In the news

JUNE/JULY 2018

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.

Consultation on UC transitional protection

The Social Security Advisory Committee has launched a consultation following Esther McVey's announcement on new draft regulations to protect people who are moving from legacy benefits onto Universal Credit.

Legacy benefit claimants either move to UC by 'natural' migration (e.g. where the claimant moves to a full service UC area) or will be moved by 'managed' migration from July 2019.

The SSAC consultation is asking for users and advisors to comment on their experiences before 20 August 2018.

Severe Disability Premium and UC

For people currently claiming disability benefits, there are two distinct paths of transitional protection:

  1. Anyone who currently receives legacy benefits and who qualifies for a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) will soon be able to make new claims to legacy benefits until they are moved to UC under the managed migration.

  2. Anyone who has already moved to UC and lost the SDP will receive a new form of transitional protection to “broadly reflect” the loss of the SDP. The monthly protection payments are likely to be around £280 and £80 per month for those who are in the Support Group for ESA (or equivalent in UC). At present there is no effective date for these protection payments.

 

Managed migration to UC

Since the announcement that the managed migration to UC will start in July 2019, the rollout has been re-extended to March 2023 to allow for further changes following the government's 'test and learn' approach.

 

The managed migration will include transitional protection for Tax Credits claimants with capital above £16,000. It would appear that people who move to UC from Tax Credits under the managed migration will have capital above £16,000 ignored for a period of 12 months only. After that it will count and could lead UC to stop entirely.

Changes in circumstance

There had been some concerns that changes in circumstance would lead to a loss of transitional protection for claimants. The government has indicated that protection can stop if maximum UC increases for reasons other than an increase in childcare costs; if a UC award has ended; if a claimant's partner status changes or if a  UC claimant was earning ‘enough’ to have no work search requirement, but their income has dropped for three successive months. However, all of these are in draft regulations which could yet be altered.

So there are several, quite complex changes ahead. You can book onto either our one day Universal Credit Overview or Universal Credit in Practice training course to look at and discuss them in more depth.

OTHER CASE LAW

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

State Pension

Does UK discriminate against people who have changed gender after marriage?

C-451/16

Published 26th June 2018

JSA

Is it unreasonable to change JSA agreement if still available for work ?

CJSA/742/2017

Published 13th June 2018

 

Housing Benefit / Bedroom Tax

Is a bedroom a bedroom if it has never been used as such?

CH/211/2015  

Published 6th June 2018

 

Pension Credit / EEA

How relevant are linguistic and emotional support to dependence on a relative?

CPC/2200/2017

Published 5th June 2018

Does an EU spouse always have a right to reside after divorce?

CSPC/337/2016

Published 22nd May 2018

Pension Credit

Is there an automatic right to an oral hearing at Tribunal? Or a case against the abolition of the Category B Pension?

CP/1710/2017

Published 4th May 2018

 

Child Benefit / EEA

Is there entitlement to child benefit for step child in another EU state?

CF/2872/2017

Published 22nd May 2018

Child Benefit

Can St Prix be used for a self employed woman on maternity leave?

CF/393/2016

Published 8th May 2018

Tax Credits

How Tribunal decisions take effect under the Tax Credits Act 2002

CTC/865/2016

Published 12th April 2018

End of PIP reviews for severe health conditions

The government has announced an end to PIP reviews for people with some severe and progressive health conditions.

 

For some claimants, reviews (which can occur even within an award period) will be replaced by a 'light touch' review every ten years.  A government press release states the the DWP will be working with stakeholders to design the new 10 year review process in order to 'add value for both claimants and the department'.

HEALTH CASE LAW

Quick links to recent health benefits-related case law 

UC/PIP/ESA etc

Benefit rates for severely disabled people moving onto UC must be protected

(2018) EWHC 1474

Decision date: 14th June 2018

PIP

Standard of proof should not depend on significance of the issue at Tribunal

CPIP/428/2018

Published 4th June 2018

Is a need for prompting about nutrition and budgeting relevant for PIP?

CPIP/3257/2017

Published 23rd May 2018

Should a telephone hearing be offered for PIP Tribunals?

CPIP/1251/2017

Publsihed 13th April 2018

Washing and reaching your upper back are not the same thing

CPIP/2039/2017

Published 2nd May

The affect of pain in managing a condition

CPIP/383/2018

Published 2nd May 2018

Tribunals should consider reasons for postponements when claimant cannot attend

CPIP/3453/2017

Published 13th April 2018

 

ESA  / EEA

Do family members have right to reside after death of EU citizen?

CE/2435/2016

Published 4th June 2018

ESA

Considering risks posed to physical health by journey to & from work

CE/2821/2017

Published 4th June 2018

Back condition affecting use of one arm must be taken into account

CE/1707/2017

Pubslished 4th May 2018

Are risks posed by social interaction ‘everyday hazards’?

CSE/472/2017

Publshed 2nd May 2018

Active listening required to assess evidence from a person with learning difficulties

CE/3347/2017

Published 13th April 2018

BENEFITS NEWSBITE

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

More than 66% of benefits decisions changed on appeal

Ministry of Justice statistics show that 66% of social security appeals have gone in favour of claimants (this goes up to 71% for PIP cases) between Jan-Mar 2018.

Legal aid slashed by 99%

In recent response by Justice minister Dr Phillip Lee to a written question to the House of Commons admitted that legal aid had been cut by 99% between 2010 and 2017,

Beleaguered appeals system looks ahead to reforms

The appeals system is in need of more tribunal panel members, according to Social Entitlement Chamber President, Judge John Aitken.

Writing in the Senior President of Tribunals Annual Report 2018, Judge Aitken describes how the rapid rise in numbers of benefits appeals - and the preponderance of appeals needing three panel members to make decisions - has outstripped the ability of the Tribunal Service to keep pace with demand.

 

To address the situation, a number of large scale recruitment drives have been undertaken, with ten new salaried judges already in place. In addition, the whole service is undergoing widespread reforms, including a new online appeals submissions process. Already running in the Midlands and SE England, the online appeals system goes national from Summer 2018. You can keep up to date with all the forthcoming appeal tribunal reforms here.

DWP GUIDANCE

Links to selected recent government guidance and bulletins  (latest first):

PIP

Effective dates for new PIP mobility activity 1 review decisions

ADM16/18

Definiton of 'safely' and measuring risk for completing PIP activities

ADM15/18

IIDB

New IIAC guidance on diagnosis and assessment of occupational disease & injury

Universal Credit / Housing Benefit

Guidance to LAs on transition to UC housing payments

HB/G8/2016

ESA / Reduced Earnings Allowance

Satisfying conditions for a ‘permanent condition’ whilst staying in work

DMG7/18

PIP mobility activity 1 & 'safely' reviews begin

The government has announced the start of its review of PIP cases and issued guidance following Upper Tribunal judgments on the effects of psychological distress and  the meaning of carrying out an activity 'safely'.

All PIP awards made or assessed from either 28 November 2016 or 9 March 2017 (the dates of the original MH and RJ judgments) will be reviewed in an independent LEAP exercise. However, any subsequent appeals may have to refer to different versions of the law, depending on the date of the original decision:  pre MH, post MH and post MH/RJ.  Guidance suggests that MH/RJ are referred to in any subsequent appeal to ensure the decisions are reviewed in light of this. If a claimant appealed their decision before one or both of the judgments, the DWP will let the appeals go ahead so that the tribunal decides how far back any additional award should go.

The effects of this guidance will be referenced and further explored in our PIP, Challenging PIP Decisions and Preparing for a PIP/ESA Appeal Tribunal training courses.

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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