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.

PIP review of 1.6m claims

January - February 2018


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


Closure of UC live service to new claims from 1st January 2018

ADM 1/18


Housing Benefit 2018/19 administration subsidy arrangements for England/Wales


New Burdens payments available to cover transition to closure of UC live service


Discretionary Housing Payments funding and limits for 2018/19


The government is to review around 1.6million PIP claims to reassess the mobility component for people who experience psychological distress.


A timetable has not been set but the Minister for Disabled People, Health & Work, Sarah Newton, has confirmed in a written answer that the 'effective date' from which claims will be reassessed is 28th November 2016, the date of the original MH judgment.


According to the Minister, there will be no face-to-face reassessments but people who previously scored zero points will be included in the review (see full report in Hansard).

The review announcement follows an earlier statement by Secretary of State Esther McVey that around 220,000 people were owed PIP as a result of the High Court judgment RF v SSWP & Ors (2017) EWHC 3375.

Universal Credit a significant risk to public spending control

December 2017 - February 2018


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


Tribunal should check reasons before proceeding in claimant's absence


Published 7th February 2018

Appropriateness of accepting concessions from unrepresented claimants at appeal

CPIP 2582/2017

Published 2nd February 2018

Are explanations needed when PIP decision differs from DLA?


Published 2nd February 2018

The meaning of 'assistance', 'supervision' and 'intervention' when preparing food


Published 25th January 2018



Published 19th January 2018


What constitutes good reason for not attending a PIP consultation?


Published 14th December 2017


Should aids/appliances be considered when assessing mental health descriptors?


Published 22nd January 2018

On the meaning of a 'meaningful mark'  (descriptor 5c)


Published 18th December 2017


Does an EU citizen necessarily have right to reside following death of British partner?


Published 18th December 2017

Does return to work necessarily mean ability to work?


Published 19th December 2017

Universal Credit poses a 'significant risk to the Treasury in terms of public spending control', according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

In its recent Welfare Trends report, the OBR describes how the design and delivery of UC  remain 'an enormous challenge' and notes that the new system should have cost significantly less  than the legacy benefits system it is replacing.

The OBR forecasts indicate that UC will save the Treasury around £1bn (2%) more than the legacy benefits system would have done by 2022/23,  but acknowledges that any additional policy changes or amendments to design could further impact these 'modest savings'.

The report concludes therefore that UC reforms remain 'a significant risk' to public spending control.


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.

UC rollout schedule Feb - April

Legislation has been issued to allow for the further rollout of Universal Credit in London, Glasgow, Leeds and Cardiff, amongst others.


4000 homes subject to benefit cap

Up to 4000 households in UC full service areas were subject to the benefit cap as at  November 2017, according to DWP statistics. Of those 17% were capped more than £100 per week.

December 2017 - February 2018


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


Disability element of Working Tax Credit may continue after claimant no longer meets conditions


Published 25th January 2018



Is ignorance of law a good reason for failing to carry out work search?


Published 14th December 2017


Whether EU National can claim HPR for a period when children raised outside UK


Published 19th January 2018


Do maintenance payments to spouse from private pension constitute income for the claimant?


Published 17th January 2018

An earnings threshold of £7,400 has been set for entitlement to Free School Meals for  people on Universal Credit.

Statutory regulations have already been issued to allow the threshold to come into place on 1st April 2018 in areas of UC full service. Those with an earnings threshold over £7400 whose children currently have free school meals will be protected until their child ends that phase of their primary or secondary education.

According to the government, the limit of £7400 is 'the fairest and most practical way' children from the lowest income families can receive free school meals.

The announcement followed a Department of Education consultation on Free School Meals which received 560 responses, including 56% in favour of the proposed £7400 earnings threshold. The views of the other 44%  respondents, along with 8000 emails sent as part of a Children's Society campaign asking for free school meals to be offered to all children whose families receive UC, were acknowledged as 'significant'.

New earnings threshold for Free School Meals
Update on  the Minimum Income Floor

The Minimum Income Floor (MIF) is an assumed amount of earnings from self-employment for people who are claiming Universal Credit. 

MIF can affect UC claimants after one year of self-employment, if they earn below their MIF amount. It is worked out by multiplying the number of hours someone is available for work by the minimum wage and is usually based on 35 hours per week.

In a recent meeting with the Work & Pensions Committee, Neil Couling, Director General of UC, confirmed that where someone has childcare or other care responsibilities, the MIF should be set at a lower amount based on a reduced number of weekly hours.

Not all self employed UC claimants will be affected by the MIF. Parents, people with disabilities

UK sickness & unemployment benefits 'manifestly inadequate'

A Council of Europe committee has found that the UK benefits system is 'manifestly inadequate' with several benefits falling below the European Social Charter poverty threshold.

The annual report of the European Committee of Social Rights, part of the Council of Europe, finds that levels of ESA, JSA and SSP (statutory sick pay) fall below 40% of the median income of EU states.

The Committee reported similar findings in 2013 and continues to reject the UK' government's assertion that the low levels are made up for by the availability of other benefits.


Adventures of PIP, action video game by Tic Toc Games reviewed by

DWP guidance for Work & Health Programme providers

The DWP has issued new guidance to help Work & Health Programme providers.


The WHP, which replaces the Work Programme, is intended to offer additional services to those offered by Jobcentreplus and local integrated services for people who have multiple barriers to work or a disability. Pay particular attention to Chapter 6 on the need for providers to make 'reasonable adjustments' for those with complex needs.