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.

Managed payments for private landlords

Private landlords can now set up managed payments via a new electronic process and without consent from tenants on Universal Credit who are more than two months in rental arrears.


News of the change came during a parliamentary debate on Universal Credit and the private housing sector, introduced by Lib Dem MP, Stephen Lloyd.. The then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, Caroline Dinenage responded:

We have simplified and sped up the process for private rented sector managed payment requests, which can now be done by email and on a single form, with no additional information required....


She added:

...when a private rented sector landlord asks for a managed payment to be set up and supplies evidence of two months’ rent arrears, we will implement the managed payment without requiring the claimant’s consent.

The government has since updated its guidance to landlords on UC and rented housing. You can be further updated on all the latest changes to UC and housing benefit by attending one of our forthcoming housing benefit or housing element courses.


Esther McVey has returned to the DWP, after an absence of almost three years, to assume the post of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in the latest Cabinet reshuffle.

Ms McVey, MP since 2017 for George Osborne's former seat of Tatton after losing her seat in the 2015 general election, was a Minister of State in the DWP (2013-15) and Privy Councillor (2014) during the Cameron-Clegg coalition. She had previously been Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People (2012-13) and prior to that worked as director of her family's construction firm and  as a TV and radio presenter. This is how she votes.

Other new names at the DWP include Alok Sharma as Minister of State for Employment and Sarah Newton as Minister of State for Disabled People, Health & Work.

December 2017 to 11 January 2018


Quick links to recent health benefits-related case law  (most recent at the top).


Previous evidence needed at tribunal after different outcome of PIP renewal claim


Published 15th January


Prompting from children to motivate PIP activities


Published 10th January


Claimant’s responsibility as a carer should be taken into account


Published 5th January


Socially appropriate communication must now be assessed


Published 21st December


Unlawful amendments made by DWP

[2017] EWHC 3375 (Admin)

Published 21st December

Assessing visual impairment for completing Activity 1 ‘safely’


Published 15th December


Tribunals must notify removal of previously awarded points


Published 12th December


Tribunal needs to identify aid or appliance when awarding points


Published 11th December


Is it fair for tribunal to proceed without an oral hearing?


11 Jan 2018



Doubts about a claimant’s credibility based upon misunderstanding of facts can amount to an error of law


Published 4th December


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

Help for DV victims

Help is available from the DWP for victims of domestic violence and abuse - see new DWP guidance.


75,000 ESA claims underpaid

Up to 75,000 people who claimed benefits including Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance & Income Support  which became ESA between 2011 - 2014 may be owed arrears. Individuals will be contacted by the DWP and only those who qualify from October 2014 will be eligible.

December 2017 - January 2018


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

Universal Credit / Housing Benefit

No new UC claims in live areas from 1 Jan 2018


Published 10th January

Uprating of benefits


Published 21st December

96% young people awarded UC Housing Element

4 December 2017 - 11 January 2018


Quick links to recent non health-related case law  (most recent at the top of each benefit section).

Housing Benefit

Entitlement to bedroom dependent on who occupies the room


Published 19th December


Universal Credit

Bedroom size needs to be able to hold a bedside table and clothes storage


Published 7th December


Income Support

Change in 2009 Mortgage Limits could discriminate against Disabled claimants

EWCA Civ 2123

Published 8th December 2017

1m children to lose out on free school meals

One million children are set to lose their free school meal entitlement once the government sets an income threshold in UC  for entitlement.

According to a report by The Children's Society, the areas most likely to be affected are those with the highest child poverty index: London, the West Midlands and the North West.

The government's proposal to limit free school meals to a net income of under £7400 a year was  recently subject to a Department of Education consultation. Findings are yet to be released.

Should the government continue to fund free school meals with all Universal Credit claims until the UC rollout is complete, about 2m children from low income families will benefit.

96% of young people aged 18-21 have been awarded the housing element of Universal Credit since automatic entitlement ended for new claims in April 2017, according to government statistics.


The large number of successful claims is mainly due to exemptions from the new policy for some young people on the basis of:


  • Having dependent children (50%)

  • Being part of a couple 29%

  • Earning more than NMW for 16+housr a week (26%)

  • Other reasons 35%

'Other reasons' are described in the DWP figures  as 'certain vulnerable people and those unable to live with their parents'. More on this in our Universal Credit: The Housing Element course on 14 May.

HMRC need to help vulnerable Tax Credit claimants more

A Public Accounts Committee report has raised concerns that HMRC is not doing enough to help vulnerable people with Tax Credit claims transferring to Universal Credit.

The report also warns that tax credit error and fraud has risen from 4.8% to 5.5% and is likely to rise further (estimated at 7-8%) as Tax Credit claims continue to transfer to UC.