Our benefits news page includes the latest news with links to recent guidance & case law. Please let us know if there is anything you would like us to include next month.

In the news


Closure of SDP gateway

New regulations announce changes to the transitional SDP element in Universal Credit for those moving to UC after the SDP gateway 'closes' on 27th January.

Senior Responsible Officer Neil Couling had confirmed in a letter to Geoff Fimister at the Disability Benefits Consortium that  those who previously received the premium in legacy benefits and who are now migrating to UC will be covered by a transitional payment. 

Guidance to local authorities explains that no new claims for housing benefit can be made by claimaints in receipt of a legacy benefit containing an SDP once the gateway closes. There are more details on this in Schedule 2 of the regulations plus the explanatory notes which outline new, wider criteria for recipients of the SDP payments.


Our benefits trainer Will Hadwen says: 'It's important to note that some ex-partners of SDP recipients moving from legacy benefits onto UC may now get the transitional payment too (although it may seem even more unfair to those ex-partners who have moved to UC before the gateway closes).

More on this in our next Universal Credit Overview and UC in Depth courses.


Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law


Do insurance policy payments preclude entitlement to funeral payments?


Published: 21st December 2020



What are 'severe behavioural problems' in the context of getting the mobility component due to a child’s mental impairment?


Published: 21st December 2020


Sanction overturned due to unclear notification about requirement to attend telephone interview


Published: 18th December 2020


Backdating a new UC claim after a Housing Benefit claimant moves to a neighbouring area


Published: 4th December 2020


Government acted illegally barring EU citizens from relying on pre-settled status to claim UC

[2020] EWCA 1741

Published: 18th December 2020



Effect of repealed Vexatious Actions (Scotland) Act 1898 can still prevent an appeal at FTT


Published: 18th December 2020

No deduction can be made from income invested overseas when assessing tax credits

CTC/1974/2019 (V)

Published: 4th December 2020 



Does limiting housing benefit to LHA shared accommodation rate discriminate against a wheelchair user?


Published: 14th December 2020


Does bedroom tax apply when spare room door will not open fully when it contains an adult single bed?


Published: 7th December 2020


Claimant is second respondent in case of overpayments made direct to landlord


Published: 1st December 2020



Should claims for different but related conditions be considered together?

CI/1000/2019, CI/1001/2019 and CI/1002/2019

Published: 8th December 2020


Disputed date of effect of IIDB after a change in circumstances


Published: 4th December 2020


Re-hearing for claimant after FTT misdiagnosed their condition


Published: 1st December 2020



Does a widow who was acquitted of unlawfully killing her husband forfeit rights to a Category B state pension?


Published: 1st December 2020



Appellant must be given sufficient notice of tribunal hearing time changes


Published: 1st December 2020

Closed UC claims double after failed Habitual Residence Tests

DWP Minister Justin Tomlinson has responded to a parliamentary question on the number of closed Universal Credit claims.


He has revealed that it more than doubled between May and November 2020 as a result of potential claimants failing the Habitual Residence Test.



Post Brexit changes

Following Britain's departure from the European Union, we have included links below to recent Brexit-related legal changes and associated guidance which may affect advice on welfare benefits:

The EU (Future Relations) Act 2020

Regulations and explanatory notes outlining social security coordination provisions with EEA countries following Brexit.

ADM 30/20 and DMG 26/20

Guidance to decision makers on the right to reside test for EEA nationals without settled or pre-settled status and confirming grace period for applications until 30 June 2021.


DMG 29/20 and ADM 33/20

Guidance on protecting the rights of EEA frontier workers working in the UK on 31 Dec

DMG 25/20 and ADM 29/20

Guidance for decision makers on transitional provisions for right to reside following revoked EU and EEA coordination regulations (see below)

Brexit social security regulations:

Regulations and explanatory notes revoking social security coordination with the EU from 31 Dec 2020 and revoking agreements with other countries in the EEA (Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland)

Post Brexit changes to legal jurisdiction

Regulations allowing courts to depart from EU law following Brexit

Social security for non UK or EU nationals

Amendment of social security and tax regulations to protect and limit claims after Brexit

NB The Withdrawal Agreement means that coordination continues for those in the UK before 31/12/20. You may also wish to revisit the clear and comprehensive  summary by Will Hadwen ('Brexit begins to bite') on our December 2020 news page.


We have also substantially updated our Benefits for EEA Nationals course, now renamed Benefits for European Migrants. The new course examines the effect of social security changes on UK citizens who live or who have recently lived in the European Union, as well as new arrivals to the UK from EU and EEA countries.

No extension of grace period

There are no plans to extend the nine month benefit cap grace period, which will be coming to an end for many new claimants this month.


People who became unemployed at the beginning of the first lockdown are likely to see their benefits significantly reduced in the coming months. Their plight will not be made any easier following the letters from Secretary of State Dr Coffey saying that the grace period will not be extended and that there will  no disregard related to COVID-19 compensation payments


According to Employment Minister Mims Davies, over 340,000 households currently fall within the scope of the nine month grace periods einging between December 2020 and March 2021, with the majority (over 300,000) potentially becoming affected by the cap in December and January. Not all these households will be affected by the cap, however according to a CPAG report, at least 75,000 households are likely to experience another drop in income very soon.


Links to recent, non-Brexit-related government regulations, guidance & bulletins

Jobcentre information during lockdown

Government press release including jobcentre information and guidance following new national COVID restricitions

ADM 32/20 and DMG 28/20

Entitlement to Sure Start Maternity Grant for refugees with other children under 16

ADM 31/20 and DMG 27/20

Removal of Genuine Prospect of Work Test for EEA Nationals in the UK who are involuntarily unemployed

Housing Benefit  Circular A11/2020

Guidance confirming that the removal of the SDP gateway on 27th January 2021 will mean that SDP claimant group will have to claim UC rather than legacy benefits.

Housing Benefit Circular A10/2020

Guidance for LAs to refer pre-1996 housing benefit cases to Rent Officer for subsidies

ADM 28/20 and DMG 24/20

Guidance on run-on of UC in assessment period where claimant reaches state pension age

Touchbase 18/12/20

Roundup of DWP news, including information on the Kickstart scheme, PIP Failure to Attend actions and Access to Work grants.

COVID-related Tax Credit changes

Miscellaneous amendments to tax credit legislation following COVID-19 changes


Quick links to other benefits-related news

New benefits & pension rates

The government has published the 2021/22 benefits and pension rates following an announcement in the November Spending Review.

Return of Failure to Attend

The DWP has reintroduced a 'Failure to Attend' process for PIP claimants who do not attend telephone interviews.

Adult Disability Payment will follow PIP

Scotland plans to use PIP descriptors for its new Adult Disability Payment from its launch in 2022 until it is reviewed in the summer of 2023.

Electronic claims for Bereavement Support

The DWP has now officially authorised an online claim system for Bereavement Support Payment, despite having previously stated it had done so in October.

No reply on Debt Management

The Work & Pensions Committee Chair has raised concerns over the continuing failure of the DWP to manage its own Debt Management helpline.


Drones over the Forth Rail Bridge say goodbye to 2020

Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales

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.


Regulations and notes on handling appeals on claims for Carers Allowance Supplement from outside the UK

Amendment of residency conditions for Carers Allowance Supplement and Young Carer’s Grant to include those living in EEA & Switzerland with a genuine and specific link to Scotland

Eligibility for Social Care Staff Support Fund extended

Consultation on draft regulations for Adult Disability Payment

New regulations allowing Scottish Ministers to appoint person to act for claimant in relation to applications for top-up assistance

Adult Disability Payment will use PIP descriptors from 2022 until review in summer 2023

Scottish Affairs Committee launches survey of experience of benefits system

Scotland announces pilot areas for Child Disability Payment

Legislative changes to Council Tax Reduction Scheme on disregard of benefits

Scotland will use its Evaluation of Carers Allowance Supplement to help establish its own Carers Allowance


Regulations allowing for £200 one-off payments in COVID-19 Heating Payment Scheme

Dept of Communities to cut COVID-19 discretionary support grant budget by £2m in 2020/21 due to lack of uptake

Amendment of regulations on Statutory Sick Pay related to self isolation during COVID-19 pandemic

Regulations revoking agreements between N Ireland and EEA citizens from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein

Second PIP review highlights need for advocacy and assistance with applications


Changes to Rate Relief scheme in light of pandemic

New statutory instruments re-evaluating protected payments and pension sharing debits and credits within the new state pension


Welsh Government’s self isolation support scheme extended to parents and carers, backdating to 23 October 2020