a year in benefits

Looking Back Over 2109 ... And Ahead To 2020

New course.   (Contact us for availability of dates for our In-House Workshops.)


Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances Peter Barker is now unable to provide training during the week below and we have therefore had to cancel the three planned  Workshop dates.   We apologise for any disappointment this may cause.  

London - Tue., 10th December. (Cancelled)   

Leeds - Wed., 11th December. (Cancelled)    

Birmingham - Thur., 12th December. (Cancelled)


A Workshop that provides a review of legislative changes, key case law developments and policy announcements that have taken place over the past year, and a look ahead to further changes expected in the year ahead. Universal Credit, Brexit, social sector size criteria and Human Rights appeals in Tribunals are just some examples of the areas in which HB staff, advisers and social landlords have had to keep up with changes in the law. This Workshop summarises the key changes – refreshing your memory about the better known ones … as well as drawing your attention to one or two that might have passed you by!   


Universal Credit And Related Reforms: Following the completion of the “full service” roll-out in December last year, 2019 has been another busy year for Universal Credit. We will catch up on what has been happening, including:

  • The  Severe Disability Premium “gateway”:
    • People “entitled to” legacy benefits with SDP prevented from claiming UC;
  • Compensation for  those who had already claimed UC.mixed age couples:
    • Prevention of new HB claims
    • Termination of existing HB awards – events that cause this
  •  o Where the rent includes both a caravan and the plot on which it stands;
    •    o The meaning of “bedroom” – where no bedroom in the home is big enough to accommodate two of the claimant’s children, but the size criteria say the siblings can share.
    • SPC child element.
  • Earnings anomalies:
    • Early salary in holiday periods;
    • Weekly/4-weekly earnings and calendar monthly UC.
  • The      53-week social sector rent year in 2019/20: the myths and the reality.


EEA Nationals: By the time you attend this Workshop, things might have changed!!! But the Workshop will of course cover all the up-to-the-minute details to give you the most up-to-date information possible on this important and complex topic. However, the arrangements for both existing residents and future arrivals from EEA countries seem clear enough in the medium term – deal or no deal (or even no Brexit should that transpire):  

  • Interim      continuity of existing law – the EU Withdrawal Act;
  • Settled and pre-settled status:
    • Criteria;
    • Deadline       to apply – deal or no deal.
  • Proposed      “temporary leave to remain” – Euro TLR;
  • Case      law developments including self-employed women on maternity breaks; gaps      in legal residence and the permanent right to reside; and how to correctly      apply the “minimum earnings threshold”. 


Housing Benefit Case Law Round-Up: 2019 produced a crop of interesting decisions in the UT and higher courts on a range of subjects including:

· Calculating periods of absence from home;

· “Bedroom Tax”:

     o Where the rent includes both a caravan and the plot on which it stands;

     o The meaning of “bedroom” – where no bedroom in the home is big enough to accommodate two of the claimant’s children, but the size criteria say the siblings can share.

· Rent arrears and payments of HB to the landlord – meaning of 8 weeks’ arrears;

· LHA rates for joint tenants maintaining a common household: meaning of “exclusive use” and correct approach to apportionment of “cap rent”;

· Relying on the Human Rights Act in Tribunal appeals.


Looking Ahead To The Future: 2020 will bring further developments in the roll-out of Universal Credit, and the main political parties have their proposals for new welfare reforms if they get the chance to implement them. HB staff in particular will be anxious to know about the reform of local government funding, with a greater reliance on local taxes (both business rates and Council Tax). We will briefly consider what the future has in store!  

  

The programme will be kept under constant review in the period between when this information was published (early October) and the December dates of the Workshops, and the final content will also include and reflect any breaking news emerging in the weeks ahead!