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 Labour Party has pledged to introduce free personal care for all older people in England. The new policy (announced at the Labour Party conference) will cost an estimated £6 billion in 2020/2021 and double the number of people receiving state funded care.

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The National Institute for Health and Social Excellence (NICE) has published new draft guidance aimed at improving the wellbeing of adults providing unpaid care for people over the age of sixteen.

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.

From 31 May 2019 all new personal independence payment (PIP) claimants who would have been scheduled for a review after reaching state pension age will receive an ongoing award with a light touch review after 10 years the DWP has announced.

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.

The government has announced the expansion of budgets for personalised health and care support.

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.

The Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed the process for representatives of universal credit claimants to contact DWP by phone.

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).

Universal credit work allowances are to increase by £1,000 per year from April 2019, the Chancellor has announced.

The Government has announced it is making an additional £240 million social care funding available to help reduce delayed transfers of care this winter.

According to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the funding will be available to get people who do not need to be in hospital, but do need care, back home and to free up hospital beds for those who need hospital care.

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.

The negotiators of the European Union (Union) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), have recently published their first report recording the progress made in the first phase of negotiations under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) on the UKs orderly withdrawal from the European Union (EU).

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.

Social security appeals go in favour of the claimant in 66 per cent of cases, according to new Ministry of Justice statistics.

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.

New guidance has been issued regarding the meaning of safely within the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) rules, following a decision of the Upper Tribunal last year.

From November 2017 the WHP will be DWPs new contracted employment provision that will help persons who have a disability, the long-term unemployed (LTU) and specified disadvantaged groups to find sustained work.

The government has announced proposals to introduce eligibility criteria for free school meals for Universal Credit claimants by applying a net earned income threshold of £7,400 per annum.

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.

The government has rejected a call to abolish the seven waiting days at the start of universal credit claims.

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.

More than one in three private landlords of universal credit claimants report that their tenants are in rent arrears, according to new research from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).

New regulations have been issued in relation to the further roll-out of the universal credit full service.

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.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has ordered Hackney Council to pay nearly £20,000 in backdated care home fees after a delay in assessing the needs of an elderly woman with dementia.

There has been a 76 per cent fall in the caseload of European Economic Area (EEA) nationals claiming jobseekers allowance (JSA), according to the DWP.

£35 million has been committed by Department of Works & Pensions (DWP) and Department of Communities & Local Government to pilot new approaches to employment support for people who face long-term barriers to work and in-work progression

The increase to the female state pension age means 1.1 million women are worse off by an average of £32 per week, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The government has published proposals for the post-Brexit benefit rights of European Union (EU) nationals living in the UK.

Tenants who were unlawfully sub-letting their properties at Grenfell Tower will be protected from prosecution, the government has said.

In a new judgment, the High Court has considered whether a decision by the London Borough of Merton to change the residential provision of an adult (JF) with Autism Spectrum Disorder and severe learning difficulties was lawful.

A report published by the Department of Works & Pensions regarding Employment Support Allowance (ESA) shows that from December 2016 to April 2017, just 7 per cent of fit for work disputes are revised in the claimants favour following mandatory reconsideration and 86 per cent of ESA assessment outcomes were not revised following mandatory reconsideration.

There have been a number of challenges to the genuine prospect of work test applied to EU nationals seeking employment in the UK in relation to their right to reside here.

Way back in July 2006 I wrote the following article on the Human Rights Act. Given the latest announcements from Theresa May this week, I thought it timely to reprint that article. 

The government has announced a rapid reclaim process for personal independence payment (PIP) for claimants returning from a temporary absence abroad of less than 12 months.

The government has announced measures to provide additional support to those in the work-related activity group following the removal of the employment and support allowance (ESA) work-related activity component and universal credit limited capability for work element for new claimants from 3 April 2017.

While amending regulations prevent someone acquiring entitlement to the enhanced rate of mobility because of the effects of psychological distress, the change does not entirely negate the effect of the reference to a mental condition which gives entitlement to the mobility component at the enhanced rate if the persons ability to carry out mobility activities is severely limited by the persons physical or mental condition.

From 1 April 2017 there will be no entitlement to the housing costs element of universal credit for new universal credit claimants aged under 22 subject to specified exemptions, savings and transitional protection for some claimants.

The government has published its response to the consultation exercise on planned exceptions to the two-child limit in universal credit and child tax credit.

The DWP will extend its home visiting service to all disabled claimants who ask for it, according to Minister for Welfare Delivery Caroline Nokes.

New regulations have been issued to provide for a 3 per cent increase in local housing allowance (LHA) rates in designated areas where there are high rent increases.

48 per cent of disability living allowance (DLA) reassessments for personal independence payment (PIP) have led to benefit being disallowed or reduced.

The government has issued new Care Act guidance in response to the Supreme Courts July 2015 judgment in Cornwall Council v Secretary of State for Health and Others (Cornwall).

The local housing allowance (LHA) cap for tenants living in general needs social housing has been deferred until 2019/2020, the Work and Pensions Secretary has announced.

In a written statement he said that the government proposes to defer the changes, which were due to commence from April 2018, so they align with changes to supported housing funding in April 2019.

People who require immigration leave to enter or remain in the UK and do not have it are disqualified from occupying premises under a residential tenancy agreement unless they have been granted permission to rent by the Home Office.

Minimum room sizes are to apply to shared homes to clamp down on overcrowding under proposals announced by Housing Minister Gavin Barwell.

In a recent case (Alhashem v Secretary of State for Works & Pensions EWCA Civ 395 2016) a Dutch national was refused income based Employment Support Allowance (ESA) on the grounds that they did not have a right to reside.

New regulations have been issued in relation to the introduction of a lower benefit cap from 7 November 2016.

The government has announced that it is to abolish pointless employment and support allowance (ESA) reassessments for those with lifelong, severe health conditions with no prospect of improvement.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has found Herefordshire Council at fault for failing to move an applicant from an unsuitable care home for 11 months.

Brexit could have significant implications for the social security rights of European Union (EU) nationals living in or wishing to move to the UK, and for UK expatriates elsewhere in the EEA and those considering moving abroad, according to a recent Parliamentary report.

At present, Universal Credit (UC) is available to single people throughout Great Britain and to couples & families in designated areas. Where a person qualifies for UC, most will not be able to claim Housing Benefit (HB) towards their accommodation costs but instead receive the housing costs element of UC.

NHS England has issued new guidance on responsibility for S117 aftercare services.

A recent case heard by the Admin Court has identified some key principles in establishing when an authority can refuse support to an applicant in the UK in breach of Immigration law.

A man born on or after 6 April 1951 or a woman born on or after 6 April 1953 will claim the new state pension. This will be paid at a flat rate currently of £155.65 a week. As with the previous state pension, it is non-means tested and taxable but unlike the old pension scheme there is no additional state pension or increases for adult or child dependants.

A Joint statement issued by leaders of European institutions confirms that there will be no renegotiation on the terms which included proposed benefit restrictions for EU migrants following the European Union (EU) referendum. This means the UK settlement agreed at the European Council in February 2016 will not now take effect and ceases to exist.

The government has confirmed plans to reform the UK human rights framework by bringing forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights.

Measures to make it easier for private landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants have been set out in the Immigration Act 2016.

Earlier this year the government announced that it intended to exempt households in receipt of carers allowance from the benefit cap.

The national roll out of the Universal Credit (UC) full service will begin in May. UC has already been introduced for new claimants who satisfy gateway conditions in designated areas. The full service has no gateway conditions and so a new claimant comes under UC because they live in a designated area.

The government has confirmed that it will not proceed with its proposed cuts to personal independence payment.

Local welfare funds are to be designated as public funds for immigration purposes.

Although there will be a one year delay in capping housing benefit for social sector tenants in supported accommodation (meaning that restrictions will not come into force until April 2017) moves to defeat the proposal have so far failed. As a result, up to 440,000 vulnerable people could be at risk through cuts to social housing rents and the impact of capping housing benefit at local housing allowance levels.

If some of you gave up trying to work out what the latest deal means for EU migrants rights to in-work benefits and to child benefit, below is a very short summary.

The Supreme Court recently rejected two cases – one involving a 19 year old Polish national who was pregnant and one involving an Austrian man with poor mental health. Both had tried to challenge refusals to support on the grounds that they did not have a right to reside in the UK.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the so-called bedroom tax is unlawful because of its impact on vulnerable individuals.

The government is considering devolving responsibility for a wide range of projects and services – such as the administration of attendance allowance to local authorities, according to consultation issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson has announced that the discretionary housing payment scheme will be available to disabled people hit by capping social sector rents at local housing allowance (LHA) level.

The High Court held that the failure to exempt full-time unpaid carers in receipt of carers allowance from the benefit cap constitutes unlawful discrimination in breach of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Responding to calls for action to ease a nationwide funding crisis in social care, the Chancellor said in his autumn statement that local authorities will be allowed to raise council tax by up to 2% as long as the extra money is spent on social care.

New guidelines regarding the transition between inpatient hospital settings and community or care home settings for adults with social care needs have been published by NICE.

The Immigration Bill had its second reading in the Commons on 13 October.

The Bill is currently in nine parts. The main provisions are as follows:

Reassessments for PIP are to be rolled out across Great Britain from October 2015 following small scale trials conducted in July 2015. As a result the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) has announced that, from October 2015 PIP will be rolled out across GB to claimants that have a long-term or indefinite award of DLA.

The government has confirmed that 18-21 year old universal credit claimants in supported accommodation will retain housing benefit after April 2017.

Home care visits to elderly people should last for at least half an hour and focus on what they can or would like to do rather than on what they can’t do, says the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE).

The Government has announced that young jobseekers allowance (JSA) claimants are to be sent to a three week boot camp.

According to a report by the BBC, the government is considering extending its proposed four year residence requirement for tax credits to all British citizens.

This Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons and it contains a number of significant proposals.

The DWP has issued new guidance to local authority decision makers in relation to permanent residence for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their families.

The DWP has confirmed the details of the areas to which universal credit will roll-out between September 2015 and April 2016.

The DWP has announced that all people with existing long-term or indefinite awards of DLA will be invited to claim PIP from 13 July 2015.

According to a report published by the BBC the DWP is considering the abolition of the employment and support allowance (ESA) work-related activity group (WRAG).

The government has brought forward the deadline for the Law Commission to finalise proposals for a legal framework to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (Dols).

The High Court has ordered that a judicial review challenge to the benefit cap and its impact upon disabled people and their carers should proceed to a full hearing that must take place urgently. 

From 6 April 2015, a range of new pension flexibilities were introduced following the announcement in the Budget 2014. In effect, an individual will be able to choose what they want to do with their defined contribution pension fund.

Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper has announced the following changes to the Access to Work scheme.

On the 18th March 2015 the Supreme Court narrowly dismissed an appeal challenging the legality of the benefit cap which limits the amount of welfare benefits any family with children can receive to £500 a week, regardless of family size.

New claims for personal independence payment under the normal rules are taking an average of 20 weeks to process according to new government figures.

All income based jobseekers allowance (JSA) claimants are to be required to complete an annual verification check.

Following the roll out of Universal Credit in the north-west of England, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has provided details of the first and second rounds of national expansion to local authorities and jobcentre areas.

From 30 March 2015, repeat claims will only be accepted if the claimant can show a new health condition or that an existing condition has significantly worsened.

The automatic right to be treated as having limited capability for work (LCW) on a repeat claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) made more than six months after a decision that a claimant is fit for work, is to be removed.

Section 21 of the Care Act applies restrictions on local authorities providing services under Part 1 of the Act (including preventative services under s2) to an adult whose needs for care and support have arisen solely because the adult is destitute.

From 2 March 2015 family claims will be accepted in all areas that currently allow claims for Universal Credit.

From 26 January 2015 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is to be rolled out next month to existing disability living allowance (DLA) claimants in seven additional areas, the DWP has confirmed today.

Local councils will continue to be able to offer local welfare assistance from within existing budgets 'if they judge it a priority in their area', the government has said.

New regulations have been issued removing entitlement to winter fuel payments for those living in European countries with warmer climates.

The DWP has issued guidance in relation to two recent Upper Tribunal decisions that considered whether the 'space standards' set out in the Housing (Scotland) Act are determinative as to whether a room is a bedroom for the purposes of the bedroom tax.

David Cameron has begun the Conservative’s election campaign by pledging that European Union (EU) migrants will not be able to claim tax credits unless they have lived in the UK and 'contributed' for a minimum of four years, if he is returned to government following the general election in 2015.

Universal credit claimants who fail to pay their rent could have up to 20 per cent of their standard allowance deducted to meet the arrears, the DWP has announced.

The DWP has confirmed that US firm Maximus has been awarded a three year contract to deliver health related assessments including work capability assessments (WCAs), replacing the current provide Atos some time in 2015.

The DWP has issued new guidance on a recent High Court decision which dismissed a challenge to the bedroom tax for parents with shared care of children.

Personal independence payment (PIP) is to be rolled out next month to existing DLA claimants in four additional areas, the DWP has confirmed today.

In a speech to the Conservative Party conference Mr Duncan Smith said that universal credit in the North West of England was due to be rolled out to include families over the next few weeks and to more than one in eight jobcentres by Christmas.

The High Court has ruled that a council tax reduction (CTR) scheme that included a residency requirement is unlawful.

According to the Prime Minster this week, EU migrants' entitlement to out-of-work benefits is to be 'cut off' after three months.

From 21 July 2014, new JSA amendment regulations provide that claimants who have recently become homeless are to be treated as available for employment where they are taking reasonable steps to find living accommodation.

 The DWP has issued guidance on new regulations which restrict the amount of time EEA nationals can enjoy a right to reside as a jobseeker or a person retaining worker status.

In a new judgment, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has decided that an EU national who left work due to pregnancy retained her worker status.

A woman had sole care of her two children aged 7 & 3. She had been granted discretionary leave to remain with no recourse to public funds.

The government has announced a further roll out of universal credit.

The DWP has issued new housing benefit guidance in relation to universal credit for claimants in temporary accommodation.

The current service to personal independence payment (PIP) claimants is 'unacceptable', according to the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

From 1 April 2014, Housing Benefit amendment regulations provide that only EEA nationals who are receiving income-based JSA because they have a right to reside other than as a jobseeker or as a family member of a jobseeker (for example, where they retain worker status) will continue to have a right to reside for housing benefit purposes.

Two important case have been heard this week challenging the Government’s reform programme on the grounds of discrimination.
The first heard in the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal against the household benefit cap brought by two appellants who had fled violent marriages with their children.

The DWP has issued guidance to local authority housing benefit departments on the minimum earnings threshold for EEA migrant benefit claimants.
The threshold will be introduced from 1 March 2014 to help to determine whether an EEA national’s previous or current work can be treated as genuine and effective for the purposes of deciding whether they have a right to reside in the UK as a 'worker' or 'self employed person'.

Despite using a phased roll-out programme, the assessment process for PIP has taken much longer than expected.  Backlogs developed so quickly that by 25 October 2013, the DWP had made only 16 per cent of the number of decisions it expected.

The government has amended draft legislation on conditionality for lone parents with a youngest child aged one to four.

Personal independence payment (PIP) has this week rolled out to existing claimants in the following five areas - Carlisle;Darlington;Harrogate;Lancaster and York.

In a new judgment, the High Court has considered a challenge to the lawfulness of regulations that exclude claimants whose sole right to reside derives from the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in Zambrano, from entitlement to social assistance.

In a report published last week, the National Audit Office (NAO) evaluated the value for money of the introduction of council tax support by assessing whether it achieved its policy objectives and found that whilst the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) worked effectively with local authorities to ensure council tax support was introduced on schedule, not all local schemes will achieve the expected objectives outlined by the Department.

Nearly a third of discretionary housing payment (DHP) applications from disabled people affected by the bedroom tax were turned down, according to new National Housing Federation (NHF) figures.

Regulations restricting the right of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals ('A2 nationals') to work in the UK cease to apply from 1.1.14. This means that from 1.1.14 A2 nationals will have the same EU rights to reside in the UK as any other EEA national.

The Court of Appeal has rejected the DWP's appeal against an Upper Tribunal decision that claimants with mental health problems are put at a 'substantial disadvantage' by the work capability assessment (WCA).

Prime Minister David Cameron has set out further restrictions on benefits for EU migrants. He announced a number of measures designed to ensure that 'no-one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately', including:

The DWP has set out further details of arrangements for the transfer of disability living allowance (DLA) claimants to personal independence payment (PIP).

New regulations have been issued in relation to the definition of domestic violence for victims who are claiming jobseeker's allowance (JSA).
In force from 29 October 2013, the new regulations define domestic violence as follows:

Recent media coverage has highlighted the lack of time allotted to care for people who are older or who have a disability in their homes. It means many are left waiting to get into or out of bed, waiting to eat or drink or left wanting basic human contact. This doesn’t just have an effect on those receiving care but places huge pressure on staff, who often have to work over their hours for below the minimum wage to make sure people get basic levels of support they need.

The Government is expected to announce new rules requiring the long-term unemployed to take full-time unpaid work or risk losing benefits.
The provisions (expected to be announced at the Conservative Party conference) will apply to claimants who remain unemployed after completing 104 weeks on the Work Programme scheme.

Permission has been granted for an appeal against the High Court's dismissal of a challenge to the bedroom tax.

31 per cent of homeless jobseekers have been sanctioned, compared to 3 per cent of other claimants, according to a new report by Homeless Link.

Benefit and tax credit fraud are to be subject to a maximum 10 year prison sentence.

HA was a Nigerian man with serious mental health issues who was detained twice by immigration authorities in 2010. During the first 5-month detention, his mental health deteriorated to such an extent that he had to be hospitalised under the Mental Health Act 1983. Following this he spent a further two-month period in detention.

A recent judicial review found that the Work Capability assessment process places claimants with mental health problems at a substantial disadvantage because of the failure to obtain further medical evidence at an early stage.

The DWP has issued new guidance to local authority housing benefit departments in relation to the national implementation of the benefit cap which started on 15 July 2013 and will be completed by the end of September 2013.


The claimant had been living in a residential treatment centre for people with gambling addictions but by the time a decision had been made on his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) claim, had moved to a ‘halfway house’.  The issues facing the judge were:

Young people who are disabled will be given help to find sustainable paid employment through a new Supported Internship programme and a new Traineeship programme, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced.

Direct payments are to be triggered after two months' rent arrears under universal credit, Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, has announced.

This is an update for those who have attended our Welfare Reform courses.  Instead of introducing the benefit cap nationally over a 10 week period, the DWP has outlined new principles to be used in a phased roll out.

The Home Office is to time-limit the right to reside of unemployed EEA nationals to six months.

New regulations have been issued in relation to universal credit and discretionary housing payments (DHP’s) ensuring that a local authority may make a DHP to a person who is entitled to universal credit which has been calculated to include an amount in respect of housing costs relating to rent (or similar payments).

The DWP is reviewing welfare reform rules for homeless hostels and refuges.
Since April 2013, those in 'supported exempt accommodation' have not been subject to the benefit cap or housing benefit size criteria restrictions (known as the 'bedroom tax'). 

In October 2012 we explained the plans to replace the discretionary Social Fund (primarily Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants) with local welfare provision provided by local authorities and devolved administrations.

The government has confirmed that the single-tier flat rate pension will be introduced from 2016 instead of 2017 as originally proposed (regular readers will recall we covered the initial proposals in an article February 2013).

The DWP has dropped an appeal to the Supreme Court over the amount of housing benefit to be awarded where an extra bedroom is required due to the needs of a disabled child.

A presumption that EEA nationals are not entitled to benefit after six months is to be introduced from 2014.

The Government has announced new measures for funding care to ensure that the elderly and those with disabilities get the care they need without facing unlimited costs.

Last week the chief executives of seven charities (Carers UK, MS Society, Mencap, Macmillan Cancer Support, Disability Rights UK, Carers Trust and Contact a Family) wrote to the Chancellor George Osborne about plans to reduce the level of benefit paid to a tenant if their home has one or more spare bedrooms. 

This month the government published a draft Pensions Bill introducing a single tier pension.
It claims that the reforms (planned for April 2017 at the earliest) will particularly benefit women taking time out to bring up a family, low earners and the self-employed whose national insurance contributions will for the first time count towards a full single tier pension of £144.

For everyone who attended our training before January 2013, there are a number of changes to PIP that you need to be aware of.

Last month the European Court of Human Rights handed down rulings on four contentious cases which had been brought before it by British citizens.

As those of you who have been on our training or regularly read these news items will know, when Universal Credit is launched, some people in receipt of current benefits will be moved over in a process wholly managed by DWP.  For these claimants, transitional protection will be considered and applied where the total household Universal Credit entitlement would otherwise be lower than the total existing award of benefit and tax credit at the point when they move.

According to the Guardian, local authority plans for the localised council tax support which will replace council tax benefit from April 2013 has shown that, of the 86 councils which have already published their plans, 57 intend to introduce a minimum council tax payment ranging from 6 per cent to 30 per cent of a full council tax bill.

P was a Jamaican national who arrived in the UK in 2002 and overstayed her visitor’s visa.  She had 2 British citizen children and she was their primary and sole carer.  She became homeless and applied for housing from Southwark LBC, who decided that she was ineligible for assistance as she was a person from abroad.

The DWP has issued a new Information Bulletin to local authority housing benefit staff advising that -
‘DWP will be undertaking a significantly slower migration profile. This means DWP can take the time to learn from the early introduction of PIP – for example, by considering the findings of the first independent review to Parliament on the operation of the PIP assessment, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014

The case arose following applications for European Economic Area (EEA) family permits from claimants coming from Bangladesh to join a Bangladeshi relative who had married an Irish national working in the UK. 

The roll out of personal health budgets has been announced by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb.

New regulations have been issued in relation to default council tax support schemes for local authorites who have not made their own scheme by 31 January 2013.

Under plans announced by George Osborne it will be possible for employers or employees to exchange some of their employment rights for shares in the business they work for, any gains on which will be exempt from capital gains tax (CGT).

New regulations have been issued in relation to child benefit and child tax credit for non-European Economic Area (EEA) citizens with a right to reside following the Court of Justice of the European Union decision in the 'Zambrano' case.

Consultation on the draft Care and Support bill ends on the 19 October.  The Bill represents the government’s response to the Law Commission’s report on reform for adult social care and support and runs alongside the government’s white paper ‘Caring for out future’. 

For those of you who have been on our ‘Persons from Abroad’ training in the last 18 months or so, there have been some significant changes you need to be aware of.

Isle of Wight Council decided to move to a policy whereby it would treat as eligible only those needs assessed as ‘critical’ and those areas of substantial need that ‘place people at greatest risk of not being able to remain at home and be safe’

From the 1 May 2012, a number of changes to Employment Support Allowance (ESA) will make it more difficult for sick and disabled people to qualify for benefit, stay on benefit once they qualify or safely make a return to work.

The government has now introduced the new National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2011.  The regulations only apply to hospital services and only to someone who is not ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK.

Two recent cases, both involving Birmingham City Council, highlight the need for authorities to consider their duties under the Single Equality Act 2010 when making decisions that affect access to social care and health services.

The DWP has published an update about the new enterprise allowance that was announced by the Secretary of State, on 5 October 2010.


The Care Standards Act 2000 specified which establishments had to be registered as care homes from April 2002.  It covered establishments that provide accommodation together with nursing or personal care for people who are or who have been ill, who have a mental disorder, who are disabled or infirm or who have been dependent on alcohol or drugs (section 3). 

Many local authorities have been reviewing the support they provide to asylum seekers and persons from abroad under section 21 National Assistance Act, following a decision by the House of Lords in 2008 (R(M) v Slough).  In a recent case involving Hillingdon LBC the Court examined how this judgement should be applied to a totally blind asylum seeker who had been found by the authority not to have a need for ‘care and attention’.

Male-to-female transsexuals have rights to be treated in the same way as other female claimants of state retirement pension as a result of a European directive and following the outcome of a case at the European Court of Justice.

It would appear from the number of questions we are asked about religious discrimination, that this part of the Equality Act 2006 is causing some confusion. 

This strand of prohibited discrimination is contained in Part 2 of the Equality Act.  Religion means any religion and belief means any religious or philosophical belief.  Thus so-called fringe religions may well qualify under this definition.  Some groups such as Muslims and Rastafarians come within this definition and are protected against religious discrimination while still not being covered under the Race Relations Act as ‘racial groups’.

A claimant applied to Lewisham for accommodation under section 21 National Assistance Act 1948, having previously lived in Lambeth & Hackney.

In 2007 the claimant applied for a job as a youth worker with the church and declared his homosexuality at the point of application.  All candidates were asked at interview specific questions about whether or not they complied with guidance from the church, which states that the church does not permit either heterosexual or homosexual behaviour outside marriage

Despite very clear guidance on charging for after care services especially in relation to s117 of the Mental Health Act, there still appears to be widespread confusion.

When we first suggested Game Theory as a management tool, we received some sceptical looks, some surprised looks and some that appeared to be a mixture of incredulity & humour!

The value of development is that it creates a space to clear your mind, focus, recollect a valuable experience, gain a sense of perspective, listen to your ‘gut’ instinct, be open to new possibilities and to clear your vision.

Mr Majrowski worked for Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Trust, who he sued, alleging that he had been bullied, intimidated and harassed by his manager.

Way back in July 2006 I wrote the following article on the Human Rights Act. Given the latest announcements from Theresa May this week, I thought it timely to reprint that article. 

If all that someone ever knew about the Human Rights Act 1998 was gained from reading newspapers and listening to Government ministers, they might be forgiven for thinking that in reality, the Act was a charter for the rights of criminals and terrorists.  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

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