Table of Contents
- Welfare Reform Act 2012
- Universal Credit and PIP Regulations
- Bedroom Tax Announcement Disabled Children March 2013
- Judicial Review Bedroom Tax May 2013
- Changes to Lone Parent Benefits from 2012
- When will the new proposals become law
- Lone Parents and Universal Credit
- Universal Credit For Self-Employed
- Representing Yourself in Court
- Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment
- Budget 2012 Working Tax Credits Retained For 16 Hours if Carer
- Jobseeker's Allowance Lone Parents
- Home Educating Lone Parents and Jobseeker's Allowance
- JobCentre and Childcare
- Child Tax Credit for post-16 Home Education
- Links for Jobseeker's and Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credit and New Enterprise Allowance
- Employment Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit Changes
- Mandatory Work Activity Scheme
Universal Credit and PIP Regulationshttp://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/contents/made
Universal Credit Regulations 2013 Statutory Instrument No.376 Made 25th February 2013 Coming into force 29th April 2013
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/377/made The Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/386/contents/made The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2013, coming into force 29th April 2013
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/358/contents/made The Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No.8 and Savings and Transitional Provisions) Order 2013
http://dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2013/mar-2013/dwp042-13.shtml and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21972026 Early roll-out scaled back, March 2013
DWP Drops Appeal Against Gorry Judgement (Disabled Child Sharing Bedroom)Disabled Children Not Able To Share Room: Bedroom Tax update March 12th 2013 http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/u2-2013.pdf via http://www.dwp.gov.uk/local-authority-staff/housing-benefit/hb-whats-new/ See also http://www.dwp.gov.uk/local-authority-staff/housing-benefit/hb-whats-new/ http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dhpguide.pdf DWP Discretionary Housing Payments Guidance Manual Including Local Authority Good Practice Guide April 2013
Judicial Review Bedroom Tax Granted For May 2013http://wearespartacus.org.uk/government-fails-to-prevent-bedroom-tax-challenge/ and http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2013/March-2013/Government-lose-Bedroom-Tax-challenge-decision Judicial Review bedroom tax on behalf of 5 disabled adults and 5 disabled children to be heard on May 15th http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2013/May-2013/Bedroom-Tax-Challenge-at-the-High-Court
Changes to Lone Parent Benefits from 2012
Lone parents' entitlement to Income Support ceases once their youngest child reaches age 5. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/874/regulation/1/made
Lone parents are eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance if they are seeking work of at least/no less than 16 hours a week See the Explanatory Note to Regulation 13A, The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Lone Parents) (Availability for Work) Regulations 2010 No. 837 which permits lone parents with a child under age 13 to restrict their working hours to the child's normal school hours. The JSA regime has been modified to take account of the caring responsibilities of all parents who have children living in their household.
"While people will need to demonstrate that they have made genuine efforts to locate such childcare, this will provide lone parents who educate their children at home with protection if no local services that meet their needs are available."
Read the letter from Minister Chris Grayling about home educators on JSA here.
NB The increased hours requirement for Working Tax Credit eligibility in place from April 2012 do NOTapply to single parents (or to *carer households*) Single parents are still able to claim WTC if they work a minimum of 16 hours in expectation of payment. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/848/regulation/2/made and http://www.onespace.org.uk/benefits/change-working-tax-credits-will-not-affect-single-parents
When Will Proposals Become Law?
The Welfare Reform Act introduces Universal Credit to replace existing benefits including income-based Jobseeker's Allowance; income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support; Housing Benefit; Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. The Welfare Reform Act also makes provision for the Personal Independence Payment which will replace the existing Disability Living Allowance for over-16s. Click here for information about the Benefit Cap which will be introduced in 2013 http://www.turn2us.org.uk/information__resources/benefits/benefits_news_and_changes/benefit_cap.aspx and http://www.mumsnet.com/family-money/universal-credit
Checklist of dates in the Government's schedule for reforming the benefits system UPDATED FEBRUARY 2012 and http://www.turn2us.org.uk/information__resources/benefits/news_and_changes/benefit_changes.aspx and http://www.turn2us.org.uk/information__resources/benefits/universal_credit/universal_credit_timetable.aspx
When a Bill passes into law, some of the provisions pass into law immediately while others are set to come into force at a later date. From April 30th 2012, Contributory Employment Support Allowance has a cut-off point after 1 year's claim and any further claim will be means-tested on the household income. For some measures in the Welfare Reform Act, a later date is specified in the new law itself but sometimes the new law will simply say that the provisions come into force at a time specified by regulation (which means statutory guidance.)
From April 2013 single jobseekers without children who are claiming benefits for the first time who live in Ashton Under Lyne will claim universal credit. See http://dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2013/mar-2013/dwp042-13.shtml This is termed limited roll-out Tameside, Oldham, Wigan and Warrington will follow in July 2013. See the Transitional Regulations for more detail here Existing claimants will be migrated onto Universal Credit from May 2014 onwards (until 2017). For more details on the timetable, click here For existing claimants, any change of circumstance will trigger a new claim which would will put the claimant into the Universal Credit system.
Lone Parents and Universal Credit
Lone parents whose youngest child is aged 1 will have some conditionality attached to their benefits and may be required to participate in "work readiness" schemes. There will be 4 grades of conditionality: full conditionality; work preparation; keeping in touch with the labour market; and no conditionality. Read the Universal Credit Regulations here, published December 2012. 91.—(1) For the purposes of section 20(1)(a) of the Act (claimant is the responsible carer for a child aged at least 1 and under a prescribed age) the prescribed age is 5." [ie work-focused interview only] (page 50). 88.-2(b) where the claimant is a responsible carer for a child under the age of 13, the number of hours that the Secretary of State considers is compatible with the child's normal school hours (including the normal time it takes the child to travel to and from school)"
Lone Parents, Self-Employment and Universal Credit
"In future, if you are self-employed and on benefits, you may be moved onto Universal Credit if
your circumstances have not changed for some time. If this happens, you will not be subject
to a minimum income floor for the first six months of your claim. This will give you time to
increase your earnings and makes sure that you do not lose out due to the change."
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192667/universal-credit-toolkit-quick-guide-self-employment.pdf PUBLISHED APRIL 2013
Universal Credit will bring substantial changes for the self-employed as the Government envisages a Minimum Income Floor, which will apply after the first or "trial year" of self-employment (known as "the start-up period." Regulations on the Minimum Income Floor and the Start-up Year can be found here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/part/6/chapter/2/crossheading/gainful-selfemployment/made Lone parents already on benefits whose circumstances change after October 2013 will be invited to claim Universal Credit and will not be eligible for older benefits. For lone parents whose circumstances remain the same, the change will start to take effect from May 2014 to 2017 as existing claimants are migrated on to Universal Credit. The start-up period (exemption from assumed Minimum Income Floor and job-search requirements) relates to the first year of a new business, which must have begun trading in the 12 months preceding the claim for Universal Credit. The controlled start from April 2013 will not apply to self-employed claimants, see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/386/contents/made63.—(1) A "start-up period" is a period of 12 months and applies from the beginning of the assessment period in which the Secretary of State determines that a claimant is in gainful self-employment where— (a) the claimant has begun to carry on the trade, profession or vocation which is their main employment in the 12 months preceding the beginning of that assessment period; and
(b) the claimant is taking active steps to increase their earnings from that employment to the level of the claimant’s individual threshold (see regulation 90).
(2) But no start-up period may apply in relation to a claimant where a start-up period has previously applied in relation to that claimant, whether in relation to the current award or any previous award of universal credit, unless that previous start-up period—
(a) began more than 5 years before the beginning of assessment period referred to in paragraph (1); and
37(b) applied in relation to a different trade, profession or vocation which the claimant has ceased to carry on.
(3) The Secretary of State may terminate a start-up period at any time if the person is no longer in gainful self-employment or is no longer taking the steps referred to in paragraph (1)(b). Meaning of “gainful self-employment”
64. A claimant is in gainful self-employment for the purposes of regulations 62 and 63 where the Secretary of State has determined that—
(a) the claimant is carrying on a trade, profession or vocation as their main employment;
(b) their earnings from that trade, profession or vocation are self-employed earnings; and
(c) the trade, profession or vocation is organised, developed, regular and carried on in expectation of profit.
Representing Yourself in CourtPeople representing themselves in court are known as "litigant in person". This practice is likely to increase following the huge cuts to the legal aid budget as a result of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Here are some useful links:
http://www.thelawyer.com/practice-areas/litigation-/-dispute-resolution/how-can-lawyers-learn-to-love-litigants-in-person/3003817.article Guide to Good Practice on Dealing with Litigants in Person pages 27-38 in this 76 page pdf http://www.resolution.org.uk/site_content_files/files/good_practice_guide_2009_for_web_2.pdf http://theiclr.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/paying-lip-service-to-april-fools.html The judiciary and the bar have downloadable pamphlets offering help and guidance to litigants in person http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/JCO%2fDocuments%2fCJC%2fPublications%2fOther+papers%2fSmall+Claims+Guide+for+web+FINAL.pdf (wider applicability than just small claims) and http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media/203109/srl_guide_final_for_online_use.pdf
Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments Transition From 2013
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is being introduced on 08 April 2013 for new claims in the area covered by Bootle Benefits Centre ie Cheshire, Cumbria, Merseyside, North East England and North West England, known as 'the controlled start area' After the controlled start, the remainder of new claims to PIP in the rest of the country will take place from June 2013. Children will only claim DLA until they are aged 16. DWP will contact the guardian of a child on DLA before they reach 16 to help them understand what action they should take. There are no automatic entitlements to PIP. If PIP is not awarded existing DLA claimants cannot keep DLA as an alternative. From October 2013, anyone with a fixed period DLA award coming up for renewal, young people turning 16 or DLA claimants with an indefinite award reporting a change in their condition, will be reassessed for PIP. Existing DLA claimants were originally going to be contacted between October 2013 and March 2016 and invited to make a PIP claim - which would involve an assessment - but the vast majority of these assessment will now not be made before October 2015. This is to allow time for an independent review of the first phase of the change to be carried out in 2014. Online claims should be available from Spring 2014. If an existing DLA claimant decides to claim PIP then DLA will continue to be paid until a decision on entitlement to PIP is made. DWP told the Work and Pensions Committee in May 2012 "the Department will ensure that throughout the initial and ongoing implementation of Personal Independence Payment there will be continuous and thorough monitoring of all aspects of the claims process, including the assessment." Read more here
DWP web page for Welfare Reform Act regulations
In early 2012 the Government consulted on the new thresholds and assessment process for PIP, which will replace DLA for over-16s. My consultation response to download/read as web page http://edyourself.org/PIPconsultation.pdf http://edyourself.org/articles/PIPconsultation.php
Click here for the We Are Spartacus consultation response http://wearespartacus.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/wearespartacus-pip-submission-30-4-12.pdf (contributor)
Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer's Allowance may be claimed online. It is necessary first to register with Government Gateway and receive a unique ID number through the post.
Disability Living Allowance
Personal Independence Plans won't apply to children under 16
Two grades of PIP vs 3 grades of Disability Living Allowance
Maximum level of support via disability additions cut from £54 to £27 p.w.
Disability Alliance Case Law Links
Disability Living Allowance: Cooking a Main Meal Test
Blue Badge Scheme 2012
Budget 2012: Carers' Working Tax Credits Retained for 16 HoursFrom April 2012 couples must increase their working hours from 16 to 24 to qualify for working tax credits. However at the last minute before the Budget, the Chancellor announced that couples will continue to receive the credits if one partner works 16 hours per week and their partner is entitled to Carer’s Allowance.
Income Support may be claimed when a person is receiving carer's allowance which is payable where the person cared for gets the middle or highest rate of disability living allowance (DLA) care component
No conditionality for carers under the new proposals
Disability Alliance Fact Sheet on Income Support
Jobseeker's Allowance Lone Parents
To make a successful claim for Jobseeker's Allowance the lone parent must sign an agreement to look for at least/no less than 16 hours work a week During the course of the JSA claim, the lone parent will be expected to sign on at the JobCentre once a fortnight. Failure to attend interviews or to comply with requirements of the JSA regime may ultimately result in the parent's personal allowance being cut by 40%. Jobseeker's Allowance is made up of a personal allowance for the adult claimant plus an allowance for children, also known as Child Tax Credit. It should be noted that the Child Tax Credit element of the JSA payment will not be cut. (See the Gingerbread Fact Sheet for more information.) The only parents permitted to remain on Income Support after their children reach the maximum qualifying age will be those who receive Carer's Allowance. Entitlement to CA is only triggered by being the official carer for someone entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at medium or high rate.
Claiming Jobseeker's AllowanceJobcentre Plus will contact the lone parent 8 weeks before their Income Support is due to stop. They will tell them when their last payment will be and invite them to an interview with an adviser. The adviser will explain what they need to do to make a claim for another benefit. These interviews are voluntary but all lone parents are encouraged to attend in order to resolve questions about benefit entitlement. At the start of a new claim for Jobseeker's Allowance, the claimant is required to attend an interview where the Jobseeker's Agreement will be drawn up and signed by the claimant. Normally, JSA lone parent claimants are expected to sign on 2-weekly and have an Action Plan for seeking employment of at least 16 hours. This is called the "fortnightly job review" or FJR. At the fortnightly signing-on or FJR, claimants are expected to indicate what activities they have undertaken in their quest for work. At set points during the first year of a claim for JSA the claimant is required to attend the JobCentre more frequently. Click here for information about postal signing for claimants who live more than an hour from the nearest JobCentre (by public transport).
Home Educating Lone Parents and Jobseeker's AllowanceThe regulations for home educating lone parents on Jobseeker's Allowance are the same as for all other lone parents. However, guidance prepared for JobCentre staff says that home educators should be treated sensitively, not least because home educating lone parents will have to take their children to the JobCentre and it is important that the children do not become distressed. While receiving Income Support home educating lone parents must attend mandatory Work Focused Interviews or face benefit sanctions unless different arrangements have been agreed in advance with the JobCentre. Home educating lone parents who take the view that home education is a full time job and that therefore the parent is not in any conceivable circumstances available for paid work will not meet the requirements of Jobseeker's Allowance. Home educators who refuse to consider any options for formal childcare in order to be available for work will also not meet the requirements of Jobseeker's Allowance.
Appropriate Affordable ChildcareWith regard to claimant on Jobseeker's Allowance, staff at the JobCentre should not suggest using school or older siblings for childcare purposes so that the home educating lone parent can take a job. Nor should staff at the JobCentre suggest that children may be left alone while the parent goes out to work. If there is no appropriate affordable childcare, the home educating lone parent is currently entitled to turn down a job offer or to leave a job. In Committee on April 26th 2011 Minister Chris Grayling assured MPs that "Jobcentre Plus cannot instruct a grandparent to look after a child. We recognise the importance of informal child care—in many family situations, it may be the best option available—but Jobcentre Plus cannot require a third-party adult to provide unpaid, informal child care."
Child Tax Credit for post-16 Home Education
Child Tax Credits are payable for children under the age of 16 and for children over the age of 16 who are in full-time education, including home education. Home education is recognised as a valid form of full-time education for Child Benefit and for Child Tax Credit purposes. See our page on Child Benefit for further information. The young person must be taught or supervised for 12+ hours a week and will be "working towards qualifications". In both college-based further education and home-based education, "working towards qualifications" does not mean that the student must be signed up for an exam course. It should be noted that certain types of work-based education are excluded from Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit, as is Higher Education (Level 4).
The deadline for returning Child Tax Credit paperwork is July 31st and the previous year's CTC may be affected if HMRC does not receive the information in time. DirectGov video and transcript on tax credit returns
In Work Benefits, Working Tax Credits and New Enterprise Allowance 2011www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/in-work-credit-faqs.pdf In Work Credit, £40pw inc self-employment, to stop by October 2013
Citizens Advice Bureau Guide to Working Tax Credit
Tax Credits Guide for Self-Employment from Contact-a-Family
How Do Tax Credits Work for Self-Employed
Low Income Tax Reform Group: Self Employment
Rightsnet forum: Working Tax Credit minimum hours/earnings
HMRC Manual Tax Credits Guide Self Employed
Department Work and Pensions page on New Enterprise Allowance
Disability Alliance page on In Work Benefits
When Can You Get Help with Your Mortgage?(Money Saving Expert)
Employment Support AllowanceThe Disability Alliance has a very useful website with fact sheets and links for Employment Support Allowance and the revised Work Capacity Assessment
Housing Benefit Changes, Benefits Cap, Bedroom TaxParliamentary Briefing Paper on Housing Benefit Changes and here and here http://www.turn2us.org.uk/information__resources/benefits/benefits_news_and_changes/benefit_cap.aspx for information on the Benefit Cap which will be introduced in 2013. See http://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/housing_benefit_and_local_housing_allowance/housing_benefit_changes_2013 http://www.spartacusforum.org.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2585.msg6189.html#msg6189 phased introduction of Benefits Cap, only 4 London boroughs in April 2013. Letter from DWP 19th December 2012 here http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/pdfs/DWP_benefit_cap_letter.pdf
Mandatory Work Activity Scheme
From June 2011 the Mandatory Work Activity Scheme Regulations came into effect. The regulations give the employment services the discretion to direct claimants on Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment Support Allowance into a period of mandatory work activity if it is felt that the claimant is out of touch with the job market. The Department of Work and Pensions Press Release on Mandatory Work Activity has further details. In March 2011 the House of Lords Merits Committee registered a complaint against this scheme and on 10th May 2011 the House of Lords introduced a Motion to Regret. In response, the Minister Lord Freud assured peers that childcare costs would be paid to participants on the scheme and that "lack of suitable childcare is good cause for failing to attend. Therefore there would be no sanction."
See also http://www.spanuk.org.uk/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=118&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01returnid=51" Single Parent Action Network and the Work Programme, December 2011.