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

JULY 2021

CJEU opinion on UC refusal to pre-settled residents

The Advocate General of the The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considers that the systematic refusal of benefits to EU residents with pre-settled status in the UK and with no other source of income constitutes 'indirect discrimination'.

Regarding a case from Northern Ireland, the Advocate General of the CJEU, Richard de la Tour said that the refusal of Universal Credit to a Dutch Croatian citizen with pre-settled status by the Department of Communities in June 2020, constituted 'different treatment (to) British citizens and therefore discrimination on the grounds of nationality'.

Although the UK is no longer part of the EU, EU human rights laws still apply here. The CJEU  interprets EU law to ensure it is commonly applied across the European Union and it is usual for the Advocate General to give an opinion on cases before they are judged, although the court may or may not agree with it. This case will come before the CJEU on 15th July 2021.

 

The opinion, and future judgment, on this case is especially significant as it is likely to have repercussions for other similar cases like Fratila, where EU residents with pre-settled status in the UK were refused benefits during the transition period, due to Brexit.  

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EU benefits payments will not stop overnight

The government has confirmed that EU citizens who did not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30th June 2021 will not have their benefits stopped automatically and extra statutory payments will be made.

Answering Fleur Anderson (Lab) MP's question to parliament, DWP minister Justin Tomlinson also warned, however, that those EU citizens resident in the UK who have not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme need to do so as soon as possible in order to ‘ensure that benefit payments don’t stop’.

You can keep up to date with this and all things EU and benefits on our online Benefits for European Migrants course on 27th/28th September.

RECENT CASE LAW

Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law

ESA

If a representative does not refer to an issue under appeal, Tribunal should still address it

CSE/197/2020

Published 19th July 2021

 

STATE PENSION

Entitlement to state pension following move outside UK or EEA

CP/839/2020

Published: 19th July 2021

 

INDUSTRIAL INJURIES

Should Tribunal opt for paper hearing if there is ambiguity over the request?

CI/502/2020

Published: 19th July 2021

 

HOUSING BENEFIT

State pensioner ‘drowned in paperwork’ not responsible for housing benefit overpayments

CH/2492/2019

Published: 20th July 2021

 

No entitlement to benefits awarded on basis of fraudulent refugee status

CH/1905/2017

Published: 19th July 2021

 

PIP

Tribunal’s obligation to explain perceived inconsistencies to claimant

CPIP/1495/2020

Published: 19th July 2021

 

Is Tribunal obliged to consider DWP’s revised ‘offer’ during appeal of unrevised decision

CPIP/506/2020

Published: 16th July 2021

 

UNIVERSAL CREDIT

Tribunal needs accurate list of available work-related activities

CUC/1386/2020

Published: 19th July 2021

 

Excluding Europeans with pre-settled status from UC is not unlawful

(but authorities must check to ensure human dignity is not infringed)

Case C-709/20

Date of decision: 15th July 2021

 

Two-child limit is not incompatible with ECHR

[2021] UKSC 26

Date of decision: 9th July 2021

 

TAX CREDITS

Refugees can backdate child tax credit claim if asylum sought pre full UC

[2021] EWHC 1845 (Admin)

Date of decision: 5th July 2021

 LATEST GUIDANCE   

Links to recent government regulations, guidance & bulletins

LA Welfare Direct Lite 6/2021

Exercise to identify dual payments of SDP and Carers Allowance ‘likely to result in large overpayments’.

Disabled student challenges Universal Credit ban
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Judicial Review has been permitted for a disabled student to challenge the DWP for preventing him and thousands of others from claiming Universal Credit (UC).

Student Flinn Kays, aged 18 and a first year psychology student at Bath Spa University is challenging the legality of the change of law in 2020  which now excludes him from the entitlement to claim a means-tested benefit.

Since August 2020, only disabled students with an existing Limited Capability for Work determination have been able to claim or continue claiming UC; most disabled students without LCW status are simply refused UC or lose it when they become students. Remember to check whether a student is ‘receiving education’ when advising on UC and if so consider advising on a credits-only ESA claim - you can learn more on our Benefits for Students course.

3o0,000+ affected by LHA shortfall and UC deductions

The government has confirmed that 311,000 Universal Credit claimants in private tenancies whose Local Housing Allowance does not cover the cost of their rent have also had a further deduction made from their UC.

To a parliamentary question on deductions linked to the LHA shortfall from Karen Buck (Lab) MP, DWP Minister Will Quince responded that a further 57,000 claimants have had the LHA shortfall as well as a UC overpayment and 110,000 also have a tax credit overpayment deduction.

Will Quince's advice to claimants in this situation is to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from the local authority.

BITESIZE BENEFITS

Quick links to other benefits-related news

£2m to support Covid-related advice

The government has announced an extra £2m of Covid-19 funding for the advice sector, to be allocated through the Community Justice Fund over the next 12 months.

UC advances included in Breathing Space

The Treasury has confirmed that the government is planning to include UC advances in Breathing Space debt respite scheme ‘as soon as possible’.
 

DWP compensates pensioners

Following the Ombudsman's report of 2019, the DWP has compensated two people who complained in 2016 that they had not been adequately prepared for the government's state pension reforms.

Record high for PIP claims

New claims for PIP are at their highest level since the benefit was introduced in 2013.

COVID Local Support Grant extension

Provision of the Covid Local Support Grant has been extended to the end of September 2021.

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.

SCOTLAND

Legislation to treat Child Disability Payment as a qualifying benefit for premiums etc if child moves to another part of the UK

Adult Disability Payment ‘past presence test’ will be reduced from 104 to 26 weeks according to consultation response

New working age  Council Tax Reduction regulations (from April 2022)

CPAG urges further investment for Scotland to meet chiid poverty targets

Extra payment this December in Carers Allowance Supplement Bill

Council Tax Reduction recipients peaked in early months of Covid

Miscellaneous amendments to legislation on administration of Scottish social security system

‘National mission’ to end child poverty and build a fairer, more equal country

N IRELAND

DoC plans to extend benefits provision for people with terminal illness

Ombudsman finds there has been ‘systemic maladministration’ following PIP investigation

Communities minister plans to extend existing welfare mitigations

 

DoC announce review of Discretionary Support scheme

WALES

£10m grant scheme to help people struggling with rent during pandemic

Commitment to basic income pilot in Wales’ 5 year plan

Inquiry into benefits system in Wales post-Covid (submissions until 10th August)