In the news


Our bitesize news page includes the latest benefits news, guidance, training updates & case law. Please let us know what news or advice area you'd like us to include next month.

Over 75% of PIP and ESA appeals are successful

Statistics from a range of government departments continue to demonstrate how people with disabilities and health issues are being let down by the DWP's benefits assessments.


Self Introspection (c) Jonathan Wos 2002

Recent Ministry of Justice statistics show that more than three quarters of all rejected PIP and ESA claims are successful on appeal. This figure is backed up by 61% of successful Universal Credit appeals.

Meanwhile the DWP's own ESA statistics show that while 58% of people who claim ESA now go into the support group,  26% of ESA claimants are found 'fit for work'.


And the DWP's PIP statistics show that only 7% of people who are claiming for support for a long term health  condition receive a long term award.  More than 75% of PIP awards are short term and require a new application within two years. In response the Government has announced plans via the Queen's Speech for a new minimum PIP award, but there are no details as yet.

If you need help with a forthcoming PIP or ESA appeal, you may want to book onto our next Preparing for An Appeal Tribunal course on 23rd April in London.


Quick links to more recent benefits-related news.

Almost 75% of children with lone parent live below Minimum Income Standard

A fast-growing proportion of lone parents living below MIS are working full time.

5000 ESA claimants never received arrears

DWP progress report shows that 5000 underpaid ESA claimants had died before receiving their arrears.

Human cost of poor Housing Benefit practice

Ombudsman's report highlights problems with appeals, processing new evidence and recovery action.

2015 cuts saved £4bn less than planned

An OBR report describes how the scale of the 2015 welfare cuts  'proved greater than was politically deliverable'.

More legal power for Ministers?

Boris Johnson's Cabinet planning on new powers

Ministers are set to assume more power over legal decisions following the reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill.


The new Bill will give Ministers the power to regulate  for circumstances in which the courts and tribunals may diverge from EU case law. Such powers are currently confined to the Supreme Court and Scotland's High Court of Justiciary.


It is just one aspect of the UK's proposed withdrawal from the European Union that is being questioned by members of the House of Lords, which is debating the Bill in the second half of January.

The new Parliament has already voted down a proposed clause from the Lords which would have offered a right to reside to any EU national resident in the UK on exit day.


Any advisor or volunteer who is confused or concerned about the current and future welfare of EEA nationals in the UK can reserve a place on our next Benefits for EEA Nationals course on 25th March.

LHA rates set to rise from April

The government has announced that Local Housing Allowance rates will go up in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from April 2020.

Local housing allowances, which have been frozen by the Conservative govenment since 2015 in the name of 'austerity',  has recently been the subject of a report by  Crisis, which shows that families are being forced to give up food to pay their rent.


A similar Scottish government report had also called for a substantial rise in LHA rates to help address poverty.

Manage Your Appeal online

HM Courts & Tribunal Service has introduced a process for those who are legally challenging their benefits decision to manage their appeal online.

The new Manage Your Appeal service will allow appellants to track where their appeal is within the system and follow procedures which would have previously been dealt with by post.


Quick links to selected recent  benefits-related case law

How claimaint’s inability to communicate in English is relevant to WCA


Published 17th December 2019


Assessing right to reside on basis of permanent incapacity


Published: 28 November 2019



No secondary right to reside for parent & primary carer of pre school-age child

CJSA/1637/2017, CIS/1888/2017 and CH/1889/2017

Published 17th December 2019


Amicable relations between former partners does not preclude estrangement


Published 17th December 2019


No academic case on paying DHP-related rent shortfall

[2019] EWHC 371 (Admin)

Published 3rd December 2019


Links to recent government guidance and bulletins

LA Welfare Direct Lite 01/2020

Notes on introduction of a permanent review of the unchanged earnings of self employed people on housing benefit.

14/1/20 Council Tax information letter

Letter of guidance from Minister of Housing, Communications & Local Government on pension age Council Tax reduction amendments.

HB Bulletin U1/2020

Guidance for HB staff on Carmichael/Rutherford lookalike stayed cases

LA Welfare Direct Lite 12/2019

Guidance on disregards for national emergency and disaster funding, reports on the National Fraud Initiative and information on sharing of customer data across LA services.

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.


Applications for Scottish Child Payment to be invited before its introduction

Ctizens Advice Scotland calls for complete overhaul of Universal Credit

Scotish food bank charities gave out 120,000 more parcels in 18 months to Sept 2019

Response to consultation on Job Grant

First draft of Disability Assistance for Children & YP regulations

Letter to Bob Doris re draft regulations that are now in place for investigations into social security offences


Hargey calls for Westminster welfare reforms to be reversed

Contracts for PO Card Account and HMG Payment Exceptions Service will not be renewed.

Changes to benefit regulations following new marriage and civil partnership legislation

40,000 claimants to be affected by end of welfare reform mitigation measures

NIHRC calls on Executive to guarantee targets for supporting people in poverty

Revocation and re-enactment of regulations re child maintenance benefits

Supreme Court considers human rights and devolution issues in NI’s UC rollout


Interim report on how move to UC, espcially for those in work, affects council tax reduction

Amendments to prescribed requirements for Council Tax reduction and default scheme

Wales commits to protect from cuts to council tax reduction

Almost a third of children living in poverty in Wales