In the news
Fratila is lost on appeal
The Fratila case, which was allowed at the Court of Appeal, had challenged the government's refusal to pay Universal Credit to EU residents who had pre-settled status without another, qualifying right to reside in the UK.
The Supreme Court's unanimous decision will be a blow for any advice worker supporting people who are in a similar situation. It may still be possible to appeal on the basis of the right to human dignity and to family life, following the ruling on the parallel 'CG' case in Northern Ireland (heard at the Court of Justice of the European Union in July). However, any future appeal will depend on relevant facts and, for cases that have arisen since 31st December 2020, additional arguments would be needed & may not work.
Child Poverty Action Group, the campaigning organisation who took on the Fratila case, have issued advice for people with pre-settled status who may need to claim UC or have outstanding claims or challenges against refusals.
The most wonderful time of the year?
Changes to UC taper rate and work allowances
The government may not have retained the Universal Credit uplift but they have at least worked fast to make some positive changes to the UC taper rate and work allowances.
Guidance has been issued with full information on the reduction in the UC taper rate from 63% to 55% and increase in work allowances (the lower allowance is now £335, the higher allowance is £557). The changes for working UC claimants affect all new awards of Universal Credit and all claimants with assessments ending on/after 24th November 2021.
Naming the Money (2004), an installation by by Turner Prize winning artist Lubaina Himid
RECENT CASE LAW
Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law
Child benefit not transferrable to another EU state via Article 7 of Regulation 883/2004
Decision date 26th November 2021
When deterioration of condition after Industrial Injuries Disablement Payment is due to treatment received for condition
Decision date 18th October 2021
Published 17th November 2021
Landlord who received overpayments is a necessary ‘second respondent’ at claimant’s appeal
Decision date 13th October 2021
Published 29th October 2021
Supporting care-experienced children and families
This Christmas, we are supporting Family Futures, an adoption and fostering agency which works therapeutically with adoptive and foster families to support children who have been in care.
Adoptive and fostered children experience trauma both before and after removal from their birth families. Family Futures helps children to process the trauma and supports families who live with the behaviours resulting from it. Please help them continue to offer an unrivalled, specialist and holistic service to adoptive and foster families by donating to their Forever Home fund.
Scotland, N Ireland & Wales
Links to articles, reports, regulations and guidance which separately affect benefits in Scotland, Wales and/or Northern Ireland, when they differ significantly to those in England or the rest of the UK.
Double payment of Carers Allowance Supplement will be made on 15th Dec
Scottish government consultation on Low Income Winter Heating Assistance
open until 23rd February 2022)
Regulations amending Social Security Scotland system for appointing a person to act on behalf of a claimant
Scottish Child payment to be doubled to £20 per week from April 2022
Consequential amendments to social security legislation following introduction of Child Disability Payment
Regulations on amendments to Child Disability Payment eligibility and claims rules
Regulations on extension of eligibility for Child Winter Heating Assistance
Regulations concerning disregard for payments made under Redress for Survivors scheme
Regulations allowing ‘non-instructed advocacy’ for claimants in Scotland
Social Security Scotland annual report shows 92% rated service good or very good
Social Security (Terminal Illness) Bill, increasing 6 month prognosis to 12 months, introduced to Assembly
Regulations amending UC taper rate and work allowances
Further limitation on exception to UC basic condition not to be in education for those in receipt of disability benefits
Bill to help secure support for mortgage interest loans gets first reading
New report claims Universal Basic Income in Wales would cut poverty in half
Quick links to other benefits-related news
All PIP claimants are to be given the option to complete the PIP2 form online from 6 December 2021.
13,000 people whose benefits or tax credits are paid into a Post Office account will now have until 5th April 2022 to change to a bank account.
The government has published its proposed benefits and pensions rates for 2022-23.
HMCTS has added an audio and video evidence upload function to the Manage Your Appeal process.
Changes to the rules on terminal illness (from a 6 month prognosis to 12 months) for people claiming UC and ESA will be introduced in April 2022.
Childcare costs in UC remain an ongoing issue
Inspite of recurring difficulties for working parents on the lowest incomes, there are no plans by the DWP to change the current rules on childcare costs in UC.
Pressure remains for the government to legislate so that Flexible Support Fund money used for childcare costs can be treated as paid by the claimant, which would allow them to get their next installment of childcare to be paid for from the childcare element in UC.
In a written answer to a parliamentary question from Tulip Siddiqi (Lab), DWP minister David Rutley confirmed that there are no plans for the rest of the UK to follow the N Ireland example of paying upfront childcare costs.
The issue is being taken up by the Work & Pensions Committee who have launched a consultation (submissions accepted until 13th January 2022).
Links to recent government regulations, guidance & bulletins, most recent at the top
Guidance on reduced UC taper rate and work allowance increases from 24 Nov 2022
Final guidance to local authorities in England on Household Support Fund
Guidance on making benefits payments in arrears by instalments to support claimant must be made with their consent
Jonathan Ashworth is new Shadow Secretary of State
Jon Ashworth has replaced Jonathan Reynolds as Shadow Work and Pensions Minister in Keir Starmer's shadow Cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Ashworth, who is Labour MP for Leicester South, was previously Shadow Health & Social Care Secretary. Absence notwithstanding, he has consistently voted against a reduction in benefits for those people who need them.