter - useful for UC claimants living in sheltered housing.
     
  • Recent Question - all about UC when becoming a couple.
     
  • Your chance to WIN £50 for your local FOOD BANK and a box of chocolates for you!

New SDP Transitional protection rules
The disappearance of the Severe Disability Premium Gateway - from 27th January 2021 - means that:
  • IR-ESA / IB-JSA / IS / HB claimants who would previously have been protected from having to claim Universal Credit by their Severe Disability Premium will no longer be. So certain changes in their circumstances could trigger the need for them to claim UC.
     
  • Some who move to UC will get a Transitional SDP Element included when their UC award is assessed.
     
  • But this Element can be eroded over time, meaning when a claimant has certain changes - such as having a new baby or a rent increase - they may not receive any extra UC!
We have updated the pages of the website to reflect these new rules and the different way the Element works for those claiming UC on or after 27th January 2021 when compared to how it works for these who claimed before this date. Notably, both members of a separating couple can have the Transitional SDP Element in their single UC claims (assuming they satisfy the rules for it). Previously, the rules allowed the main claimant of IR-ESA / IB-JSA / IS to have the transitional protection in UC, but not their ex-partner.
Find out more here...
The SDP Gateway ends on 27th January 2021!

Why not book our

Beyond the SDP Gateway
Workshop?


To be delivered inhouse - click here for more info.
Moving home in the week the SDP Gateway ends?
When the SDP Gateway ceases to exist on 27th January, no new claims will be allowed for Housing Benefit (except from claimants in temporary or specified accommodation, or pension age single people / couples who are both pension age / 'protected' Mixed Age Couples).

What if someone who fails the SDP Gateway has a new tenancy starting on Monday 25th January?
If they 'fail' the SDP Gateway and:
  • Make their claim for HB on or before 26th January 2021, and
  • Move in (or are treated as moving in) on the Monday 25th or Tuesday 26th at the latest
then their claim should be accepted.

What if they don't move in until 27th January 2021 or after?
When moving home - and making a new claim for HB - HB is only awarded from the day the claimant moves in, if they move in that week. (Or, in very limited circumstances, the claimant can be treated as moving in that week, eg. if awaiting disabled adaptations). 
Otherwise it would be awarded from the Monday after.
So, we think that if the day they move in is on or after 27th January 2021 then the HB Office would have to reject the claim as their HB award would start from a date when the SDP Gateway no longer applies.

EEA Nationals: new rules from 1st January 2021

The UK formally left the European Union (EU) on 31st January 2020 and entered a transition period during which most EU laws continued in force. This meant that EEA Nationals could continue to live, work and access benefits and services in the UK as they did before exit day.

This transition period ended on 31st December 2021, and EU laws no longer apply to the UK.

The UK left the EU through the Withdrawal Agreement, which provided for an orderly exit and transition to the future relationship with the EU. It also introduced the EU Settlement Scheme to enable most EEA Nationals (and certain family members) who were already living in the UK on or before 31st December 2020 to retain the rights they had gained whilst GB was a member of the EU.

These EEA Nationals (and certain family members) have until 30th June 2021 to apply. Any EEA National now wishing to come to the UK to live, work or study (apart from those allowed to join an EEA National already living in the UK) will need to apply for leave to remain under new immigration rules (a points based system). The new system treats EEA and non-EEA Nationals equally.

We have been working flat out to update the pages on our website.

A system that was already pretty complicated has just become more complex.

Watch out for our EEA National and UC 'special' that we shall be sending out in the next couple of weeks highlighting the key changes, risk areas and improvements made to the website.

Want to know more about:

EEA Nationals, UC and the implications of Brexit?

Book onto our Blended Learning course
Just £79+vat for an E-Learning course and Workshop!
 Click here for more info.

LCWRA Element - check those dates!

If someone makes a new claim for Universal Credit because they have become sick, or they were already on UC but have since become sick, they need to have a Work Capability Assessment. If they are found to have (or treated as having) a limited capability for work and work related activities, the LCWRA Element should be added to their UC assessment after the 'relevant period' (except for those who fall under special rules for terminal illness).

We have heard of many claimants who have missed out on the LCWRA Element for periods of their UC award - because the DWP have input the incorrect date for the start of their 'relevant period'. 

They should make sure they receive arrears of UC!

The good news is that because this will often be due to a DWP error, there is no time limit to challenge the mistake and get it fixed. 

Many claimants may be due back pay that could help maintain a budget and rent payments through these difficult times.

Click here for more information on our Hot Topic

Scottish Child Payments 

The new Scottish Child Payment is £10 per week for every child under six for households with children and in receipt of a qualifying benefit (Universal Credit, Legacy Benefits and/or Pension Credit).
It does not affect other benefits.
It will be paid from 15 February 2021 but applications have been open since 9 November 2020.
The Scottish Government aims to extend the scheme to children under 16 by the end of 2022.
How to apply here

What's happening to the extra £20 pw UC/Tax Credits?
Due to the Coronavirus, last March, the government made the decision to increase the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit by £20 a week - but this was limited to just one tax year. 

Unless the government decide to extend this addition, UC and Tax Credit claimants will see a significant drop in their income come April 2021.

It has been reported that the government is reluctant to extend the additional £20, and the proposed benefit rates that were published in December 2020 did not include an increase - click here. However, these still need parliamentary approval. 

There have certainly been calls for the increase to be extended - to the Autumn, or as long as the lockdown continues. Another option that may be considered is replacing the £20 a week increase for everyone on Universal Credit/Tax Credits to an increase on one of more of the other Elements - so that particular groups of claimants such as parents or renters continue to receive an increase.

So, at the moment, we do not know whether the extra £20 will remain, be replaced or disappear - watch this space!
Support for vulnerable children and young people during COVID

Buttle UK have received National Lottery funding to set up a COVID-19 Direct Emergency Response for Children and Young People Fund.

They can provide grants of up to £2,000 for children and young people.

Strict criteria apply.

Click here to find out more...
We have a limited supply of our
2021 Wall Planners...

Order yours here via our Booking site

(assuming there are still some left!)
 

Do we need a new standard letter ??
Sometimes claimants living in sheltered housing can have problems getting a Housing Costs Element from the start of their UC claim.

What's the issue?
Where a claimant lives in 'Supported Housing' the help they get with paying their rent could come in the form of HB or a Housing Costs Element in their UC award - it all depends on whether or not they are living in 'Specified Accommodation'.

Although rare, sometimes someone living in Sheltered Housing will be classed as living in 'Specified Accommodation' - this decision is made on a case by case basis. The DWP would like the HB Office to make this decision.

So what should the claimant do?
The DWP expect that anyone living in Supported or Sheltered Housing ticks that box when completing their UC claim or reporting a change of address, and then makes a claim for Housing Benefit (they should receive a message on their journal letting them know this).

If Housing Benefit is awarded no further action with regards to their rent is then needed by the DWP.

What if HB isn't awarded?
If the HB Office decide that the claimant does not live in 'Specified Accommodation' and cannot therefore receive HB to help pay their rent, they will notify the claimant of this decision.

DWP's advice is that the claimant, to claim support with housing costs through their UC award, should then declare a change in circumstances stating that ‘I rent from a council or housing association’ or ‘I rent from a private landlord’ - whichever is most appropriate.

IMPORTANT: The claimant MUST also ask that their UC award be reviewed back to their date of claim / date they moved into sheltered housing. This will enable housing costs to be awarded from the earlier date.

Whilst there has not actually been a change in the claimant's circumstances, this appears to be the 'fix' the DWP have put in place to ensure these claimants receive their full entitlement.


We are assuming this process is working well - if not please let us know and will can put together some standard letters / text to help.

Email us at info@housingsystems.co.uk.
Click here to find out more

Recent Question
QUESTION:

We have a lady in receipt of Income-Related ESA (support group), DLA high rate care and Housing Benefit. Her partner is moving in - he works full time.

We know her IR-ESA & HB will end because he works full time, and so they will need to claim Universal Credit, but we are wondering: 

Can they have the LCWRA Element for her included from the start?

Can they have the Carer Element for him (if he spends or is going to spend 35 hours or more a week caring for her and reports this)?

Should the work allowance be applied to his earnings (they don't have any children)?

 ANSWER: 

Whether they can have the LCWRA Element and the work allowance from the start of their UC award is quite complicated!

You're right, if he is working 24 hours a week or more or earns too much for her IR-ESA to continue as a couple, then her IR-ESA will end from the day before he moves in.

They can then go on to make a claim for UC as a couple, but her period of limited capability for work will have ended when her ESA ended.

The problem is that the UC Transitional Regulations state that the transfer of a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) decision from ESA to UC (ie, in this case, getting the LCWRA Element) only applies where an award of Universal Credit is made to a claimant who was entitled to 'old style' ESA on the date on which the claim for Universal Credit was made or treated as made. 

This would mean that she does not have a Support Group status anymore and so she will have to start again with a new Work Capability Assessment. So, she would need a new medical assessment and would only get the LCWRA Element if she is found to have (or treated as having) a LCWRA – and it will only be included in the UC assessment after the 3-month ‘relevant period’.

They would also have to wait for the work allowance - until the outcome of the new Work Capability Assessment - and she is found to have (or treated as having) a LCW/LCWRA. However the work allowance should then be applied retrospectively right back to the start of the UC award. 

So, if he has not moved in yet, they would probably be better off if she claims UC first as a single person and then he moves in afterwards (up to 26th January, she would be caught by the SDP Gateway Condition, but this no longer applies from 27th January 2021).

That way on the day she makes her claim for UC she fits the rules for having her WCA transferred over and would then get the LCWRA Element included in her award from day one. 

In fact, we think it would be probably be safest if he doesn’t move in until after the end of her first UC Monthly Assessment Period (if that’s possible). That way, she can have a UC assessment done as a single claimant, to secure the LCWRA Element before he moves in, as we are not entirely sure how it would work if he moves in before she has actually had an award of UC. This is because when a single UC claimant takes on a partner this ends their UC award and they are automatically treated as making a new claim. We think that if he does move in in that first MAP, there is an argument to be made that even though she never received a payment of UC she did have an award, but there are no guarantees the DWP would agree.

We agree that once they have claimed as a couple, he can request the Carer Element if he is spending 35 hours a week or more caring for her. Under UC it does not matter that he is working or how much he earns.
E-Learning Package

All about Welfare Benefits


The package currently has 11 courses, with more in development, and covers the more basic topics such as 'An Intro to Welfare Benefits', up to more advanced topics such as 'EEA Nationals and UC.'

You could have an annual subscription that gives unlimited access to all these courses, for all your staff, from just £750+vat per annum.

Click here for more info.


Your chance to
win £50 for your local food bank and a box of chocs for you!

 
Every month we give you the chance to win £50 for your local food bank 
Congratulations to Lauren from Accent who won our December quiz! A £50 donation is on its way to her chosen foodbank - Sunderland Foodbank.


Why not enter our competition and possibly win a donation for your local foodbank. The winner will be selected at random and can nominate a foodbank of their choice to receive a £50 donation from us, and they will receive a box of chocolates for themselves.

To enter this month's competition, just email your entry to us by Friday 14th February 2021 for your chance to win.

This month's competition question:

What happens to a joint (couple) UC claim when one member of the couple has been in hospital for 6 months?


Find your answer here 


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