In the news

MAY 2020

Our bitesize benefits news page includes the latest benefits news, guidance, training updates & case law. Please let us know if there is anything you would like us to include next month.

More COVID-19 benefits changes

COVID-19 has affected further temporary changes in the benefits system this month.

 

NEW UC CLAIMS

The pandemic has created at least 1 million new UC claimants, but they are at least now able to verify their identity online via the Government Gateway

FAMILIES

Parents can claim Child Benefit for their newborn children even before registering their child's birth; there are food vouchers for children in England who would have usually had Free School Meals and an easement of conditions for Carers' Allowance. From 8th April, there has also been a £300 increase in the means-tested Funeral Expenses Payment.

 

ESA

From 20th April, applications for new style ESA can be made online (see also Latest Guidance).

FURLOUGHED EMPLOYEES

The cut off for applications to the furlough scheme has been extended to all employees on RTI sent to HMRC by 19th March (the launch date of the scheme). Further updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can also be seen under Latest Guidance.

BENEFITS AREAS ON HOLD

But the coronavirus has also forced the Government to put various benefits initiatives on hold. Some of those areas that have been temporarily paused are four PIP reviews (see also Latest Guidance), the fifth having been completed; the recovery of benefits overpayments (now on hold until July 2020 at the earliest) as well as repayment of tax credit debt and social fund loans in the loan deduction scheme.

 

DWP home visits have also been put on hold - but there are exceptions for vulnerable people, for safeguarding visits and when ensuring that a benefit has been paid. And last and most probably least, the ill-fated UC managed migration pilot in Harrogate has once again been stopped in its tracks. Plus ça change.

RECENT CASE LAW

Quick links to selected recent  benefits-related case law

DLA

Family claiming from one EU state but resident in another

CDLA/882/2017

Published 12th March 2020

 

ESA
Reconvened tribunal panel must be exactly the same or completely different

CE/1134/2019

Published 12th March 2020

Request for oral hearing wrongly ignored / guidance on time limit for set aside application

CE/1901/2019

Published 11th March 2020

 

CHILD TAX CREDITS

Disputed point-of-contact details not enough for decision on main carer responsibility

CSTC/174/2019

Published 12th March 2020

 

HOUSING BENEFIT

Retained worker status applies without compelling evidence of the chance of work

CH/2389/2016

Decision date: 14th February 2020

Is a 75% share of a property the same as  ‘shared ownership’?

CH/257/2019

Published 4th March 2020

PIP

Misuse of protective essays by tribunals to discourage further appeals

CPIP/2722/2018

Published 3rd March 2020

 

JSA

Is personal injury compensation a ‘trust fund’?

CJSA/2628/2017 and CJSA/1192/2019

Published 11th March 2020

 

Tribunal wrong to allow appeal over information given to claimant re Work Programme

CJSA/1393/2015

Published 11th March 2020

HandsTogether.jpg

Social distancing 'likely to continue' beyond May

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LATEST NEWS
Those of you who were unable to join us for our live topical benefits question time, with Will Hadwen & David Stickland on 29th April, can access a recording here.

 

The 45 minute webinar includes:

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Please feel free to send any feedback and suggestions about our webinar to info@benefitstraining.co.uk.

 Shadow Work & Pensions Team

New Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has announced his Shadow Cabinet, including Jonathan Reynolds (above) as Shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions. You can see Mr Reynolds' voting record here.

Other members of the new Shadow Work & Pensions team include Jack Dromey (Pensions), Vicky Foxcroft (Disability), Kate Green (Child Poverty) and Seema Malhotra (Employment).

Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales

We link briefly to articles and guidance which separately affect benefits in Scotland, Wales and/or Northern Ireland only when they differ significantly to those in England or the rest of the UK.

SCOTLAND

Extra £34m support for self employed from Scottish Government

COVID-19-related extension of benefit application time

Introduction of Scottish Child Payment delayed due to COVID-19

Extension of social security timescales for COVID-19 delays

Funeral expenses payments now up to £1000

Delay to introduction of devolved disability benefits

 

Increase to Council Tax reduced earnings disregard re temporary increase in Working Tax Credit basic element

Restrictions to Scottish Welfare Fund crisis grant waived

Social security statistics to March 2020

Limited tribunal operations in Scotland

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

Further support for those affected by COVID-19

COVID-19 Increase in UC claims and disability benefit review awards

Limited tribunal operations in N Ireland

DID YOU KNOW?

Bitesize links to other  benefits-related news:

DWP & Post Office launch cash delivery scheme

The new National Shielding Service allows shielding individuals (those most at risk from COVID-19) to receive cash deliveries at home.

Launch of video service for UC claims

UC claimants can now access BSL interpreters as part of a free video relay service.

Economic impact of coronavirus

Almost 50% believe they will be worse off after coronavirus, according to new analysis by the Office for National Statistics.

Dramatic increase in use of AV technology by courts

HMCTS reports that 85% of judicial hearings were held remotely on 6th April

 HELP TO CLAIM IS EXTENDED

The Help to Claim service run by Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland has been granted a further year's funding to support new UC claims, according to a letter from the DWP to Stephen Timms.

Citizens Advice website had its 'busiest week ever' at the end of March, with over 22m views. Their Help to Claim service has been extended at the same time as the government has put applications for the £10m UC Transition Fund on hold (see Touchbase in Latest Guidance).

 LATEST GUIDANCE   

Links to recent government guidance and bulletins

DMG Memo 07/20 / ADM Memo 05/20

Access to means-tested benefits and housing benefit (HB Circular A8/2020) for prisoners on temporary release

New style ESA: Detailed Guide

Guidance on online claims for new style ESA

Coronvirus Job Retention Scheme

Updated guidance for employers on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - guidance also available for employees

3/2020 Council Tax information letter

Guidance to LAs on £500m COVID-19 Council Tax Hardship Fund

HB Circular S6/2020

Guidance on funding for LAs to support administration of VEP alerts service

HB Circular S5/2020

Guidance on allocation of New Burdens funding to local authorities 2020/21

LA Welfare Direct 4/2020

Guidance on how payments from support schemes for employees and the self employed will impact housing benefit

A summary of changes to PIP

Four PIP reviews of cases involving managing medication, special diet as therapy, safety and supervision, psychological distress and journeys have been paused during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Touchbase: Coronavirus special

Round up of recent DWP announcements including temporary Carers’ Allowance easements and temporary suspension of most home visits, and the £10m UC Transition Fund application process.

HB Circular A7/2020

Guidance on amendments to housing benefit due to COVID-19

ADM Memo 04/20 and DMG Memo 06/20

Miscellaneous social security changes including lifting of work search, disregarding sickness for short periods for JSA and increasing standard allowances for self employed claimants

Chamber President’s Guidance Note No. 3

Further guidance on social security tribunal arrangements during COVID-19 pandemic.

Don't call them, they'll call you

Following an overwhelming number of new COVID-19 related claims, the DWP has launched a Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You initiative, to dissuade new claimants from phoning them.

Secretary of  State, Thérèse Coffey said:

Once you have completed your online application, you can rest assured we have recieved your claim and we will call you if we need to check any of the information you’ve given us.

Since 16th March 2020, over one million new UC claims have been made, and 10,000 staff  redeployed to support them.  A recruitment drive has been launched for an additional 5,000 staff.

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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