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

AUGUST 2021

£10,000+ for couple who missed out on 'transitional protection'

The DWP has conceded judicial review  and agreed to compensate a couple who lost out on over £10,000 of Severe Disability Premium (SDP) entitlement when they transferred to Universal Credit.

Mary Deadman and John Ryan were mistakenly advised to transfer to UC in 2019, which made them substantially worse off, in spite of the couple's entitlement to the SDP due to illness. The DWP had denied them transitional protection as they were not receiving the SDP at the point of the new UC claim, even though it was later reinstated to cover that date.

The case could be relevant for anyone who was entitled to the SDP and lost money through transferring to Universal Credit between January 2019 and January 2021, even if the SDP entitlement was decided after the claim.

The rules around UC and transitional protection are covered in our Universal Credit in Depth course, which runs next on 15th September 2021.

RECENT CASE LAW

Quick links to selected recent benefits-related case law

HOUSING BENEFIT

State pensioner ‘drowned in paperwork’ was 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

 

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


​PIP

Tribunal found to have breached procedural rules on impartiality

CPIP/548/2020

Published 28th July 2021

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

SupremeCourt.jpg

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, (UKSC) London

 LATEST GUIDANCE   

Links to recent government regulations, guidance & bulletins

LA Welfare Direct Lite 7/21

Guidance on administration of Breathing Space scheme and on treatment of Scottish Disability Payment for the purposes of housing benefit (benefit cap will not apply)

 

SI 2021/811

Amendment of regulations on Winter Fuel Payment and post Brexit reciprocal social security arrangements

Memo DMG8-21

Guidance on reversion of DLA past presence test to 26 out of 52 weeks for children aged 3-16

 

SI 2021/810

Regulations on disregard of Covid local support grant schemes for tax credits purposes

COVID Local Support Grant extension

Guidance to local councils on extension of support grant from 21 June – 30 September 2021

Memo ADM11-21

Guidance on conversion of transitional SDP amount to UC transitional element

Extra statutory benefits after EUSS grace period

DWP letter to LA managers with guidance on procedures for benefits and applications to EU Settled Status.

More calls to retain the uplift

The government has  been warned about the likely adverse effects of 'the biggest overnight cut (...) in social security since World War II', having recently sent messages to claimants' journals informing them that their benefits will go down in October.

Serious concerns this month follow a refused Freedom of Information request from the Poverty Alliance about any analysis the government has done on the potential impact of removing the uplift. Other warnings come from the Work and Pensions Committee, eight separate questions in Parliament  from Jonathan Reynolds, the Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary on the subject; a letter from the Minister for Communities (see NORTHERN IRELAND) and a cross-party group of the convenors of four parliamentary committees.

 

It may also be worth remembering that, although welcome,  the Covid uplift neither replaced nor mitigated the lingering effects of George Osborne's  austerity-driven benefits freeze of 2015.

Concerns over restoration of Minimum Income Floor

Concerns have been raised over the planned re-introduction of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for self-employed UC claimants 'following the Covid pandemic'  in October.

Although the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) is generally supportive of the government's regulations to restore the MIF, as previously explained by Mims Davies in a written statement to Parliament, it has highlighted potential concerns including:

  • A need for targetted communication about the MIF re-introduction plans to those who are affected

  • Need for specific criteria for work coaches to refer to when 'using their discretion' over the continued impact of COVID on the claimant's employment status

  • Robust arrangements for the collection of data using information from mandatory reconsiderations and appeals

BITESIZE BENEFITS

Quick links to other benefits-related news

DWP faces challenge over long hospital stays

The government is facing a challenge to its rules around PIP entitlement for people who are in hospital for 28 days or longer.

Voluntary UC managed migration this autumn

DWP will ‘start in earnest’ to encourage people to ‘voluntarily’ move from legacy benefits onto Universal Credit via managed migration this autumn.

Shock CJEU judgment on presettled status

Up to 2m residents with pre-settled status may be at risk of discrimination.

 

Huge backlog for disability claims

60,000 PIP claims from 2020 are currently waiting to be processed by the DWP.

Rule changes for bereaved cohabiting parents

The DWP has once again confirmed that bereavement benefits will be extended to unmarried partners with children and will apply retrospectively from 30th August 2018.

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

Treatment of Scottish Disability Payment for the purposes of Housing Benefit (see also LATEST GUIDANCE)

LAs underspend welfare budget by £10m, but overspend crisis budgets by 50%

 

Regulations on disregarding disability assistance and other devolved benefits as capital or income

 

Guidance on special rules (For clinicians and for patients for terminal illness ahead of devolved disability claims

Regulations ensuring no overlapping of Child Disability Payment with DLA, PIP or AFIP

MSPs consider second Covid Carers’ Allowance supplement in December 2021

 

 

NORTHERN IRELAND

DoC confirms Steps 2 Success programme closed as at 31 March 2021

Minister for Communities urges retention of UC uplift

Regulations on reintroduction of Minimum Income Floor to 31 July 2022

Regulations on payment of court fines for UC claimants and rules on maximum court fine deductions

 

WALES

Call for submissions by claimants for inquiry into the benefits system in Wales (ends 22 Sept)

Extension of £500 self isolation payment to 31 March 2020

DWP concedes judicial review on PIP appeal cold-calls

The government has conceded judicial review over 'low benefits offers' made over the phone by the DWP following challenged PIP decisions by claimants before their appeal takes place.

In the case at appeal, claimant 'K' was told that she either had to accept the offer quickly or potentially lose the whole appeal at Tribunal. K said that she had felt 'extremely pressured into making a quick decision'.

According to the Public Law Project, as a result of this successful challenge, the government has agreed to rewrite policies and guidance and to retrain staff. However,  the DWP has since issued an answer to a written question in Parliament to say that it has no plans to review other 'pre-appeal PIP offers' and the practice of offer bargaining is likely to continue, if in a more considered form.

More on this and the benefits appeal process on our Preparing for an an Appeal Tribunal course, taking place next on 18th August 2021.