In the news

JULY 2020

Our bitesize benefits news page includes the latest benefits news, guidance, training updates & case law. Please let us know if there is anything you would like us to include next month.

Return to conditionality as jobcentres reopen

Much of Leicester remains in lockdown following

a surge in COVID19 cases

CChanges ahead on UC treatment of earnings

People claiming Universal Credit who have been negatively affected by their wages having been paid twice in one UC assessment period can expect to be compensated following a Court of Appeal judgment.

The government has said it will not challenge the ruling, where three judges found the DWP had acted irrationally and unlawfully in their failure to adapt earned income assesssment rules in Universal Credit.


The landmark appeal case taken by Leigh Day and CPAG on behalf of Johnson & Ors is likely to have a significant impact, particularly on those whose double earnings in a single UC assessment period have led to a benefit cap.

AutoUC auto reclaim regulations

Regulations on renewing claims following surplus earnings in Universal Credit have been amended  to account for those who are on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

if UC is wiped out by surplus earnings, claimants are usually forced to make a new claim but under the new regulations, an automatic reclaim will take place.


This is intended to help people getting payments like SEISS who may be subject to surplus earnings rules, but could affect anyone whose UC is wiped out by earnings. If claimants don't want to automatically reclaim, they will need to ask the DWP to end the claim. See guidance ADM Memo 10/20 for more details.


Links to recent government guidance & bulletins

LA Welfare Direct Lite 06/2020

Includes guidance for LAs on removal of bedroom tax for some family members with disabilities and their carers.

ADM Memo 11/20 and DMG Memo 13/20

Guidance on the effect of CJRS and SEISS payments on Universal Credit claims (ADM) and legacy benefit claims (DMG)

Updated guidance on shielding

Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

ADM Memo 10/20

Guidance on coronavirus self employment and reclaims regulations

ADM 9/20 and DMG 12/20

Guidance on temporary absence from the UK regarding cash sickness benefits including PIP, DLA and Carers Allowance.

ADM 08/20

Guidance on impact of CJRS and SEISS on JSA and new-style ESA payments

LA Welfare Direct 6/2020

Includes guidance for LAs on easement of housing benefit rules on temporary absence from the UK during lockdown

Benefits sanctions have been reintroduced from the start of July, according to Work & Pensions Secretary, Dr Thérèse Coffey.

The return of conditionality will coincide with 'jobcentres reopening across the country' (although  presumably not in Leicester nor any other area hit by a second wave of COVID-19).

Dr Coffey said that it was 'important as the jobcentres reopen fully this week, we reinstate the need for a claimant commitment.'


The DWP has removed the clause relating a pause in conditionality and COVID-19 from updated separate UC guidance affecting refugees, prison leavers, homeless people, people with a disability or health condition, couples and families. However, more recently it added that adhering to the new claimant commitment must reflect the 'new normal' and bear claimants' personal circumstances in mind.

In response, the Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds has described the decision to reintroduce conditionality  as'incomprehensible' and the Public & Commercial Services Union has called it  'premature' with the potential to create a 'perfect storm'.


Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law

Relevance of evidence submitted after tribunal decision but pertaining to the case


Published 24th June 2020


DWP acted unlawfully & irrationally over inflexible payments relating to the UC assessment period

[2020] EWCA Civ 778

Published 22nd June 2020



An invalid enforcement reference relating to a valid request for adjudication history


Published 24th June


The meaning of ‘spouse’ in relation to Widowed Parents Allowance and unrecognised marriages


Published 15th June 2020



Exclusion from Pension Credit for mixed age couples is not unlawful

[2020] EWHC 1495 (Admin)

Published 12th June 2020



No coronavirus-related SSP for Uber drivers or other Limb B workers

[2020] EWHC 1554 (Admin)

Published 11th June 2020



Does lack of mobility necessarily mean inability to follow a route?


Published 15th June 2020


Proceeding with appeal without presenting officer / conflicting information in decision notice / entitlement to any PIP when reduced PIP was substantive issue of appeal


Published 9th June 2020



Validity of requirement to be living in Common Travel Area for 3 months before claim


Published 21st May 2020

Win a CPAG Welfare Benefits & Tax Credits handbook 2020/21

The annual Child Poverty Action Group Welfare Benefits & Tax Credits handbook 2020/21 has recently been published.

The handbook is an essential reference guide for any benefits advisor and contains detail on the changes to case law, benefit rates and other updates.


CPAG is an important charitable  organisation campaigning for policies to address poverty, winning many landmark cases at appeal on behalf of people who claim benefits. As well as campaigning, CPAG hosts conferences, provides training and publishes a range of other welfare benefits-related guides, handbooks and a newsletter.


We will be sending a copy of the CPAG Welfare Benefits & Tax Credits handbook 2020/21 (worth £65) to one person who answers the following question correctly (or nearest estimate):

What is the minimum amount that can be paid as Universal Credit?

Email your answer to before 21st July, with the subject: CPAG HANDBOOK COMPETITION.  The winning name will be randomly selected from the Benefits Training Co. hat.


Bitesize links to other benefits-related news:

Over 1.4m without a welfare safety net

Citizens Advice finds more than 1.4m people have no recourse to public funds in the UK.

Increase in borrowing by UC claimants

A Joseph Rowntree Foundation report shows that 60% of families on UC have been forced to borrow money since lockdown


3m new UC claims since lockdown

DWP statistics also show that 100,000 new claims were made in the w/c 9th June and the ONS confirms that the number on UC and JSA doubled between March and May 2020.

No requirement for DS1500

DWP confirms there is no requirement for form DS1500 to support a benefit claim under terminal illness rules.

£63m for essentials

The government has provided an additional £63m for LA emergency funds in England


Butterfly rainbow, Damien Hirst, 2020

Changes to SSP rules on shielding

People who are shielding due to clinical vulnerability will soon be unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay.


Exact dates vary* across the home nations,  but from 1st August, people who have been shielding at home on the basis of vulnerability will no longer have an automatic right to SSP and will need the usual evidence from a GP about their condition (see full list in Guidance), rather than  vulnerability to COVID-19.

Speaking for the government, Justin Tomlinson said he  expects employers to 'do the right thing'  to support shielding employees to safely transition back to work. He suggests the CJRS and SEISS  for those whose employers are unable to offer a safe transition.


At time of writing, these SSP rules will change in England and N Ireland from 1st August. Scotland is currently advising shielding until 'at least 31st July' while Wales will continue until 16th August. Please check exact timings in your local area.

LegaLegacy benefits run-on from 22/7

A one-off 'run-on' or additional amount will be added to the final legacy benefit awards of people who claim Universal Credit as part of the natural migration this month.


This is the DWP's attempt to quell requests for ongoing transitional protection to cover those who have been forced to claim UC as part of the natuarl migration.


So, for claimants moving from an income-related benefit, a further payment of their JSA, ESA and IS could be paid for a maximum of 2 weeks. This payment will have no impact on their UC payment received These new regulations come into effect from 22nd July.

Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales

Brief links to articles, reports and guidance which separately affect benefits in Scotland, Wales and/or Northern Ireland,  when they differ significantly to those in England or the rest of the UK.


Scottish government statistics on Young Carers Grant applications and awards

Almost 80% of council tax reduction recipients receive full reduction

Social Care Support Fund legislation for care workers financially affected by COVID19

Letter from Housing Minister to DWP demands action on rent during lockdown

Final draft report on feasibility of Citizens’ Basic Income

Scottish Social Security Commission calls for adult safeguarding principles and guidance to underpin primary legislation

AppeaAppeals down but success rates up

Ministry of Justice statistics show that the number of social security appeals had fallen by almost a third in the the three months before the COVID-19 lockdown, but DWP statistics show that both ESA  and PIP appeals still have an average success rate of just under 80%.