News

The government has announced the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and as a result the new Job Support Scheme has been postponed until the extended furlough scheme ends.

The government has announced that COVID-19 mortgage payment holidays will continue to be available beyond 31 October 2020.

The government has issued new good practice guidance to support local authorities to meet the accommodation needs of care leavers.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has confirmed that there will be no compensation for tax credit claimants who were advised to claim Universal Credit (UC) during the coronavirus pandemic and who lost out as a result.

As the new legal duty to self-isolate comes into force, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said that local authorities in England will have discretion to award £500 lump sum self-isolation payments to those who do not receive qualifying benefits.

In July 2020, the Chancellor announced a Job Retention Bonus that will pay employers a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each of their furloughed workers who is still employed at 31 January 2021.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found numerous failings in the assessment process used by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham for its Blue Badge parking scheme.

The DWP has issued new guidance to decision-makers in relation to whether the daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP) or the care component of disability living allowance (DLA), attendance allowance or carers allowance can be paid to a claimant habitually resident in another EEA Member State or Switzerland.

People with coronavirus and their contacts are to be paid to self-isolate from 1 September 2020 for those in receipt of universal credit or working tax credit.

Last month conditionality and benefit sanctions were reintroduced following their temporary suspension as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2016, a First-tier Tribunal awarded the claimant personal independence payment (PIP) consisting of the standard rate daily living component from January 2016 to January 2019.

The DWP has announced that it is to roll out a new system under which social landlords will receive managed payments of housing costs at the same time tenants receive their benefit payments.

The DWP has confirmed that people who are currently shielding as a result of the coronavirus outbreak will not be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) on that basis from 1 August 2020.

A new Bill has been introduced designed to give unpaid carers more rights to flexible working by extending the current requirement to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities to include carers to help them balance employment with their caring responsibilities.

The government has outlined its plan to bring the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support schemes to an end.

In a new judgment, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the COVID-19 related freeze on evictions also imposes a freeze on eviction appeal proceedings.

The Minister for Pensions has confirmed that the Department of Works & Pensions (DWP) is arranging for all claimants who are shielding due to COVID-19 and hold Post Office card accounts (POcas) to receive contact from a visiting officer or their local authority.

Following on from the article last month, changes have also been made to existing benefit provisions.

In these unprecedented and constantly evolving times, we thought it would be helpful to pull together information about many of the temporary measures now in force (or likely to be introduced) either as a result of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (effective from the 31 March 2020) or the response to other significant issues.

HMRC will use the average profits from tax returns in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June.

Rough Sleepers - The government has written to local authorities in England asking them to house all people sleeping rough, and those in hostels and night shelters.

Debt Management - The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed a three-month payment freeze on loans and credit cards, and zero interest on up to £500 of arranged overdrafts, for those impacted by coronavirus.

The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has issued new guidance to local authority housing benefit staff in relation to further changes being made to the Severe Disability premium (SDP) process from 2 March 2020.

As everyone will be aware, the UK left the European Union on the 31 January 2020. However, general EU law including the Residence Directive (and the UK rules implementing the Directive) will continue to apply for a transition period due to last until 31 December 2020.

The Work and Pensions Secretary has confirmed that the full roll-out of universal credit has been delayed until September 2024.

More than two thirds of council homelessness services are having to spend more than they budgeted on homelessness support, according to new analysis from the Local Government Association (LGA).

The National Living Wage is to increase by 6.2 per cent in April 2020, the government has announced.

The government has said that it plans to introduce a minimum award length for personal independence payment (PIP).

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has criticised a care home for increasing its fees by 25 per cent and threatening to evict a resident if the fees were not paid

The Supreme Court recently considered two questions regarding EU provisions regarding the right to reside in the UK.

At present, it is by no means clear whether the UK will leave the EU, whether this will be dependent on a second referendum or if the UK is to leave, when that will be. On the basis that the UK will leave the EU, new legislation has been issued that amends social security and tax credit regulations to protect the rights of certain third country nationals. These regulations reflect the UKs transition from association agreements to trade and partnership agreements (TPAs) after it exits from the European Union (EU).

The government must act urgently to tackle the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in covering up cases of discrimination and harassment at work, a Select Committee has stated.

The European Court has ruled that the bedroom tax unlawfully discriminates against woman living in a Sanctuary Scheme home.


The government is to write next week to more than 350,000 state pension recipients living in the EU to reassure them that they will continue to be paid in the event of Brexit.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that an EU national who ceases self-employed activity in the late stage of pregnancy retains self-employed status as long as she starts to work again within a reasonable period after the birth of her child.

The government has committed to uprating the UK state pension for claimants living in the European Union (EU) for three years in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has confirmed that the government will not raise the state pension age to 75.

The DWP has backtracked on earlier proposals to provide Severe Disability Premium (SDP) transitional payments to Universal Credit (UC) claimants formerly entitled to the premium only through housing benefit.

As many of you will have seen on the news, many claimants have been targeted by fraudsters claiming to be able to access grants for people that actually turned out to be advance loans for Universal Credit (UC). So far 1,400 people who have been moved onto UC by virtue of suspected fraud have been interviewed under caution, according to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

In a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that social support may be given before or during an activity that requires engaging with people face to face, but that careful scrutiny is required to establish whether a person is trained or experienced in giving that support.

From August 2019, new criteria will be introduced to cover people with hidden disabilities.

Somerset County Council reassessed the care needs of a disabled woman seeking support to remain living independently in sheltered housing after she complained to the Ombudsman but then failed to decide eligibility for financial support as part of the reassessment.  

The Government has confirmed it is seeking to enter reciprocal agreements with EU Member States to protect existing social security rights for a transitional period until 31 December 2020 in a no deal scenario.

For some disability benefits, claimants must show that they have been present in the UK for a specified period of time prior to the claim in order to qualify. This provision is known as the past presence test.

The Supreme Court has upheld the appeal from Mr & Mrs McArthur (who ran Ashers Baking Company) against a finding of direct discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and religious or political belief when they refused an order for a cake bearing the statement Support Gay Marriage, placed by Mr Lee (a volunteer at an organisation called QueerSpace).

The Department for Works & Pensions (DWP) is aiming to recover £150 million in overpaid carers allowance from almost 80,000 carers, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The High Court recently ruled on a number of cases challenging the way that income is assessed for Universal Credit (UC) – in particular the period over which earnings are calculated.

While the complex and often chaotic rollout of Universal Credit (UC) continues, special provisions now apply to people with severe disabilities.

New regulations have been issued to protect citizen rights in relation to European Union (EU) social security coordination in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The UK and Switzerland have signed an agreement on citizen rights following UK exit from the EU.

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into discrimination against benefit claimants in the housing sector.

Following the review initiated by Amber Rudd, the DWP has issued new guidance on amendments to the two-child limit in Universal Credit.

According to research from the University of York, mental health claimants are 2.4 times as likely to lose their benefit on transfer from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) compared to claimants with a non-psychiatric condition.

A Turkish Kurd claimed asylum and was placed in the London Borough of Hillingdon. In 2013 he was awarded refugee status and applied for housing support from Hillingdon when his accommodation was withdrawn by the Home Office.

The government has published a number of proposals and White papers on its proposed immigration system once Britain has left the EU.

In a new judgment, the High Court has considered a challenge to alleged ongoing failures of Newham Council to provide adequate accommodation to a disabled child of parents who did not have valid leave to remain in the UK and to carry out a lawful assessment under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 Act and section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

Two separate claimants brought a challenge to the Universal Credit regulations on the basis that they were discriminatory and in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

In two recent cases, the Upper Tribunal considered whether a person retained their right to reside as family members when that relationship came to an end.

In general, no additional child element is included in Child Tax Credit for a third or subsequent child born after 6 April 2017 (although there are specific exceptions – see article February 2017).

New research finds that 22 local authorities do not operate any localised welfare scheme, while a further 29 schemes are under threat due to local authority budget reductions (these schemes replaced Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans previously available from the Social Fund and operated by the Department of Works and Pensions).

The Supreme Court has ruled that the refusal of widowed parents allowance to a woman who was not married to the deceased father of their children is incompatible with article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Figures released by HMRC showed that in 2015/2016 EEA nationals working in the UK paid £15.5 billion more in tax and NI contributions than they received in social security payments AND families with at least one EEA national made up less than ten per cent of families claiming tax credits.

Where universal credit claimants have dependent children, the monthly payment should be made to the main carer, the Work and Pensions Select Committee has said.

There have been two important cases examining Article 3 rights and the right to treatment – specifically the need for a transplant.

The government has announced an end to unnecessary reviews of personal independence payment (PIP) for those with the most severe or progressive health conditions.

The Department of Works & Pensions (DWP) has issued new guidance in relation to supporting undocumented Windrush generation and other Commonwealth citizens to claim income-related benefits.

The DWP has issued new guidance to local authorities in relation to the transition to universal credit housing payments.

The government has established a fast-track process for confirming the status of Windrush benefit claimants and confirming that Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) officials are working with the Home Office and other Government bodies to help individuals to confirm quickly their residency in the UK and ensure that they receive the support to which they are entitled.

The claimant was Bulgarian and had indefinite leave to remain, granted prior to the date that Bulgaria joined the EU. She was awarded attendance allowance in 2011, but payment stopped when entitlement to attendance allowance required the UK to be the competent state for payment of sickness benefits.

Local authorities have outlined a series of concerns about preparing for the managed migration of claimants from housing benefit to universal credit expected to start in 2019. The process will see housing benefit claimants who have not already migrated to universal credit moved over to the new benefit in a phased process.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has taken the first steps in judicial review proceedings by writing to thirteen clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) about NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHC) policies being unlawful and breaching the human rights of patients.

A lack of trust undermines the entire operation of personal independence payment (PIP) and employment and support allowance (ESA) assessments, according to the Work and Pensions Committee.

The National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) have issued new guidelines covering the care and support of adults receiving social care in their own homes, residential care and community settings.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government gave an oral statement to Parliament confirming that funding for sheltered and extra-care housing will stay in the welfare system, with the introduction of a sheltered rent that will cap the amount that providers of such housing can charge for gross rent.

The government has launched a ten-year disability employment strategy.

It sets out the steps it will take to get more disabled people into work including:

The claimant, a Swedish national, had come to the UK in 2004 with her Swedish mother and stepfather. She had significant learning difficulties requiring full time care and support and successfully claimed disability living allowance.

In one of the first challenges of its kind, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal brought on behalf of an applicant with severe neurological and physical disabilities against the decision of Oxfordshire County Council to reduce his personal budget from £1,651 per week to £950.

Back in 2015, the government announced that it intended to apply local housing allowance rates to social rents – including supported living accommodation. This was due to be introduced in 2019, having been deferred from the original date of 2018.

There are now several cases awaiting the outcome of a Court of Appeal hearing regarding the rights of an EU national to reside permanently in the UK.

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