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.

The UC paydate glitch

A significant design flaw in Universal Credit means that, depending on their pay date,  working people  are having their benefits unnecessarily capped.

A recent report by CPAG clearly demonstrates that some UC claimants have significant fluctuations in their awards even when their circumstances don’t change.

This can lead to unintended consequences including people becoming subject to the total benefits cap, a loss of work allowances, and a loss of passported benefits such as free prescriptions. The overall effect makes people worse off and can make an already difficult job of making ends meet much harder.


CPAG Chief Executive Alison Garnham comments,

We believe most of the problems created by the monthly assessment system can be fixed relatively easily if the political will is there. The mass migration of families on to universal credit should not begin until these fundamental problems are resolved.”

You can learn more about this and other ongoing UC issues at one of our next Universal Credit in Practice courses in Manchester 10/10/18 or London 15/11/18.


Case Study CLARA

Clara is a single parent with an assessment period that starts on the 26th of each month and ends on the 25th of each month. Clara’s employer usually pays on the 27th of each month but 27th August was a bank holiday and so Clara’s employer paid her on 24th August instead.


This means in the assessment period from 26th July to 25th August, Clara was effectively paid twice. So following this assessment period she receives a much reduced UC payment. And following the assessment period 26th August to 25th September Clara may be capped because she is effectively deemed to be unemployed.


Quick links to recent benefits-related statistics for those who don't do Facebook or Twitter.

EEA nationals pay £15.5bn more in tax than they claim in benefits

HMRC figures for 2015/16 show that EEA nationals paid significantly more tax and NICs than they claimed in child benefit or tax credits.

71% of sanctions relate to interviews

The DWP's Benefit Sanction Statistics to April 2018 reveals that most sanctions relate to claimants not attending or participating in the work-focussed interview.


90% of LHAs are lower than cheapest rents

Recent research from the Chartered institute of Housing shows that Local Housing Allowances are woefully insufficient.


Quick links to selected recent health benefits-related case law 


Backdating payments for income related ESA after Incapacity Benefit

Published 4th September 2018





Tribunals should use ESA evidence for PIP claims

Published 26th July 2018



Reasonable not to adjourn ESA appeal to seek PIP evidence

Published 4th July



Are adjustments needed to workplace to allow for allergies?

Published 4th July 3018




Possible retrospective effect on quashed amendments to mobility activity 1

Published 4th September 2018



Assessing risk of harm to claimant with hearing loss while bathing.

Published 24th August 2018



Listening exercises as therapy and the lip reading concession

Published 4th September 2018



Evidence of PIP consultation appointment letter needed

Published 26th July 2018



What is a reasonable time limit for return of PIP1 form?

Published 26th July 2018



Using a stool for cooking is not necessarily an aid

Published 4th July 2018



Cap on Access to support via Access to Work scheme is unlawful

4th September 2018

[2018] EWHC 2196 (Admin)

Housing benefit continues for most vulnerable

The housing needs of the most vulnerable people will continue to be paid for by Housing Benefit rather than via the Universal Credit (UC) Housing Element.

"Exempt accommodation" will continue to be paid via Housing Benefit, with a payments made directly to the landlord, according to a government press release.


Following policy papers and consultation on this matter in 2017, the government says it has 'listened to stakeholders' and agreed to ‘keep supported housing within the welfare system’.


This has long been a concern for the supported housing sector and those who represent vulnerable groups, especially now that UC (which usually includes a Housing Element paid direct to the claimant to cover rent) is being rolled out across the country.

DWP will re-imburse pre 2014 ESA claims

The DWP has acknowledged that it will reimburse underpayments made before 2014 to any claimant who was migrated from Incapacity Benefit (IB) to Employment & Support Allowance (ESA).


The government had already started to reimburse claimants who were underpaid following migration after 21 October 2014 and has now agreed to backpayments from the date of the transfer from IB to ESA.


There is still a lack of clarity about who was responsible for informing the government about the need for arrears to be paid. However the DWP does at least accept that it made a mistake and will repay the £390m owing to those who have been moved from IB to ESA.


Links to recent government guidance and bulletins :


Payment of arrears following conversion from Incapacity Benefit to income related ESA.

DMG Memo 11/18



Universal Credit Local Authority Bulletin

Universal Support only accessed by 33% of those expected in 2017/18 + other stories in




Sept – Dec 2018 full service rollout postcodes

ADM MEMO 18/18

Work & Pensions Committee fights for bereaved unmarried parents


Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law  (see also Health Case Law above left).


Effect of not actively seeking work on retained worker status

Published 4th September



Is failure to receive a notification letter a reason to sanction?

Published 26th July 2018




Decision makers must provide all relevant documents to Tribunal

Published 26th July 2018



Tribunal must join both parties to appeal on competing claims

Published 26th July




Impact of Euro-Mediterranean agreement with Morocco on rights of Zambrano carers

Published 4th September



Assessing when a couple are living together as husband and wife

Published 26th July 2018




Reliably assessing value of jointly owned property

Published 26th July 2018



Houseboat licence no use for housing benefit

Published 26th July 2018



Lack of bank account is no reason for LA to end housing benefit

Published 26th July 2018




Affect of personal pension on pension credit

Published 26th July 2018


The Work & Pensions Committee has promised to ‘take up the cudgel’ on behalf of unmarried parents who are ineligible for bereavement benefits.


Their plight has been highlighted by an appeal case brought in 2016 by Siobahn McLaughlin (above with two of her four children) in Northern Ireland, which was recently taken to the Supreme Court and pronounced 'incompatible with ECHR'.


In a letter to the Families Minister Justin Tomlinson, Committee Chair Frank Field again questioned the decision to continue to only award bereavement benefits to married / civil partner parents.


Mr Field went on to comment: 

The victims of this archaic policy are children…It is quite incredible that the government resists righting this profound injustice.

Migrating tax credits to Univeral Credit

The  Social Security Advisory Committee has published further information about the migration of tax credits to Universal Credit.

Following consultation and a meeting between the SSAC, DWP and HMRC in June 2018, the committee has published the government's responses on identifying claimants with complex needs, deprivation of capital and transitional protection for those who are appealing a disability benefits decision.

FOR 12 MONTHS' FREE EXPERT BENEFITS SUPPORT,  book onto one of our open courses (or book an in-house course for your organisation). Any Benefits Training Co. course attendees wanting further advice with specific cases should contact the email address on their e-certificate.

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