Managed Migration will be Rolled Out by Benefit Type
Added on 5th November 2023
A letter published by Neil Couling details how the rollout of Managed Migration will develop from April 2024. He states that Migration Notices will be sent to
NEW ARTICLE: Autumn Statement - Benefit Changes
Added on 28th November 2023
On 22nd Nov the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt MP, delivered his Autumn Statement, laying out the UK government's financial priorities for the immediate and longer-term future. This article looks at the changes relevant to people working with benefit claimants.
CLICK HEREto read the article
NEW ARTICLE: Increase to the Amount of TSDPE from Feb 24
Added on 29th November 2023
New legislation in force from 14th February 2024 introduces increases to the TSDPE for certain claimants. A High Court decision in Jan 2022 found that the DWP were not adequately compensating claimants receiving the SDP. This article looks at what the additions are and who will be entitled to them.
New Areas for Managed Migration
The DWP have confirmed that in January 2024 Migration Notices will start being sent in Tyne and Wear, Leicester and Northamptonshire, and Devon. Then in February Notices will start being sent in Northern and Northeast Scotland, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, North and Mid Wales, Birmingham and Solihull, Mercia, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, West London, and Surrey and Sussex. Finally, in March Notices will start being sent in the Black Country.For more on the roll-out of Managed Migration, click here.
Averaging earnings for Carer's Allowance
Added on 17th November 2023
The claimant in this case was on a zero hours contract and did not have regular earnings. When calculating her entitlement to CA the DWP looked at their earnings each week and so they were not entitled to it in some weeks when they received a higher income. The claimant challenged this, arguing that their earnings should be averaged - which would mean she was entitled to CA in all weeks. The Upper Tribunal agreed with the claimant and stated that where a claimant as earnings that fluctuate and this is not a 'blip', their earnings can be averaged. Click here for caselaw on averaging earnings in CA
Increases to conditionality for parents of 3-12-year-olds
Added on 27th October 2023
Parents of 3-12-year-olds who are in the All Work-Related Requirements group on UC will now be expected to spend up to 30 hours a week working or looking for work - although this can be reduced at the discretion of the Work Coach. Previously, the main carer of a 3-year-old was only expected to spend 16 hours a week looking for work. This increased to 25 hours when the child was 5. Click here to learn more about the All Work-Related Requirements group.
Benefits for people fleeing Israel, Palestine and Lebanon
A new statutory instrument exempts people who were residing in Israel, Palestine or Lebanon immediately before 7th October 2023 and who left in connection with the attach on 7th October or following violence from having to satisfy the habitual residence test or past presence test. A second statutory instrument enables LAs to provide housing and homelessness assistance to these individuals.
December areas for Managed Migration announced
Added on 24th October 2023
The DWP have announced that Migration Notices will start to be sent in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire in December 2023. They also confirmed that they are on track to roll out Managed Migration across all Jobcentre Plus areas by the end of the financial year. Click here to find out more about the Managed Migration timetable.
Bereavement Support Payment when deceased partner was severely disabled
Added on 23rd October 2023
The Court of Appeal have agreed with decision in the High Court and Northern Ireland Court of Appeal that the NI contribution conditions of BSP are discriminatory against those who are severely disabled and unable to work. For a surviving partner to be entitled to BSP, their partner needs to have actually paid National Insurance contributions in at least one tax year. Two very similar cases (one in England and one in Northern Ireland) argued that this was discriminatory against severely disabled individuals who are unable to work throughout their life. Both Courts of Appeal have now found that it is. For the COA decision on BSP click here and for more on BSP click here
Youth Offer extended to all UC claimants aged 16-24
Added on 27th September 2023
The youth offer was previously only available to young claimants on UC in the intensive work search regime but it is now available to all UC claimants aged between 16-24 regardless of their conditionality group. The youth offer provide extra support to young people looking for a job. Find out more about the youth offer here.
DWP not sharing information with HMRC is not official error
Added on 22nd September 2023
The Upper Tribunal found that there is no legal requirement for the DWP to share information about claimants with HMRC so it does not amount to an official error if they failed to do so. In this case, the claimant was awarded DLA for her child in 2010 but only had the Disabled Child Element added to her CTC award in 2016 when the DWP informed HMRC of the DLA as part of an information sharing exercise. The Upper Tribunal found that this was correct. The claimant argued that she had informed HMRC of the DLA when it was awarded but there was no evidence of this and it was ignored. For the full decision on data sharing click here.
Second Cost of Living Payments 2023/24
Added on 26th September 2023
The qualifying period for the second Cost of Living Payments for 2023/24 is 18th August - 17th September 2023. Where a claimant was entitled to a payment of UC, IR-ESA, IS, IB-JSA, PC or Tax Credits between these dates, they will receive a £300 Cost of Living Payment paid between 31st October and 19th November 2023.
Religious Beliefs Could Stop Claimants From Taking 'Reasonable Steps' to Secure Student Loan
Added on 6th September 2023
The HB Regulations state that where a student could acquire a student loan by taking 'reasonable steps', their entitlement to Housing Benefit should be calculated as though they are receiving the loan - even if they have chosen not claim it. A previous First-tier Tribunal decision stated that this was the case even if the claimant's personal circumstances prevent them from applying for the loan. However, a devout Muslim student argued that his religion prevents him from taking a loan (because it is considered a sin to pay interest). The Upper Tribunal declined to follow the previous FtT decision and decided that the claimant's personal circumstances were relevant to whether they could take 'reasonable steps' to acquire the student loan. Consequently, the student's HB entitlement should be worked out ignoring the student loan.
State Pension Correction Exercise
Added on 31st August 2023
From August 2023, HMRC will contact an estimated 210,000 people and invite them to correct errors in their National Insurance records which would cause them State Pension underpayments. This will affect those wo claimed Child Benefit before May 2000 as before that date claimants were not required to provide their NINo when claiming Child Benefit, and so may not have been credited with the correct number of years of Home Responsibilities Protection.
This could potentially cause overpayments of Pension Credit and means-tested benefits. However, we would expect that such overpayments will not be recoverable as they were not cause by the claimant's misrepresentation or failure to disclose relevant information.
Two Child Limit - Natural children always considered in age order
Added on 8th August 2023
The Upper Tribunal has ruled that there is no legal reason for ignoring the Regulation which requires the DWP to consider natural children in age order when applying the Two Child Limit. The claimant argued that the children should be considered in the order they joined the family after the UC claim was made (because her eldest child was returned to the family from LA care shortly after she had her third child and could have been exempt from the Two Child Limit). In this case, the Judge recognised that the claimant could have success with a Judicial Review challenge of the decision to apply the Two Child Limit in this way.
New Managed Migration Areas and Discovery Phase
Added on 26th July 2023
The DWP have announce the areas in which Managed Migration will begin in September. They are East Scotland, Cumbria, Lancashire, South West Wales, Essex, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Isle of Wight. They also announced that from September they would start bringing other claimants into the Managed Migration process and would be sending approximately 2,000 Notices to claimants receiving different benefit combinations (i.e. claimants receiving Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-Based JSA and those on Income-Related ESA and Tax Credits.). Click here for more information on the Managed Migration timetable.
Light Touch Reviews of PIP will use Simplified Forms
Added on 19th July 2023
The DWP is preparing to start 'light touch' reviews of 10 year PIP awards (PIP was introduced in 2013). They have said that they will use a simplified form focusing on how a claimant's abilities have changed. In most cases an assessment with a health professional will not be required unless there has been a change in circumstances.
30,000 Migration Notices Sent this Month
Added on 6th July 2023
According to Neil Couling, 30,000 Migration Notices were sent this month - up from 1,000 a month ago. The DWP are hoping to get this up to 80,000 by the end of the year.
Managed Migration Plans - timetable and couples
Added on 20th June 2023
A letter to Neil Couling published has been published confirming that he's still in charge of Managed Migration. It also states that the DWP expect all claimants on Tax Credits, Income-Based JSA, and Income Support, as well as HB-only claimants to be moved onto UC by the end of 2024/25. Additionally, our understanding is that only a very small number of Migration Notices will be sent to couples in the next couple of months as the process is in a 'discovery phase'.
New UC Regulations Making Amendments
Added on 19th May 2023
New Regulations have been issued that make miscellaneous minor amendments to UC legislation to correct errors and clarify policy intent. Specifically, the amendments include: making it clear that claimants who are already determined to have a LCW do not need to serve the 3-month relevant period before the LCWRA Element is awarded; clarifying that the maximum period of one month backdating in UC is based on the length of an assessment period, with the date of claim becoming the last day of the first assessment period.
Scottish Carer's Allowance Supplement Eligibility
Added on 12th April 2023
Claimants living in Scotland and receiving Carer's Allowance on 10th April and/or 9th October will be entitled to payments of £270.50. Payment dates will be announced later in the year but Social Security Scotland will write to people in advance so they know to expect the payment.
Changes to SMI Loans (new Regs)
Added on 3rd April 2023
New Regulations mean that claimants will be able to apply for an SMI loan after being on UC for three consecutive months. Additionally, the zero earnings rule has been removed - meaning UC claimants with earnings will be able to apply for an SMI loan. The new Regs also removed the need to serve a new qualifying period for claimants who reclaim UC within 6 months of an award ending, reclaim a legacy benefit within 52 weeks of an award ending, and Mixed Age Couples if the older member was receiving receiving SMI payments in Pension Credit within a month of their joint UC entitlement starting.
Uprating of benefits in April 2023
Added on 20th March 2023
Household Support Fund extended until 31st March 2024
Added on 24th February 2023
Local Authorities are responsible for deciding who they support but are advised to prioritise households that do not have access to other support.
Click here for more on the fund.
The Administrative Earnings Threshold has increased
Added on 30th January 2023
120,000 claimants in the All-Work Related Requirements group will be moved from the 'Light Tough Regime' to the 'Intensive Work-Search Regime' meaning they need to look for more / better paying work based on their earnings.
For more on the threshold, click here.
Welsh support for homeowners at risk of repossession
The Welsh Government have announced a new mortgage support scheme to help homeowners at risk of repossession. It is available to those whose property is valued at £300,000 or less and who have a total household income of less than £67,000pa. Find out more about the Welsh mortgage scheme here.
Removal of the Child Benefit 'living in the UK' test
Previously, a claimant needed to be living in the UK for three months before they could be entitled to Child Benefit but the government were planning on simplifying this process. They have brought this forward in light of the situation in Israel and Palestine - to avoid needing to legislate twice to help people fleeing these areas. If a claimant is able to claim Child Benefit (i.e., they are not excluded based on their immigration status), they can claim even if they have just arrived in the UK. Click here for more on Child Benefit.
NEW BRIEFING: Managed Migration for Self-employed Tax Credit Claimants
We have published a new briefing all about how Managed Migration will work for self-employed Tax Credit claimants. Check out the briefing on managed migration for TC claimants.
Leaflet being sent to ALL Tax Credit claimants
Added on 22nd October 2023
Tax Credit claimants are being sent a leaflet advising them to 'get ready for UC'. These are NOT Managed Migration leaflets and it's important that claimants understand this as they could lose out if they claim UC too soon. Find out more about the 'get ready for UC' leaflets here
From 16th October 2023, Tax Credit-only claimants in Northern Ireland will begin to receive Migration Notices (seems to be whole of the country not specific areas).
From November 2023, Managed Migration will start in South West Scotland - covers areas like Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire.
The areas for the new discovery phase of non-Tax Credit-only claimants are Manchester, Harrow and Northumberland.
NEW ARTICLE: Minimum Income Floor Correction for Couples
See our new article on the correction to the UC computer system which means that some self-employed claimants receive less. Find the article about the MIF fix here
Consultation on Changes to the WCA
Added on 12th September 2023
The government has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Work Capability Assessment - specifically to reduce the number of claimant's in the LCWRA group. Any changes following the consultation will need to be passed in parliament and so will not come into effect until at least 2025. This change comes ahead of the removal of the WCA in favour of a combined assessment with PIP as the DWP want to bring about changes before this will take effect.
Overnight Care Must be Required for Extra Bedroom
Added on 5th September 2023
The Upper Tribunal have ruled that in line with the Bedroom Tax rules for Housing Benefit, an extra bedroom can only be awarded for an overnight carer where someone in the house actually requires care. In this case, the claimants' adult daughter sometimes woke in the night with arrythmia and her mum calmed her down. However, if her mum was not there, she was capable of calming herself down so there is no requirement for overnight care and were not deemed to need an extra bedroom for an overnight carer. Click here for the judgement on the meaning of care for an extra bedroom.
PIP Past Presence Test cannot be Waived if Detained Abroad
Added on 22nd August 2023
An Upper Tribunal judge has ruled that is correct that a claimant who was detained abroad for medical treatment failed the past presence test as there was no exception for this in the Regulations. Click here for the judgement
Guidance on Retrospective Claims for Widowed Parent's Allowance
Added on 7th August 2023
New guidance has been released clarifying how retrospective payments of Widowed Parent's Allowance will be calculated and interact with other benefits. Retrospective claims can be made by individuals who were living with their partner and a dependent child when their partner died but were not married / in a civil partnership with them. The guidance clarifies that the amount of backpayment of WPA could be reduced if there were receiving Carer's Allowance, ESA, JSA or Income Support during a period which the backpayment covers. Additionally, if they were receiving UC during this period, this could result in a UC overpayment.Click here for a link to the guidance
Parents to get More Work Coach Support
Added on 24th July 2023
From today, parents of children aged one and two will start to have more face-to-face support. Lead carers of a one-year-old child will start to have work-focused meetings with their work coach every three months and lead carers of two-year-olds will meet their work coach every month.
Pre-Settled Status will Automatically be Extended
Added on 18th July 2023
The Home Office have confirmed that people with Pre-Settled Status will automatically have their status extended by two years if they have not been given Settled Status after five years. Initially, the Home Office had said that they would end someone's Pre-Settled Status after five years but this was challenged in the High Court.
August Areas for Managed Migration
Added on 27th June 2023
In August Migration Notices will start being sent in West Scotland, West Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire and South London. This will be the first Notices sent out in Scotland.
People fleeing Sudan exempt from HRT
Added on 31st May 2023
Regulations that came into force on 15th May 2023 added new categories to the list of persons exempted from having to satisfy the factual part of the Habitual Residence Test (HRT) for income-related, disability and carer benefits and the Past Presence Test (PPT) for disability and carer benefits. Individuals must be entitled to claim benefits in the UK (i.e. have recourse to public funds), have been residing in Sudan before 15th April 2023 and have left Sudan in connection with the violence that rapidly escalated on that day. Click here for more on claimants fleeing Sudan
Temporary Increase to Winter Fuel Payment
New Regulations have been issued that provide for a temporary increase to Winter Fuel Payments in 2023/24. The WFP Regulations are available here
Paying Childcare Costs Element Upfront
Added on 11th April 2023
In the Spring budget, the government announced its plans to improve help with childcare in UC for claimants starting work or increasing their hours. Currently, the claimant can apply for help from the Flexible Support Fund for help paying their first childcare payment - but they cannot then get help with this payment from Universal Credit. The DWP is expected to remove the rule excluding claimants getting help from the FSF and UC for the same childcare payment for those starting work / increasing their hours.
State Pension Age will Increase as Planned
Added on 30th March 2023
The government as confirmed its plans to increase the State Pension age to 67 between 2026-28. They will review when to increase it to 68 in two years time.
New guidance on when UC claims can be backdated
Added on 1st March 2023
Following two Upper Tribunal decisions, the DWP have released new guidance on when Decision Makers can consider whether a claimant meets the conditions for having their claim backdated.
Click here for more on backdating and click here for the guidance.
Eligibility to bereavement benefits extended to unmarried couples with children
Added on 13th February 2023
From 9th February 2023, surviving partners who were living with their partner and entitled to Child Benefit at the time of their death, could be entitled to Bereavement Support Payment.
Additionally, some claimants will be able to make retrospective claims if they would have been entitled to a bereavement benefit on 30th August 2018 had these rules been in place.
Click here for more.
It is the Administrative Earnings Threshold that applied on the first day of the claim that matters when terminating a Transitional Element
Added on 18th January 2023
A claimant's Transitional Element is terminated if their earnings were above their AET when they made their claim but fall below it for three consecutive Monthly Assessment Periods.
Click here for more on when Transitional Elements are terminated.
Pilot to help victims of domestic abuse recieve instant support in Jobcentres to start in early 2023
Added on 3rd January 2023
The 'ask for ANI' scheme is a Home Office initiative currently active in pharmacies. The DWP will run a pilot of the scheme in selected Jobcentres for 9-12 months starting in Q1 of 2023. Victims of domestic abuse will be able to ask for ANI in participating Jobcentres allowing them to discretely ask for immediate help from the police and/or domestic abuse services.
Managed Migration deadlines extended for Christmas
Added on 15th November 2023
The DWP have confirmed that where a claimant's Migration Notice deadline would have fallen between 11th December 2023 and 5th January 2024 have automatically had their deadlines extended by 30 days.
Support for areas flooded by Storm Babet
The DWP have announced that
Scottish Government announces 'fund to leave'
The Scottish Government has announced that the £500,000 fund will be delivered by Women's Aid groups in the five Local Authority areas with the most women's homelessness applications due to domestic abuse (Glasgow City, Edinburgh, North and South Lanarkshire and Fife. Women can apply to the fund by contacting one of the participating Women's Aid groups or Scottish Women's Aid. The fund will provide help with rent and clothes etc. For more on the 'fund to leave' click here.
NEW ARTICLE: Backdating claims for Universal Credit - the current position
Added on 12th October 2023
How far back can a claim go and what is the time limit to make such a request? We explore these issues as well as outlining the current case law regrading time limits in this article.
Delays to increasing conditionality
Added on 6th October 2023
The DWP is prioritising the Targeted Case Review project which is reviewing claims made during the pandemic for fraud and error. This means that they are focusing their recruitment drive on this project and moving staff over from other areas. This is worsening a staffing crisis within the DWP says the PCS union.
Consequently, the Union says that the DWP have agreed some easements to reduce the workload of overstretched Work Coaches. There are -
Sure Start Maternity Grant for Ukranian and Afghan Refugees
Normally, claimants can only claim the SSMG if they have no other children under 16 and they make their claim within 6 months of the baby being born. But if they have come to the UK from Ukraine or Afghanistan as a result of the conflicts in those places, they can claim the SSMG even if they have other children from before moving to the UK. Additionally, the DWP will allow these claimants until 8th December 2023 to make their claim for SSMG - even if this is over 6 months after the birth.
Managed Migration: New Areas and Claimants
The DWP have announced the next areas for Managed Migration. From October 2023, Notices will be sent in South East Wales (including Cardiff) and Central Scotland (including Glasgow). Additionally, the DWP have confirmed their plan to expand the discovery phase beyond Tax Credit-only claimants with approximately 2,000 Migration Notices being sent out from September 2023.
Changes for New-Style / Contributory Jobseeker's Allowance Claimants
Added on 13th September 2023
The DWP have accepted some proposals put forward by the Social Security Advisory Committee in relation to NS-JSA. These are: introducing a UC-style diary for NS-JSA claimants and making sure that they have access to the same employment programmes as those on UC. The SSAC also recommended further steps to combine UC with the New-Style benefits but the DWP rejected these.
DLA to CDP Transfer Progress
Added on 10th August 2023
The transfer from DLA to CDP is now more than 99% complete. However, the average processing time for new claimants is still more than 100 days - with 16% of applications taking more than 140 days to be processed.
NEW ARTICLE - Increased Conditionality for Parents
Added on 3rd August2023
Check out our new article on increased conditionality for parents here
DWP has Launched Trial Campaign for Pension Credit Take-up
Added on 20th July 2023
Changes to DLA Presence Test
Added on 7th July 2023
New Guidance has been issued to explain changes to DLA brought about by the introduction of Child Disability Payment in Scotland. To be entitled to DLA (unless they have an ongoing award), claimants must be present in England, Wales or Northern Ireland - this has been changed from GB. However, the Past Presence Test is unaltered (i.e. they will satisfy the Past Presence Test if they have been living anywhere in GB including Scotland. If someone on DLA moves to Scotland, they will retain their entitlement for approximately 13 weeks. If they are awaiting a decision on a DLA claim when they move to Scotland, the DWP should decide their claim as though they satisfy the Presence Test. Find the guidance on the DLA presence test here.
ADM Guidance on Changes to UC Childcare Element
New ADM guidance clarifies the changes to the UC Childcare Element that will take place from 28th June 2023. Firstly, the maximum rates will increase to £950.92 for one child and £1,630.15 for two or more children. Additionally, where a claimant is taking up paid work or increasing their hours of work, is required to pay for childcare before they can get help with in from UC, and is less likely to take up work / increased hours because of this, they can get help with this payment from both the Flexible Support fund and the UC Childcare Costs Element Click here for more on the Childcare Costs Element and click here for the ADM Guidance on changes to the Childcare Costs Element.
New Areas for Managed Migration in July
Added on 26th May 2023
The DWP have announced that Migration Notices will start to be sent in Durham and Tees Valley, Kent, North London and East Anglia from July 2023. They also announced that they are starting a 'discovery phase' for couples.
June Areas for Managed Migration
Added on 25th April 2023
The DWP have announced that Migration Notices will start being sent in Greater Manchester and East Yorkshire and the Humber in June 2023. They also announced their intention to have Managed Migration rolled out to every Jobcentre in the country by the end of March 2024.
Terminal Illness Rules for PIP, DLA and AA
The Special Rules for End of Life (SREL) are going to be extended to PIP, DLA and AA from today. This means that claimants will be considered to be 'terminally ill' for the benefits if their death can reasonably be expected within 12 months (extended from 6). SREL already apply to UC and ESA.
New areas for Managed Migration announced
Added on 28th March 2023
From 17th April 2023, 500 Migration Notices will be sent out to Tax Credit-only claimants living in Andersonstown and Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. Additionally, Migration Notices will begin to be sent in Avon, Somerset and Gloucest in April 2023 and in East London and Cheshire from May 2023. Future locations will be announced 2 months before Notices begin being sent.
More managed migration notices sent out in cornwall
Added on 27th February 2023
Migration notices were sent out to Tax Credit-only claimants in various areas in Cornwall from 13th and 20th February.
Click here for more on managed migration or click here to learn more about our webinar on 14th March.
Excluding cohabiting couples without children from bereavement benefits
Added on 2nd February 2023
Entitlement to bereavement benefits will soon be extended to cohabiting couples with children as excluding them was found to be discriminatory against the children of parents who had not formed a legal union. However, if there are no children, an Upper Tribunal decision says there is no discrimination.
Click here for the decision and click here for more on bereavement benefits.
The Court of Appeal rejected the appeal against the DWP's decision not to apply the £20 uplift to 'legacy' benefits
Added on 17th January 2023
The CoA ruled that as the purpose of the £20 uplift was to support individuals who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, it was not a legal requirement to extend this to legacy benefits - even though these claimants will have suffered financial hardship.
Reduction is council tax liability for those recieving Council Tax Support
The government has released guidance for Local Authorities planning their 2023/4 CTS schemes advising that individuals with a council tax liability for 2023/4 after CTS should have this liability reduced by £25 (or to £nil if their remaining liability is under £25).
Click here for more on CTS and click here for the gov.uk guidance.
The DWP have released a report on the first 499 claimants sent migration notices
Added on 16th January 2023
To read more click here.
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