Benefits in the news
Calls to link benefit rates to inflation
There have been widespread calls for the government to uprate benefits in line with the projected rise in inflation in April 2022.
The DWP has announced a 3.1% rise in benefits, including State Pension and statutory payments, but many MPs and a joint request by 30 national organisations (including CPAG, Citizens Advice, The Disability Benefits Consortium, Age UK and Action for Children) has called for a 6% rise to help cover the forthcoming hike in the cost of living as well as the recent loss of the Covid £20 uplift.
The calls have been backed up by a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which estimates that around 9m families in receipt of benefits will be an average of £500 worse off, with 400,000 potentially pulled into poverty.
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.
Consultation on changes to Carer’s Assistance which would add £10 a week if more than one person is cared for
Consequential amendments to regulations on introduction of Adult Disability Payment from 21 March 2022
COVID payments will continue past 21 March whilst advice is still to self isolate
Two stage independent review of Adult Disability Payment to begin this year
DWP has agreed the data it needs to provide for rollout of Scottish Child Payment (6+)
New regulations on Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit for Dupuytren’s contracture
Miscellaneous amendments to regulations on Scottish Child Payment and Child Disability Payment
Bill protecting up to 37,000 from bedroom tax passed by NI Assembly
Transfer of rate relief scheme for owner occupiers from Department of Finance to NI Housing Executive
Majority of Energy Payment Support Scheme payments to be made by 28th March 2022
New regulations to extend to welfare supplements
Wales to launch Universal Basic Income pilot for care leavers in 2022/23
Wales announces £150 cost of living payment to all who receive Council Tax Reduction or live in council tax bands A-D
Welsh government to double Winter Fuel Support Scheme payment to £200
COVID payments going/gone
Bicameral Blossom by Maya Hayuk (2016)
The Prime Minister has confirmed that COVID-related benefits payments will soon end in England, if they haven't already.
Self isolation payments in England ended on 24th February (Wales is reassessing on 3rd March; Scotland will keep paying for self isolation beyond 21st March unless medical advice changes).
Automatic Statutory Sick Pay and ESA for COVID-related illnesses are due to end in England on 24th March. Statutory Sick Pay for employers will end on 17th March.
RECENT CASE LAW
Links to recent benefits-related tribunal and appeal cases
LEGACY BENEFITS (pre UC)
High Court dismisses challenge to lack of COVID uplift for claimants on legacy benefits
Decision date: 18th February 2022
Consideration of real world market when valuing property whose joint owner is unwilling to sell
Decision date: 2nd February 2022
Tribunal should refer to Practice Direction before assessing claimants for telephone hearings
Decision date: 20th January 2022
Published: 11th February 2022
CHILD TAX CREDIT
Backdated CTC is claimable when asylum was sought before introduction of full service UC
Decision date: 8th February 2022
Rights of child born in EEA whose parents have primary carers' permanent right to reside in UK
Decision date: 5th January 2022
Published: 28th January 2022
DWP choosing not to publish
The DWP seems to be making a habit of consulting stakeholders and then refusing to publish the reports.
The Work & Pensions Committee has now published the findings of a report into disabled people's experiences of the benefits system.
Committee chair Stephen Timms commented that,
'...in order to rebuild its relationship with disabled people, the DWP must stop trying to bury uncomfortable truths.'
It remains to be seen if they are doing the same with the report on the effect of sanctions on UC claimants which the Government recently told the House of Lords there was 'not enough robust data' to publish.
Quick links to other benefits-related news
The High Court has given permission for judicial review over the removal of PIP for hospital stays over 28 days.
Intermediary services will help people who need specialist communications support in court.
Pilot schemes in Manchester and Middlesborough will pay for early benefits, debt and housing advice from solicitors
The Welsh government will run its Universal Basic Income pilot for all carerleavers in Wales in 2022/23.
An extension of the government's Train and Progress scheme means that some UC claimants will be paid for up to 16 weeks while training full time.
Extension of light touch for UC in-work conditionality
The government has issued regulations to extend the 'light touch' approach to people claiming Univeral Credit when they are also in work.
Single people who earn at least £355 (or couples earning £567) per week after April will continue to have no work requirements applied to their Universal Credit, meaning that they will not have to look for any other work until February 2023.
Links to recent government regulations, guidance & bulletins, most recent at the top
Guidance on cuts to DHP contributions to local authorities in England and Wales
Guidance on the exception to requirement for claimant commitment in UC and ESA for people who have a terminal illness
Regulations limiting search for preferred work from 3 months to 4 weeks
New DWP guidance on disregarding compensation for historical institutional child abuse and Windrush Compensation Scheme for housing benefit assessments