In the news

DECEMBER 2018

   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.

Pre-Brexit changes to EEA regulations

New guidance has been issued following some important court decisions on the rights of EEA nationals in the UK.

 

Previously, an EEA national who was self-employed did not retain self-employed status if they became involuntarily unemployed.

 

Following the Gusa ruling, the DWP has accepted that an EEA national who is self-employed will retain their self-employed status for at least six months, once they have registered as a jobseeker. These rights are now similar to those who retain worker status and are crucial for self-employed EEA nationals who have to stop self-employment to look for other work.

 

The new guidance (DMG 15/18) also refers to an important change affecting EEA nationals who acquire British citizenship alongside their EEA citizenship (see case study right). Previously, the UK government did not accept that family members could claim benefits based on the rights of an EEA national who had acquired British citizenship. This has changed for many following the ruling in Lounes, so that where they acquire British citizenship it does not now affect their EU rights.

EEA case study

Anna B, a Dutch national, arrived in the UK in March 2010 using her Dutch passport. She began full-time employment as a nurse immediately. In March 2015, Anna acquired a right of permanent residence and applied for  British citizenship in August 2016 while keeping her Dutch citizenship.

 

In December 2018, Anna's father, Gert, arrived in the UK. As Anna's dependent family member, Gert was awarded Pension Credit after providing evidence of Anna's status.

These and other changes to EEA-related benefits law are  reflected in our Benefits for EEA Nationals training course, available with support either in-house or as an open course in in Swansea on 5th March or London on 1st April 2019.

RECENT CASE LAW

Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law (see also Health Case Law right).

UNIVERSAL CREDIT

Is a sanction decision tenable if conditionality requirements were not made clear?

CSUC/494/2017

Published 9th November 2018

 

EEA

Is ad hoc work enough to establish UK as the competent EU state?

CG/1851/2015

Published 3rd November 2018

 

CHILD BENEFIT

Is someone challenging a deportation order ‘subject to immigration control’?

CF/1077/2017

Published 3rd November 2018

 

WORKING TAX CREDIT

Can claimant satisfy disability element of Working Tax Credit based on incorrect award in the previous year?

CTC/3231/2016

Published 25th September 2018

 

HOUSING BENEFIT

Bedroom tax appeals where separate bedrooms needed for disability

CH/2658/2015 & CH/4674/2014

Published 28th August 2018

Implicit consent 'a priority'

DWP GUIDANCE

Links to recent government guidance and bulletins :

​UC / HOUSING BENEFIT

The government updates local authorities on Universal Credit data sharing issues in LA Welfare Direct 12/2018.

UNIVERSAL CREDIT

Government confirms corporate appointee process and ways in which claimant representatives can contact DWP by phone.

UC LA Bulletin 3/2018

JSA

Amendments to regulations re higher pensioner and disability premiums

DMG 17/18

STATE PENSION

Memo mainly relating to the equalisation of pension ages for men and women.

DM16/18

PENSION CREDITS

Additional amounts for children and young people in pension credits

DM 14/18

The government is looking urgently into the issue of implicit consent for Universal Credit, so that advisors are automatically able to act as representatives for UC claimants when communicating with the DWP.

The issue was discussed as part of DWP evidence to the Work & Pensions Select Committee on the benefit cap by Families Minister Justin Tomlinson, who  described implicit consent as a 'real priority' for both benefit cap and UC in order for 'support groups and partnership organisations (to) offer their assistance.'

The need for implicit consent has been flagged up since the earliest days of Universal Credit, although since acknowledging its importance, the DWP seems to be citing the more recent GDPR regulations as the cause.

You can get expert training and support on consent around UC, by booking onto one of our constantly updated, 'excellent'  Universal Credit courses or ask us to come and deliver one wherever you are.

Amber Rudd takes questions

Amber Rudd, the new Work & Pensions Secretary, has taken her first questions in the role, following the resignation of Esther McVey over Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal.

The MP for Hastings & Rye and former Home Secretary says she is committed to ensuring we have a 'fair, compassionate and efficient benefits system'. She  admitted that there are problems with Universal Credit and said she would make it her role to deliver improvements.

You can see her past voting record here.

DID YOU KNOW....?

Quick links to recent benefits-related statistics for those who don't do Facebook or Twitter.

2019/20 benefits & pensions uprating

The government has announced its uprating of benefits and pensions, with small increases in some disability benefits. We will be reminding you of the rate changes in April.

Half have 20% deducted from UC award

Almost 50% of UC claimants have at least 20% deducted from their award,  says DWP minister Alok Sharma.

 

Labour to restore Legal Aid

The Labour Party has vowed to bring back Legal Aid in order to support those who are challenging benefits decisions, should it come to power.

 

£10bn means-tested benefits unclaimed

Statistics for 2016/17 show that up to £10bn in means-tested benefits went unclaimed.

UK poverty 'contrary to British values'

A United Nations report has described  the levels of poverty in the United Kingdom, the world's fifth largest economy, as 'patently unjust and contrary to British values'.

The report, by UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty & Human Rights Philip Alston, followed a two week fact-finding mission and focused mainly on the effects of changes to the social security system since 2010.

 

Mr Alston condemned the 'punitive, mean-spirited and often callous' approach to people who need support and described the predicted increase in child poverty levels as 'not just a disgrace but  social calamity and economic disaster'.

The UN report was coincdentally followed by UK Poverty 2018, a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which showed that 14.3m people., including 1 in 4 children, are currently living in poverty.

HEALTH CASE LAW

Quick links to selected recent health benefits-related case law:

PIP
Passive presence of another person can be enough for mobility descriptors 1d or 1f

CPIP/703/2018

Published 9th November 2018

Using DLA evidence at PIP appeal tribunals

CPIP/2386/2017 & CPIP/2307/2017

Published 3rd November 2018

 

ESA

Is it possible for an ‘uncontrollable life threatening disease’ not to be a ‘substantial risk’?

CE/849/2018

Published 9th November 2018

Questioning descriptor 5b and the ability to pick up old or new £1 coin

CE/26/2018

Published 3rd November 2018

 

DLA

Tribunal attendance needed where there is reliance on oral evidence of claimant

CDLA/2323/2017

Published 7th November 2018

PIP appeals now online

HM Courts & Tribunal Service has confirmed that the online appeals service for PIP is now live in England & Wales.

 

Following a successful test period which covered 2,700 appeal applications, the digital service has already seen a drop in paperwork errors by claimants of 45%.

HMCTS has also announced that there will be a third a new service centre in Loughborough, following two others in Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham which are due to open in January 2019.

FOR 12 MONTHS' FREE EXPERT BENEFITS SUPPORT,  book onto one of our open courses (or book an in-house course for your organisation). Any Benefits Training Co. course attendees wanting further advice with specific cases should contact the email address on their e-certificate.

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