In the news

APRIL 2019

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.

Compensation for wrongly advised UC migrations


Univeral Credit Director General, Neil Couling CBE

The DWP has admitted that compensation is payable to those people who lose out after having been wrongly and unnecessarily advised to migrate onto Universal Credit from legacy benefits. 

UC Director General Neil Couling confirmed to the Work & Pensions Committee that where this has previously occurred 'we have compensated the individuals..., as I hope you would expect we would do'.

Mr Couling may come to be surprised by the extent that such wrong advice has already been given but he gives reason to suggest it would be worth claiming for compensation in such cases.



Giving evidence to the Work & Pension Committee's recent inquiry into the welfare safety net, Mr Couling also said that people moving onto UC via the managed migration would need to be supported by stakeholders and partners, and that this was being tested in the Harrogate UC migration pilot through an initiative called Who Knows Me?


Secretary of State Amber Rudd  went on to tell the Committee that she recognised the expertise of the third (voluntary) sector as partners in supporting claimants and, in the same way the government has asked Citizens Advice for help (see Launch of Help to Claim below right), she acknowledged that if the government were to work more with the third sector as part of the managed migration, they knew they would 'have to fund it'.

To keep informed and supported with all the latest Universal Credit issues and updates, book onto one of our Universal Credit courses.


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

Mind your language

DWP commissioned research suggests personalised language around cheating and fraud is unhelpful in terms of fostering positive relations between claimants and DWP staff.

Rights of EU citizens living in the UK?

The Immigration & Social Security (EU Withdrawal) Bill holds no guarantee of continued rights for EU citizens living in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit, warns the Human Rights Committee.

50% even worse off

DWP Minister confirms more than 50% UC claims are subject to deductions.

Government consults separated parents

The government is seeking input for research into the living conditions and finances of separated and, in particular, no- resident parents. Consultation closes 16th April.


Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law.


Right to reside where self employed claimant does not meet minimum income threshold

Published 28th March 2019




EU jobseeker denied housing benefit

Published 12th March 2019

[2018] NIQB 93



Duty to adjourn if appellant cannot fully participate in hearing

Published 23rd February 2019




Landlord appeals unpaid arrears accrued from large tenancy deposit

Published 23rd February 2019




Incontinence during seizures not relevant to Activity 9 descriptors

Published 23rd February 2019


Consultation on the Claimant Commitment

Rot Blau Gelb, oil on canvas, Gerhard Richter 1972

The Social Security Advisory Committee has launched a consultation on the Claimant Commitment, focussing on the experiences of the all-work related activity conditionality group.


The consultation is particularly interested in contributions from individuals and organisations with relevant experience on how the claimant commitment takes in to account the claimant’s personal circumstances (can one size fit all?) ; whether the commitment is fully understood by claimants and how it could be improved.


The consultation will close on 16th April.

Mandatory reconsiderations taking more time

The time taken over the mandatory reconsideration of a PIP claim has increased by over 50% in the past three months, and almost doubled in the past year, according to figures shared in parliament by Justin Tomlinson.


This is depressing news for people who are already waiting too long for benefits, although there may be some encouragement that there has also been a big rise in the proportion of appeals found in favour of the claimant, with ESA and PIP leading the way, as reported in Ministry of Justice statistics last month.


Anyone with particular interest in this issue at the moment may also be interested in attending our Preparing for an Appeal Tribunal training course in London on Thursday 27th June.

Fast-track UC claim for refugees?

DWP Minister Alok Sharma has outlined the steps by which a refugee can speed up the UC claims process.


Responding to a written question from Dan Carden MP (Liverpool North), Mr Sharma also outlines alternative payment methods for people who do not have a bank account.

Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland

We 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.



Foodbanks in Scotland are being used almost twice as much as had previously been thought, says the Independent Food Aid Network.


EHRC report says that Scotland’s poorest families have been hit hardest by UK’s tax and welfare reforms.

HB CIRCULAR S7/2019 (revised)

New burdens funding for Carer's Allowance Supplement and Best Start Grant 2018/19



Nearly half all Welsh households to be worse off once welfare reforms are fully implemented, according to a Welsh Government report.

Launch of Help to Claim

The government has launched a £39m initiative for Citizens Advice to support new claimants with Universal Credit.


The new Citizens Advice service, which is available from 1st April until the first correct payment of UC has been received, will be ‘free, confidential and impartial’. The stages are outlined in How to Claim, a step-by-step guide to claiming Universal Credit.


For Help to Claim training, our popular UC & Universal Support: Making Effective Claims training course has been supporting local Citizens Advices to prepare to offer this service over the past few months. Contact us for more information.


Links to recent government guidance and bulletins


One off loan charge does not affect earning calculation for housing benefit.

HB Circular A4/2019

Increase in housing costs non-dependent deductions from 8 April 2019

DMG Memo 03/19

New burdens payments for housing benefit fraud referrals

HB Circular S8/2019

Benefits uprating and contribution rates 2019-20

ADM Memo 06/19

New burdens payments for Severe Disability Premium & Pension Credit Child additions

HB Circular S6/2019 (revised)

New burdens funding for implementing changes to HB for mixed age couples

HB Circular S5/2019

Follow-up inquiry into in-work progression

The Work & Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into the success or otherwise of in-work progression in UC.


The new inquiry follows up on some of the findings of a similar inquiry in 2016, to see if improvements have been made.


The inquiry is looking for submissions on a range of topics including the barriers people face to progressing in work, if work coaches have the training and tools to support people in work effectively (iand if not what further training they need); the role, if any, conditionality or sanctions should play in encouraging and supporting in-work progression and what evidence the government needs to measure the success of its policy and what it could do to futher encourage in-work progression. Submissions by Fri 26 April.