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

JUNE 2021

BITESIZE BENEFITS

Quick links to other benefits-related news

Challenge on access to Healthy Start Scheme

The DHSC will be be extending access to the Healthy Start scheme to children from migrant families following a High Court challenge.

Change of guidance on hardship payments

The DWP has accepted it has the discretion to waive recovery of hardship payments after conceding judicial review.

 

Devolved Children's Commissioners say no

The Children’s Commissioners of Scotland, Wales and N Irelands have joined together to call for the end of two-child benefit limit.

The need for advocacy

Advocacy for claimants will be a key theme of the government's forthcoming health & disability Green Paper.

Preventing future deaths

The DWP and Capita have responded to the Coroner’s Report to Prevent Future Deaths which was published after the death of benefits claimant Philippa Day.

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Inside Supreme Court Room One.

 LATEST GUIDANCE   

Links to recent government regulations, guidance & bulletins

Memo ADM 10-21

Guidance on the requirement for care leavers and those in homeless hostel accommodation to self-identify if they benefit from LHA shared accommodation rate changes. There is also further guidance for Housing Benefit staff.

SI 2021/630

Regulation amending child benefit terminal dates to protect entitlement where education ends early due to COVID 19.

Memo ADM 9-21

Guidance for points eligbility of PIP claimants who may be unable to hear a fire alarm while bathing.

Memo ADM 8-21 / DMG 7-21

Guidance on disability and carers benefits for EEA nationals following the repeal of the right to free movement.

Memo ADM 7-21 / DMG 6-21

Guidance on disabilty benefits for EEA nationals who are protected from some changes to the right to free movement under ‘Grace Period Regulations’.

Memo ADM 6-21/DMG 5-21

Guidance on disability & carers benefits for EEA frontier workers who worked in the UK before 31st December 2020.

Benefits and Pension Rates 2021/22

Includes updated rates on recovery of court fines at a maximum of 5% following recent case law.

Face-to-face 'works best' says Tribunal head

Remote tribunals: What has worked for you?

BTC trainer and frequent Tribunal representative Marçin Brajita has had more experience than most of both face-to-face and online tribunals.

In the short Zoom conversation above, Marçin shares his recent experience of online tribunals, which we hope will help anyone who is preparing to represent a claimant at appeal online.

You may also wish to look at these rather lengthy official guides to joining a cloud platform and what to expect at a remote hearing.

 

Please let us know if you have any other tips to share!

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

Sturgeon confirms additional £100 payment for low-income families pending full Scottish Child Payment rollout

Regulations for Best Start Foods scheme including updates to qualifying benefit income thresholds

Statistics on Scottish DHP spending 2020-21

Ben Nicholson appointed as new Minister for Social Security & Local Government

UK Ministers warn Scottish Affairs Committee over information gathering proposal for disability benefits and default UC split payments plan

N IRELAND

DoC publishes response to second review of PIP assessment process

Plan for grant to supplement UC child care costs

Regulations on extension of age ranges for careleavers and homeless hostel exemptions from LHA shared accommodation rates

WALES

Jane Hutt appointed as new Minister for Social Justice

More information for LAs

The DWP is expanding the range of information it shares with local authorities in order to support vulnerable families. Shared data will now include information on limited capability for work, free school meals and free prescription thresholds.

A senior Tribunal judge has admitted that tribunals 'must recognize, and now certainly know, that much of their best work is done face- to-face'.

Sir Keith Lindblom, Senior President of Tribunals made the comments in his introduction to a new report by the Legal Education Foundation which examines the impact of COVID-19 on tribunals, focussing in particular on the experiences of judges.

The report found that recurring issues with online tribunals were caused by the limitations of technology; insufficient administrative support and difficulties supporting users with additional needs.

 

Perhaps coincidentially, the report came out almost immediately after the HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) had run an online survey following its first evaluation on the use of remote hearings published in November 2020.  In addition, the Public Law Project has recently published its own report of the need for more digital support for HMCTS reformed services. Perhaps it is therefore no surprise that there has only been ONE tribunal case to report on in the past month (see CASE LAW below).

If you would like to develop more effective skills to support people who are challenging DWP decisions, both online and face to face, please consider booking onto our Preparing for an Appeal Tribunal training course.

Settled & pre-settled status application deadline

The deadline for EEA nationals applications for pre-settled and settled status in the UK is 30th June 2021.

 

Letters were sent out throughout May by the DWP to EEA nationals who were resident in the UK on 31st December 2020 and who the DWP believes still need to apply for settled or pre-settled status.

 

Those who have not received such a letter and who have grounds to apply should be encouraged to do so before 30th June 2021 in order to retain entitlement to benefits and other rights in the UK.

COVID-19 claims checked

The DWP is retrospectively verifying Universal Credit and new-style ESA and JSA claims made during the first outbreak of COVID-19 in UK, according to a letter sent to Meg Hillier MP by Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield.

Claimants must ensure contact information in their online journal is up to date. Those who do not respond to DWP checks may find their claims terminated without payment.   If benefits are unfairly stopped, the decision can be challenged in the usual way, providing evidence at that stage. Those with access to our advice service can contact us for support.

RECENT CASE LAW

Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law

ESA

Appellant should be made aware of evidence shared between DWP and Tribunal / nature of WRA where claimant has mental health issues.

CE/685/2020

Published 17th May 2021