In the news


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

Rudd unveils latest changes to Universal Credit

Amber Rudd has announced more new plans to make Universal Credit fit for purpose.

Answering questions in Parliament, following a speech at Kennington Jobcentre, Ms Rudd said that the managed migration process will begin with a 'pilot' of 10,000 cases (the first to be awarded UC following receipt of a managed migration notice), the lessons from which 'will inform next steps'.

Her speech was swiftly followed by more draft regulations outlining the proposed changes, which amend and replace previous regulations published in November 2018 and include:

  • Notice of managed migration claim for a 3 month period, outside of which the claim will be usually treated as a regular UC claim

  • Transitional protection for those whose UC award is less than their existing benefits, discretionary hardship payments from July 2019 specifically for hardship related to managed migration and a two week run-on of Income Support, JSA & ESA from July 2020.

  • Self-employed people migrating to UC (and newly self-employed claims from Sept 2020) will have a 12 month period before the Minimum Income Floor applies.

  • Provision for students currently claiming existing benefits to move onto UC

  • Transitional payments for eligible claimants  who previously received a Severe Disability Premium and have already moved to UC via natural migration.


In addition to managed migration, new protections for those with a Severe Disability Premium (see article below left) and guidance for staff regarding earned income anomalies, Ms Rudd has vowed to make Universal Credit fairer for women.


In her Kennington speech, and following a recent landmark case involving 4 single mothers, she has made a commitment that UC payments to families with children will go directly to the 'main carer', who is usually (but not always) a woman. These changes will start to be made 'later this year'.

To learn more about all the latest changes to Universal Credit, book onto any of our Universal Credit open courses or contact us to book a course at your venue.


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

​​Subsidy grant allocations to LAs

Council Tax support: subsidy grant allocations to local authorities 2019/20.

NAO investigate overpayments to carers

The National Audit Office are looking into overpayments of Carers’ Allowance and asks for any evidence to be submitted to them by email.

Personalised support packages

£40m worth of personalised support packages have been announced for long term unemployed people with disabilities.


Unlikely to be affected: Mixed age couple Sir Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster.


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


High court rules that DWP method of assessing earnings in UC is unlawful

Published 11th January 2018

[2019] EWHC 23 (Admin)


Comparison of grounds for recoverability of benefit overpayments

Published 18th December 2018

CUC/50/2018 & CUC/51/2018



Can separated couple living together claim individual housing benefit?

Published 21st December

CH/3082/2016 & CH/3083/2016 and CH/462/2017 & CH/463/2017


Housing benefit not payable to landlords who are parents of a tenant’s child

Published 21st December 2018




DWP should act on own guidance re inappropriate referrals to work activity

Published 21st December 2018



Links to recent government guidance and bulletins :


DLA reinstated if good reason for non attendance of PIP assessment

ADM Memo 24/18


DWP guidance and EU guidance on benefits following a no deal Brexit


Miscellaneous amendments to UC

ADM Memo 22/18

Improved process for third party deductions in UC and Welsh language option for UC online

Touchbase Edition 131


Guidance on housing benefit for claimants entitled to Severe Disability Premium

HB Circular A1/2019

Housing Benefit Uprating 2019/20

HB Circular A8/2018


Amendments to JSA higher pensioner premium and disability premium

DGM 17/18

Protection for those with a Severe Disability Premium

The government has announced a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) Gateway to protect those who receive the SDP from natural migration to Universal Credit.

The announcement by Employment Minister Alok Sharma comes after pressure from Work &  Pensions Select Committee, amongst others and allows some claimants to continue to make new claims to all legacy benefits.


The protection is available to claimants with an existing award of a legacy benefit which contains a Severe Disability Premium (SDP). For example, if your client gets ESA including an SDP and then moves home to another local authority area they are able to make a new claim to Housing Benefit rather than having to claim Universal Credit.

Similarly, a claimant who loses ESA because they fail a Work Capability Assessment but who gets Housing Benefit with an SDP is able to make a new claim to Jobseeker's Allowance during the mandatory reconsideration process.


The legislation for this protection comes into force from 16th January 2019. For more information book onto any of our UC courses.

Stealth cuts to Child Benefit?

It is estimated that 1 in every 5 families will lose some Child Benefit by 2022.

According to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, 'stealth changes' are likely to affect up to 120,000 families who are not higher rate tax payers.

The study is published a few weeks after government statistics showed a drop in receipts of Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits for the year 2016-17.

Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland

We will link briefly to articles and guidance which separately affect benefits in Scotland, Wales  and/or Northern Ireland only when they differ significantly to those in England.




Consultation on job grants for 16-24 year olds


Scotland publishes its first Social Security Charter and a new chair announced and functions published for the Scottish Commission on Social Security:


Scottish budget as presented by Scottish Finance Minister Derek Mackay in December.


New guidance on best start grants in Scotland.


Amendments to five year recovery period for social security overpayments in Prescription Bill.


Only 22% PIP claimants knew to claim welfare supplementary payments.


Two thirds of welfare reform mitigation funding underspent 2016 -18.


NI response to DWP statement on PIP.

No pension credit for mixed age couples from May 2019

Couples of mixed ages, where one has reached pension age and the other has not, will not be able to claim pension credit from 15th May 2019.


The announcement has appeared at a time when the country was otherwise occupied by Brexit. Transitional protection will be available for mixed age couples who currently receive pension credit or pension age housing benefit, whilst they remain on either benefit.

In a written statement, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman said:

"This change will ensure that the same work incentives apply to the younger partner as apply to other people of the same age, and taxpayer support is directed where it is needed most.'

Age UK has warned that the cuts will have a 'truly devastating' effect with some couples due to lose out on £7,000 a year, compared to their potential pension credit award.


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


Correct approach to descriptor 5B: Using a pen to make a mark with either hand

Published 21st December 2018



Using PIP evidence to support ESA appeal at tribunal

Published 21st December 2018



DWP must provide burden of proof in assessing notional capital

Published 20th December


Claimants duty to report when their DLA stops

Published 18th December 2018


Date of Spanish invalidity claim established date of claim for ESA

Published 23 October 2018



Right of appeal when ‘anytime’ mandatory reconsideration request made 13 months after decision date

Published 19th December 2018

CSDLA/375/2016 & CSJSA/513/2016


Appointee acting for child in transfer from DLA to PIP at 16yrs old

Published 9 October 2018



Use of lip-reading when hearing aids do not help

Published 18th December 2018


Tribunal should consider inconsistencies between appellant and representative evidence

Published 18th December 2018

DWP publishes results of survey on supported accommodation

The DWP has published the results of a survey comparing cost controls for supported accommodation.

The Local Authority Insight Wave 35 survey compares cost control measures in housing benefit for people in supported housing in different local authorities and includes local authority recommendations for better regulation and good working practice.

NEW  Universal Credit and Universal Support course

The Benefits Training Co. is providing bespoke Universal Credit training to support advice centres with their provision of Universal Support.


In response to a request from a large Citizens Advice, we are running a new Universal Credit & Universal Support training course in March. To book a course for your advice service or to request that we put on a new open course,  contact