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.

APRIL 2022

Changes to DWP definition of terminal illness

The government has brought in changes to the definition of 'terminal illness' for claimants of Univeral Credit and ESA.

 

New regulations are now in force and guidance has recently been issued to support people in the last 12 months of their lives to claim UC and ESA under 'special rules'.

 

The old 6 month rule will continue to apply to people who are claiming PIP, DLA or other legacy benefits, until 'parliamentary time allows' for further changes to be made.

The 12 month rule will be certified using a new form SR1 (email form.e-SR1@dwp.gov.uk for UC and ESA). The 6 month rule will still use the DS1500.  Goverment communications being sent out to Medical Professionals are still to use the DS1500 without delay where someone has the shorter life expectancy – the same email address remains for DS1500 which is currently in use.

Exceptions for people fleeing  the Ukraine war
maria-prymachenko-01.jpg

A Dove Has Spread Her Wings And Asks for Peace, Maria Prymachenko

The government has announced 'immediate benefits support' for people who are fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Refugees from Ukraine with a Home Office approved visa are exempt from the habitual residence test for all affected benefits, and the past presence test for
disability and carer benefifts.  They are able to claim Child Benefit  immediately without needing to meet the 3 month residence requirement. The £350 monthly payment to hosts of Ukrainian refugees is treated as  local welfare provision and disregarded from all income-based benefits and tax credits.

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

70,000 people in Scotland would be lifted out of poverty if benefits reforms were reversed

Guidance on effects of consequential amendments relating to Adult Disability Payment

Scottish Child Payment could lift 50,000 families out of poverty by 2023-24

Regulations on commencement of devolved maternity, funeral and heating expenses provisions from 1 April 2023

Scrutiny report on draft transitional provisions to support case transfer of working age DLA claimants to Adult Disability Payment

Consultation on data sharing between Social Security Scotland and local authorities

Delivery plan to tackle child poverty

Scotland to increase 8 of its devolved benefits by 6% in April 2022

Proposed introduction of indefinite awards for Adult Disability Payment shows how Scottish government is ‘determined to do things differently’

Guidance to local authorities on £150 cost of living rebate

Local authority funding to cover Scottish Child Payment bridging payments until support is fully rolled out to older children

Decision making guidance for Child Disability Payment

 

N IRELAND*

Law Centre NI calls on DfC to change policy on overpayments caused by offical error

 

Plans (and regulations) to introduce Child Funeral Fund

Announcement of increased support for private tenants via Discretionary Housing Payment

Publication of independent review of discretionary support scheme in Northern Ireland

Regulations to extend Covid-related Statutory Sick Pay

Regulations to align NI rate relief scheme with pension age Housing Benefit

Welfare Supplementary Payments Bill giving protection from Bedroom Tax passes final stage of NI Assembly

See also * in  GUIDANCE for GB regulations with parallel legislation in Northern Ireland.

WALES

Welsh government calls for reinstatement of funding for DHPs

Review into Covid 19 self isolation support scheme

£500 one-off payment for 57,000 unpaid carers in Wales

Guidance on Rent Rebate Subsidy Limitations for Welsh local authorities

£150 cost of living payment

Welsh Affairs Committee calls for reinstatement of UC uplift

 

Welsh government budget allocations 2022-2023 includes £160m more for cost of living crisis

£150 energy rebate

The government is giving all who live in England in properties within Council Tax bands A-D a non-repayable £150 council tax 'rebate' to cover additional energy costs.

 

Guidance has been issued on the rebate,  which will also be distributed via local authorities in Scotland, N Ireland and Wales (see separate guidance above for devolved nations) and will be nationally disregarded as income for benefits purposes.

 GUIDANCE & SIs

Links to recent statutory instruments (SIs), government guidance & bulletins, most recent at the top

ADM 11/22 and DMG 8/22

Guidance on exemption from habitual residence test or past presence test for people fleeing Ukraine

HB Circular A4/22

Guidance on housing benefit for those affected by the war in Ukraine AND their hosts

SI 346/2022

Amended regulations on Child Benefit residence conditions and Tax Credits disregards on payments to sponsors

ADM 10/22 and DMG 7/22

Memorandae on NI contributions, earnings thresholds and other social security contribution rates 2022-23

ADM 6/22 and DMG 02/22

Guidance on consequential amendments to social security legislation relating to (Scottish) Adult (and Child) Disability Payments.

HB Circular A3/22

Guidance on changes to gathering data on people in supported housing and temporary accommodation for housing benefit

HB Circular S6/22

Housing Benefit administration subsidies arrangements for local authorities 2022-23

LA Welfare Direct 3/22 (revised)

Including links to guidance on allocation of additional New Burdens funding to local authorities to cover Housing Benefit following ESA underpayment /incapacity benefits reassessment exercise and implementation of welfare reforms 2022-23.

Risk & Safety Guidance

New guidance on PIP review for deaf and hearing-impaired claimants who may be affected by 21 August 2020 ruling on bathing or washing safely

DMG 5/22

Guidance on Restart Scheme, now added to list of compulsory government unemployment schemes

DMG 04/22

Changes to Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit rules for those with Dupuytren’s contracture

 

ADM 09/22

Guidance on removal of restrictions on frontier workers from claiming Universal Credit*

ADM 8/22 and DMG 6/22

Guidance on the amendment of the definition of terminal illness for the purposes of Universal Credit and ESA*

SI 397/2022

Regulations for introduction of Early Legal Advice Pilot Scheme in Manchester and Middlesborough

 

ADM 05-22

Guidance allowing ‘light touch’ regime in UC to
continue so that those below the employed earnings threshold do not have to seek higher earnings/more paid hours of work, unless selected for an ‘in-work pilot

ADM 4/22

Guidance on disregarding energy rebate for UC purposes

SI 298/2022*

Regulations improving process for use of digital sick notes for SSP purposes

SI 214/2022

Changes to entitlement to Industrial Injuries Disablement Payment for those with minimal symptoms of Dupuytren’s Contracture

SI 216/2022*

Regulations on earnings factors used to calculate additional state pension and guaranteed minimum pension

* Similar legislation also exists for N Ireland

BITESIZE BENEFITS

Quick links to other benefits-related news

Purpose of Help to Claim?

According to a DWP letter to NAWRA, the purpose of Help to Claim is not to help people decide whether or not UC is the best benefit for them.

Extension to Household Support Fund

The Household Support Fund has been extended to 30 September 2022.

UC ad to encourage people off Tax Credits

A new DWP campaign encourages Tax Credits claimants to check if they would be better off on Universal Credit.

Consultation on changes to legal aid

An MoJ consultation (deadline 7th June) is looking for contributions on proposed changes to the civil legal aid means test.

Free School Meals access extended

The DWP has announced a permanent extension to Free School Meals for children from low income families with no recourse to public funds.

Four week jobseeking window

The government is standing by its recent change to the permitted time allowed for preferred or previous job seeking to a maximum of four weeks, in spite of cross party condemnation from both Houses of Parliament.

 

Not for the first time in recent weeks, the government has apparently 'failed to comply with proper legislative practice' by bringing in the new time frame at short notice and limiting the opportunities for the people affected by the changes to understand their effects before they came in to force. The Public Law Project are challenging this - see their survey on Twitter.

RECENT CASE LAW

Links to recent benefits-related tribunal and appeal cases

STATE PENSION

Requirement for spouses or civil partners of men who received Category A pension pre April 2008 to claim a Category B pension is not unlawful

UA-2021-001262-RP

Published 5th April 2022

 

Modification of Forfeiture Act for pensioner who had unlawfully killed her husband

UA-2019-001376-FRP

Published 28th March 2022

UNIVERSAL CREDIT

Does the term ‘full time education’ relate to number of supervised study hours or categorisation by the educational institution?

UA-2020-000306-USTA

Published: 29th March 2022

 

Evidence needed that UC claimant has failed to accept a claimant commitment

CUC/1792/2020

Published: 29th March 2022

Irish widow’s pension counts as unearned income for UC purposes

CUC/1019/2020

Published: 22nd March 2022

HOUSING BENEFIT
Failure to consider Housing Benefit provisions disregarding business partner’s company holding was error in law

CH/441/2021

Published: 29th March 2022

Applying bedroom tax rules to foster carers with intermittent placements

CH/1970/2019

Published: 7th March 2022

BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT

Bereavement Support Payment could not rely on marriage by cohabitation in Scotland where the deceased remained married to someone else until after ‘marriage by cohabitation’ was abolished

UA-2021-SCO 000030 BB

Published 22nd March 2022
 

PIP

Tribunal must explain if it goes against DWP submission recommendation

CPIP/737/2021

Published: 4th March 2022

easter_eggs_edited.jpg

Pysanky, Ukrainain Easter eggs

£100m in pension underpayments

The DWP has confirmed that almost £100m has been identified in state pension underpayments following a LEAP (Legal Entitlements and Administrative Practice) review.

 

The review, of 58,809 cases between January 2021 and February 2022 showed that 14,239 were found to be underpaid.