In the news

MAY 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.

Benefits changes for EU claimants without settled status


EU nationals and campaigners protesting changes to settled status arrangements

EU nationals without settled status who need to claim benefits in the UK face further uncertainty following new legislation this month.

The new regulations, published on 16th April and coming into effect from 7th May, amend benefit provisions relating to the right to reside for pre-settled status EU nationals claiming income support, income-based JSA, pension credit, universal credit, housing benefit, income-related ESA, child benefit and child tax credit and clarify that pre-settled status (aka 'limited leave to remain' under the EU settlement scheme) is not a right to reside for purposes of establishing habitual residence.

EEA nationals may, of course, have an existing right to reside which does allow claims to benefit under EU law, but having pre-settled status does not give them this right in itself (whereas settled status does).

These and future changes are reflected in our Benefits for EEA Nationals course, which next takes place in London on 7th October or as an in-house course for up to 20 participants at your venue on request.


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


Rehearing after DWP’s reversed negative determination for claimant who failed to attend medical

Published 16th April 2019


Tribunal must assess evidence on entitlement before identifying grounds for supersession

Published 2nd April 2019




Tribunal cannot make decision within 14 day reconsideration period

Published 9th April 2019


Should a statement of reasons always be shared with claimant at Tribunal?

Published 9th April 2019




Effect of coordination rules on sickness benefit when claimant moves comes from another EEA state

Published 10th April 2019


Member state of residence is competent state for DLA care component

Published 10th April 2019


EEA / Carers Allowance

Effect of coordination rules on carers’ allowance when claimant moves to another EEA state

Published 10th April 2019


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 or the rest of the UK.


Crisis grant applications to Scottish Welfare Fund increase by 13% from last year.

Auditor General reports that benefits delivery is going to get much harder


Joint enquiry launched into Northern Ireland’s welfare policy.


Welsh government reaffirms commitment to advice services

1.9m will lose £1K on UC

Nearly 2,000,000 people will lose at least £1,000 a year following their move onto UC, according to new research by the IFS.


The research, which looks at the effects of UC on claimants over a period of 8 years, shows that 77% of those who will lose £1,000+ are most likely to be:

  • some people with disabilities

  • the self employed on low earnings

  • mixed age couples

  • people with savings over £16K

Those UC claimants whose earnings are in the lowest 10% of the population will lose more over eight years than any other higher income group. Find out more on our next UC in Practice course.



Links to recent government guidance and bulletins

Touchbase April Edition 133

The DWP’s monthly newsletter Includes guidance on the use of National Insurance numbers with UC payments to corporate appointees and a new tool to speed up Habitual Residence Test decisions.


LA Welfare Direct Bulletin 4/19

Guidance for local authorities on the Windrush Compensation Scheme; signposting claimants who are not eligible for HB back to UC; Help to Claim and Pension Credit Child Additions.

HB Circular A5/2019

On reporting supported housing charges paid through housing benefit

HB Circular S9/2019

New burdens payments to LAs for implementation of welfare reforms 2019/20

Benefits, human rights & digital technology

What is the impact of the use of digital technology within the UK benefits system?


The United Nations is calling for evidence on the impact on human rights of digital technology used in social protection systems across the world.

Social protection systems are defined as “the set of policies and programmes designed to reduce and prevent poverty and vulnerability throughout the life cycle".


Submissions deadline 17 May 2019.

Update on ESA underpayments

The government has confirmed that 400 new DWP staff, along with 800 on redeployment, have been recruited specifically to handle ESA underpayments.


In a letter to the Work & Pensions Committee, DWP Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield estimates that the administrative cost alone of reviewing and correcting underpayments will be a staggering £40,000,000.

Meanwhile, people whose ESA is being reviewed are being asked to complete another form (ESA3) in order to 'reapply'. Their local authority will also be informed of the reviewed claim by the DWP, so that they can assess the further impact of underpayment on loss of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction but, as yet, the process for any additional compensation is unclear.

Anyone who is challenging an ESA or PIP decision would do well to attend our forthcoming Preparing for An Appeal Tribunal training course at Wesley's Chapel in London EC1 on 27th June.


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


DWP pays for misadvised moves to UC

The DWP has so far paid compensation to 5 claimants who were wrongly advised to move onto UC before May 2019.

Food bank use up by 18%

The Trussell Trust says that use of foodbanks has risen by 18% in the past year, with a record 1.6m food parcels given out by its organisation alone.

Computer Says No!

A new CPAG report based on data from their Early Warning System has highlighted errors and shortfalls in the information provided to people claiming UC.

Benefits support for prisoners

DWP Minister Will Quince has outlined the benefits and housing support available to prisoners before and on release.

No pursuit of written-off historic debts

Amber Rudd has confirmed that the DWP will not pursue historic debt which has previously been written off, except when it is the result of fraud.

DWP to recover £150m Carers' Allowance overpayments

The DWP is hoping to recover over £150m in Carers' Allowance overpayments to 80,000 people, according to an National Audit Office report.


The NAO's Investigation into Overpayments of Carers’ Allowance highlights that much of the overpaid benefit was due to staff shortages and administration backlogs at the DWP.

However, since the introduction of new people and systems, the DWP is much more able to detect overpayments at early stages. In 2018-19, it detected 93,000 overpayments compared to an average of 41,000 a year in the previous 5 years.


Few of the overpayments were due to proven fraud and at the standard rate of repayment for people on benefits, the overpayments are likely to take an average of 3.5 years for each carer to repay their debt.


Quick links to other selected recent benefits-related case law.


Compatibility of two child rule with European Convention on Human Rights

Published 16th April 2019

[2019] EWCA Civ 615

A Yeshiva does not need separate approval as a school or college

Published 11th April 2019




Do travel days count as part of housing benefit 4 week absence calculations?

Published 30th April 2019



Is evidence of right to reside as Chen child carer enough maintenance undertaking for housing benefit?

Published 11th April 2019


Become an appointee for someone claiming benefits

Many vulnerable people find claiming benefits an almost impossible process to navigate.


Everyone is allowed one nominated appointee to claim on their behalf. This can be either an individual (including friend or family member) or an organisation, with the appointee then assuming full responsibility for the claim.


To find out how to become the appointee for someone who is claiming benefits, follow this DWP link.

This month, you could also have a look at Touchbase edition 133 where there's further guidance for corporate appointees.