Benefits in the news

Our monthly news update includes recent benefits news with links to the latest guidance & case law. Go to the Home page if you wish to subscribe to our monthly newletter.

FEBRUARY 2022

Successful challenge over lost income from UC move

A challenge has been won in the High Court by two claimants with severe disabilities who were moved onto Universal Credit without sufficient protection to their level of income.

The case, brought by two men known as TP and AR, was won on the basis that the DWP discriminated against them when it did not compensate them for approximately £180 a month which they lost by being forced to move from legacy benefits to Universal Credit (UC) after moving into a different local authority area.

Despite previous Court of Appeal and High Court judgments on this issue, the DWP had refused to compensation the men for their loss of their Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP).

The DWP has admitted in court that this ruling will affect around 50,000 people in similar situations, at a cost of c£150m over six years.

 

However, the government maintains that the managed migration, to include more comprehensive transitional protection, is due to be started this year.

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.

SCOTLAND

Independent advocacy service launched for people with disabilities accessing the social security system

Miscellaneous amendments and transitional provision regarding introduction of Adult Disability Payment

New Concordat between DWP and Scottish Government

Regulations on increase of earning limits for Carers Allowance in Scotland

Poverty & Inequality Commission report warns that Scotland needs to deliver action ‘at a much faster pace’ to meet child poverty targets

Cross-party Parliamentary Group on Poverty calls for evidence of poverty related stigma

Finance & Administration Committee report says intelligent decisions needed to meet demand for social security

More than 80% of applications for Child Disability Payment in pilot were made online

Scrutiny report on draft regulations relating to Disability Assistance for Children and Young People and Scottish Child Payment

N IRELAND

Regulations to freeze Local Housing Allowance at 2020/21 rates for second year

Regulations excepting the need for claimant commitment for people with a terminal illness

Bill extending terminal illness provision reaches final stage in NI Assembly

Department of Communities announces extra £55m for Energy Payment Support Scheme

 

WALES

Miscellaneous amendments to Council Tax Reduction Scheme in Wales regarding Afghanistan plus uprating of figures and changes in the treatment of certain payments

Senedd Petitions Committee recommends widening scope of Universal Basic Income pilot

Help to Claim goes remote
Citizens Advice.jpg

The government has confirmed that £21.3m funding for the popular Help to Claim service supporting new Universal Credit claimants will continue to be provided by Citizens Advice across Great Britain.

However, from April 2022, Help to Claim will only be accessible via the Citizens Advice website or by telephone. According to Minister for Welfare Delivery David Rutley 'individuals who are unable to access support via these channels ... will be able to go to their local jobcentre, where jobcentre staff will identify the right support to meet their needs'.

NAWRA (National Association of Welfare Rights Advisors) has already described the new remote Help to Claim as 'not fit for purpose' and has asked the Secretary of State 'what kind of support the jobcentre staff will be identifying'.
 

The freephone numbers for Help to Claim are 0800 144 8444 for England, 0800 023 2581 for Scotland and 0800 024 1220 for Wales.

BTC will continue to run Universal Credit Overview courses as well as Interviewing Skills and Mental Health Awareness training  to support new advisors, caseworkers and volunteers.

RECENT CASE LAW

Links to recent benefits-related tribunal and appeal cases

UNIVERSAL CREDIT

High court dismisses disabled student’s challenge to change in UC rules

[2022] EWHC 167 (Admin)

Decision date: 28th January 2022

 

Failure to pay sufficient transitional amounts to disabled people on claiming UC found unlawful

[2022] EWHC 123 (Admin)

Decision date: 21st January 2022

 

DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE

Suspension of DLA after 28 day hospital stay for severely disabled adult does not breach ECHR Article 14

[2022] EWCA Civ 1

Decision date: 11th January 2022

 

CHILD TAX CREDIT

Backdated CTC is claimable whether or not whether or not asylum was claimed before UC was available

[2022] ScotCS CSIH 2

Decision date: 18th January 2022

 

TAX CREDIT

When a new TC claim can be made following termination of an award

CTC/1514/2020

Published: 5th January 2022

Decision date: 3rd December 2021

One nation.jpg

Street art attributed to Banksy 2014

BITESIZE BENEFITS

Quick links to other benefits-related news

LHA is frozen again

There will be no increase in Local Housing Allowance for 2022/23, meaning it has been frozen for the second year running.

Effectiveness of new style contributory benefits

The Social Security Advisory Committee is calling for evidence of the effectiveness or otherwise of new-style JSA and ESA.

Less support for working parents

Recent figures show that less than 3% of the Flexible Support Fund is spent on childcare costs.

Proposed HMRC rates

The HMRC has released its proposed Tax Credit, Child Benefit and Guardians Allowance rates for 2022/23, reflecting an average 3.1% increase since last year.

Underpayments from ESA migration

The Parliamentary Ombudsman has called for the DWP to 'urgently rectify the injustice' to 118,000 people who were underpaid ESA on transfer from incapacity benefits.

Pilot autism framework

The government is to launch a pilot autism framework with 15 jobcentres to support people on the autistic spectrum into work.

Way to Work cuts preferred  job sector option to 4 weeks

Universal Credit claimants will soon have only four weeks in which to find work in their preferred sector before having to look for work elsewhere.

This latest announcement is tucked away in the press information on the launch of 'Way to Work', the government's latest scheme to get 500,000 people who became UC claimants back into the work place.

The government press release states that,

'New rules will mean that sanctions could begin 4 weeks after their initial UC claim, if they’re not making reasonable efforts to find and secure a job in any sector or turn down a job offer.'

Claimants currently have 3 months in which to find work in a sector in which they have previous experience or at a similar level of pay - if the DWP agree they are likely to find work - before facing the prospect of sanctions.

 LATEST GUIDANCE   

Links to recent government regulations, guidance & bulletins, most recent at the top

SI 2022/60

Regulations on exception to the claimant commitment for those with a terminal illness

ADM 1/22 and DMG 1/22

Guidance on cases that were stayed pending the outcome of the Fratila appeal (more information on this also available via our Benefits for EU Migrants course).

 

PIP Assessment Guide, Part 1: The Assessment Process

Updated guidance on audio recording of PIP assessments, either by phone or face to face

Audio recording for phone / face to face PIP assessments

It is now possible to request an audio recording of either a telephone or face to face PIP consultation.

All PIP assessment providers now have the facility to offer recordings and the DWP has updated their guidance to reflect this.

 

Although PIP claimants are not generally encouraged to record themselves during the assessment, it is possible with prior consent. Video recordings are not permitted for safeguarding reasons and to ensure the privacy of claimants and staff.

The announcement comes just after figures were shared in parliament to show that over 78% of all Work Capability Assessments in the last 18 months have taken place over the phone, with 73% still being assessed over the phone in the last three months, and 6% on video (not recorded, apparently).