In the news


Our bitesize news page includes the latest benefits news, guidance and recent case law. Please let us know what you think and what else you'd like to see.

£1.5bn Universal Credit support package

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, reveals the Autumn Budget 2017


Although the recent announcements have been cautiously welcomed, the Work & Pensions Select Committee has since launched an inquiry entitled Next steps to fix UC in which it requests submissions regarding UC and self employment, Free School Meals, child care support and work incentives.


In addition, the Universal Credit (Application, Advice & Assistance) Bill has recently had its first reading in the Commons. Introduced by SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford, the new UC Bill proposes, amongst other things, an automatic option for twice monthly payments and direct housing payments.

If you need more information on UC, book onto one of our regularly updated Introduction to UC or Universal Credit in Practice courses.

A £1.5bn support package for Universal Credit has been announced in the Autumn Budget, including amendments to the full service Universal Credit rollout schedule and an end to new UC claims in live service areas.


The Chancellor’s announcements are the result of pressure on the government from many sources, including the Work & Pensions Committee and various advice organisations. They have since been backed up by support plans from David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions and an amended timetable outlined by Director General of UC, Neil Couling, in a letter to local authority Chief Executives.


The DWP have now also published a revised schedule for full UC, which pushes the rollout back several months in many areas.


DEC 2017  No new claims in live areas - all new claims in these areas will be for legacy benefits and tax credits till December 2018

JAN 2018  Advance payments of up to 100% available with 12 month repayment period

FEB 2018  Abolition of 7 day waiting period before UC claim

APR 2018  Temporary accommodation to be paid for through Housing Benefit

APR 2018  Two week transition for anyone moving from HB to UC housing payment

DEC 2018  End of UC live service

Billions of underpaid benefits


For those who don't do Twitter and  Facebook: A more regularly updated section with one or two welfare-related news stories within each month's news page.

75,000 ESA claims underpaid

David Gauke, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions has announced that around 75,000 people may be owed arrears.

Those who were moved from benefits  including Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance & Income Support  onto ESA between 2011 - 2014 may be owed arrears. Individuals will be contacted by the DWP, only those who qualify from October 2014 will be eligible.

Free childcare on UC consultation

To participate on Dept of Education's consultation on a UC earnings threshold for free childcare for 2 year olds, make a submission using the online consultation form by 15 January 2018.

November /December 2017


Quick links to selected new guidance from the DWP, most recent at the top of each section):

Many people are losing out on benefits payments by not claiming them properly.


A new DWP report on Fraud & Error in the Benefits System reveals that PIP and ESA are especially under-claimed, mainly because changes in medical conditions are often not reported to the DWP..

It is the first time the DWP has included PIP in the statistics with £190 million underpaid. About £30 million of this is due to decision making errors and about £160 million is because claimants do not always report a deterioration in their condition

New UC freephone helplines

New FREEPHONE helplines have been published for Universal Credit claims.

0800 328 9344 (Live)

0800 328 5644 (Full service)


Anyone ringing the old number should hear a message with a new number to call. See the DWP press release for more details.

November / December 2017


Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law  (most recent at the top of each section):

Christmas for careleavers

Christmas, for many young people who have been looked after and then dropped by the care system, is 'a day to dread and then forget'.


For the past five years, poet, speaker and former careleaver Lemn Sissay has been at the forefront of a foundation to provide a special Christmas for young careleavers across the country. 

The Benefits Training Co. is supporting the Lemn Sissay Foundation Christmas Dinner 2017/18 crowdfunding appeal to provide Christmas dinners for careleavers  in Canterbury, the Wirral, Stockport, Manchester, Richmond, Hackney, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham.

Join the crowdfund or click on your nearest location above to help in other ways to make Christmas a better time of year for young careleavers in your area.