Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
Search
Newsletters: April 2017

April 2017 Newsletter

Welcome to this month's newsletter - bringing you right up to date with useful benefit information.

In this issue find out more about:

  • Limited Capability for Work changes- can backdating help?
  • Details of our Open Training Courses- get yourself booked on!
  • APA Managed Payment requests- make sure you're using the new form.
  • Permitted work-how it can help minimise the impact of the reforms.
  • Updated Flowchart: 'UC & Housing Costs for 18-21 year olds'
  • Universal Credit - Escaping the Lobster Pot
  • Universal Credit Booklet- now available.
  • The changes from April- quick link to the detail on our website.
  • Pocket size Benefit Rates- update.

As well as:

  • Your chance to WIN £50 for your local FOOD BANK, and chocolates for you!
  • This month's really useful standard letter.


Limited Capability for Work
Can backdating help?
New rules that came into force on 3rd April 2017 mean that many claimants who are found to have a limited capability for work on a new claim made on or after 3rd April may receive no more benefit than those who are fit for work and jobseeking.

NOTE: This does not affect those who are put in the Support Group (ESA) or are found to have a Limited Capability for Work Related Activities (UC).

For those affected - it means that their Employment and Support Allowance / Universal Credit award will not increase by the £29.05 a week (ESA) or£126.11 a month (UC), it would have done had they made their claim (ESA) or been referred for a Work Capability Assessment (UC) before 3rd April 2017 (ie the start of their period of limited capability for work was on or after 3rd April 2017).

So can a claimant get their claim (ESA) / date of referral (UC) backdated to before 3rd April 2017 so that they can get the extra benefit?

Employment and Support Allowance

ESA can be backdated up to three months. To get a backdate the claimant must:
  • Request it, and
  • Be able to provide a 'fit note' that covers the whole period they are looking to receive the backdate for.
They do not have to have a good reason why they did not claim earlier.

NOTE: if they finished work due to their limited capability then any ESA award can only be backdated to the day after any Statutory Sick Pay ended and cannot be awarded for any week in which the claimant was actually going into work

For new claims made up to 2nd July 2017, requesting a backdate to 2nd April 2017 or earlier, if given, could be a way of getting the Work Related Activity Component included in the ESA award- and securing them an extra £1,500 ESA a year. This is because the new rules do not apply (amongst other exceptions) if the claim was made on or after 3rd April 2017 where the claimant's ESA is payable before 3rd April 2017 ie it was payable from an earlier date because of the successful backdate request.

The claimant should request the backdate when they make their claim - but can, in certain situations, request the backdate up to 13 months later.

Click here for more information and a Standard Letter.

Universal Credit

Only those claimants living in a 'Full' / Digital service area will be able to make a new claim for Universal Credit if they have a limited capability for work. They cannot claim UC in 'Live' / Gateway areas because they are prevented by the 'Gateway conditions'.

But even under the Live Service someone who is already on Universal Credit may find that a change in their health means that they now have a limited capability for work. They can continue to claim UC, provide a fit note, request a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), and be assessed as such.

However, if they can provide a backdated 'fit' note, their period of incapability for work cannot begin until they have requested a WCA or been referred for one by their Work Coach.
Where this is on or after 3rd April 2017, and they are found to have a limited capability for work (but not a limited capability for work related activities) then although their conditionality requirements will change, most claimants*will receive no extra Universal Credit.

*Where they or their partner are working they may become entitled to a higher work allowance and/or become entitled to help with their child care costs -click here for more information.

So there is no scope - unlike under ESA - to get the start of a period of incapability for work backdated UNLESS the UC claimant could make a backdated claim for Contributory ESA - or what is now called 'New-style' ESA in 'Full'/Digital service areas.

Could they claim 'New-style' ESA as well as UC?

If the UC claimant can make a claim for Contributory ESA (ie they meet the NI contribution conditions)they can request that their ESA claim is backdated to before 3rd April 2017. If they are found to have a limited capability for work, then their Contributory ESA will include a Work Related Activity Component. Where a UC claimant is on 'New-style' ESA with a component, their UC award should include the equivalent Element. So where a UC claimant also gets 'New-style' ESA with a component then their UC award should include a Limited Capability for Work Element - securing them an extra £1,500 UC a year.

Example: Willow finished work at the end of March 2017 due to ill health - she lived in a 'Full'/Digital service UC area and so was advised to claim UC which she did. She did not start providing the DWP with 'fit' notes until mid April 2017 as she was not aware that she needed to. So, even if Willow is found to have a Limited Capability for Work her UC award cannot include the LCW Element as she was not referred for a WCA until after 3rd April 2017. But Willow had worked for a number of years and so makes a claim for 'New-style' ESA and requests a backdate to the date she finished work - and she is able to get a 'fit' note from that date. She is found to have a Limited Capability for Work on her ESA claim and her ESA award includes the Work Related Activity Component as her period of limited capability for work started before 3rd April 2017. This means that her UC award can include a LCW Element and she will be £126.11 a month better off.


Click here for more information.
Current Training Courses - get booked on!

Digital UC: What's different?
Half-Day Workshop
Tuesday 16th May 2017- Spennymoor
half day - 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Click here for more details


PIP for young people living in Supported Housing
Thursday 25th May 2017- Blackburn
Full day - 9.30am to 4.30pm
Click here for more details

Book a place from £55+vat per delegate
email info@housingsystems.co.uk

Applications for APA Managed Payments
must now be made on these new versions of the UC47 form:

Secure / Non-secure

available from the gov.uk website.
Guidance notes -here.

These forms include a declaration that landlords must sign - make sure you know your obligations when receiving APA Managed Payments - click here.

The Personal Budgeting Support and APA Guidance has also been updated -
click here for the March 2017 version.


Permitted Work

Can it help minimise the impact of the reforms?
With the cuts to Employment and Support Allowance (ie the abolition of the Work Related Activity Component for claims dated on or after April 2017 -click here) 'Permitted Work' might be a way of increasing an ESA claimant's income.

It could also help those families on Employment and Support Allowance affected by the Benefit Cap - as it will give them extra income on top of their benefits that is not counted as 'welfare'.

This is because earnings from 'Permitted Work' are totally disregarded as income and the ESA claimant retains their full entitlement to ESA, to Housing Benefit, to Council Tax Support and to any 'passported benefits' such as free prescriptions- ie they get their 'Permitted Work' earnings on top of these.

So what is'Permitted Work?'

'Permitted Work' is for Employment and Support Allowance claimants. Normally it's not possible to work and claim ESA, however one of the exceptions is where the claimant is doing 'Permitted Work'. The idea of 'Permitted Work' is to allow the claimant to test their capability for work and learn new skills to help them move back into full time work.

Under the 'Permitted Work' rules, the claimant can work up to 16 hours a week earning up to £120 a week without it affecting any of the other benefits they are entitled to.
However, one thing to note is that 'Permitted Work' needs to be declared to Jobcentre Plus and any work undertaken will be considered when the claimant has their next Work Capability Assessment (or PIP review).So careful consideration is required.


Before the 3rd of April 2017, there was a 52 week time limit for 'Permitted Work' at this earnings level that applied to ESA Work Related Activity Group Claimants - but this has now been removed.

As well as increasing a claimant's income,'Permitted Work' can help claimants to:
•learn new skills
•build their confidence
•start thinking about types of work they could do when they are able.

Click here for more on 'Permitted Work' and here for our Factsheet.

UC & Housing Costs for 18-21 year olds:
From April 2017 some 18-21 year olds will not be entitled to any help with their rent.
Some are protected from the change, others excluded from the change (for a while).

NOTE: Does not affect HB or 'Live' Service UC

Take a look at our updated flowchart to find out who.
Click here.



Universal Credit

Escaping the 'Lobster Pot'.
The introduction of the two child limit on 6th April 2017 means that families with three or more children are unable to make a new claim for Universal Credit (and can claim whatever legacy benefits they are entitled to) during an 'interim period' - even in the 'Full'/Digital areas.

So one question that is being asked is:

Can a family with three or more children escape the UC lobster pot and claim legacy benefits instead?

The reason many are asking this question is because some families may be financially better off on the legacy benefit system compared to their existing UC award, or simply struggling with the demands of Universal Credit and feel that the legacy benefit system would work better for them

The answer is: Not if they are classed as a ‘UC claimant'. UC claimants are excluded from claiming legacy benefits (unless it is HB for 'specified accommodation').

But who is and who isn't a UC claimant?The answer to this is not so simple ...........

So who is a ‘UC Claimant’ and therefore cannot make a new claim for a legacy benefit?

This will depend on whether they are claiming UC on the ‘Live’/Gateway or ‘Full’/Digital service as the rules are different……

‘Live’/Gateway areas – who is a UC claimant?
  • Anyone who has made a claim for UC and is awaiting a determination.
  • Anyone with an open on-going claim for UC (unless living in ‘specified accommodation in which case they can make a new claim for HB).
  • Anyone who was on UC as a couple – who is now single – and it is less than one month since their previous UC award terminated*.
  • Anyone who was on UC, whose award reduced to nil when the assessment included some earnings – who continues to meet the basic conditions of entitlement for UC (except the claimant commitment) – and it is less than 6 months since a previous award terminated* ie they have a ‘dormant’ claim.
    (It is currently unclear whether a claimant who has such a ‘dormant’ claim can withdraw that claim and so then not be classed as a UC claimant)

‘Full’/Digital areas – who is a UC claimant?
  • Anyone who has made a claim for UC and is awaiting a determination.
  • Anyone with an open on-going claim for UC (unless living in ‘specified accommodation in which case they can make a new claim for HB).
  • Anyone who was on UC as a couple – who is now single – and it is less than one month since their previous award terminated*.
  • Anyone who was on UC, whose award has terminated– and it is less than 6 months since that previous award terminated - regardless of the reason why it ended - ie this will include where the claimant themselves decides to withdraw their claim*.
*Award terminating = last day of last Monthly Assessment Period on which claim was paid.

So can a family with three children or more withdraw their claim for Universal Credit and claim legacy benefits instead?

The answer is definitely 'No' if they come under the 'Full'/Digital UC service (unless they can wait 6 months before making a claim for the legacy benefits).

The answer is 'Maybe' if they come under the 'Live'/Gateway UC service - so they should seek advice from a Benefits Adviser before making any decisions.

Universal Credit Booklet
Just arrived!

Our new handy A6, 24 page, simple guide to
Universal Credit.
Packed full of useful information
and helpful tips.

Find out more and see the booklet in full here.


Benefit Rates Pocket Guides 2017/18
We have been seeking clarification of the DWP's published benefit rates for 2017/18 as they did not match the changes made by recent amending Regulations.
We have now had further amending regulations that amend the amending regulations!

These make the necessary changes to ensure that the changes the Regulations are making match the DWPs published rates.

So our handy Benefit Rates Pocket Guides are now on their way.

Thank you for being so patient!


This month's useful
standard letter



With hundreds of useful standard letters on the website it would be surprising if you were aware of all of them.So each month we are going to feature just one.

This month we would like to remind you about Standard Letter UC CP41.


For claimants who find themselves moving from Employment and Support Allowance onto Universal Credit* and the DWP fail to transfer over the WRAG or Support component.
*Either through having to make a new claim in a 'Full'/Digital service area, or where they are becoming a partner of someone already on Universal Credit and either have to stay on UC or opt to stay on UC.

Click here for more information and the letter.


Your chance to
win £50 for your local food bank

Every month we give you the chance to win £50 for your local food bank.
Well done to last month's winner - Briony from Coastline Housing - a £50 cheque is making its way to Redruth and Camborne Food Bank.


The winner will be selected at random and can nominate a food bank of their choice to receive a £50 cheque from us, and will receive a box of chocolates for themselves.

Just email the answer to the question below to us by Friday 19th May for your chance to win.


This month’s question is:

Should the £17.10 Housing Benefit'16/30 hour Additional Earnings Disregard' be included in a HB assessment when the claimant is on maternity leave?

1. Never - as not classed as being in remunerative work.
2. As long as the claimant is intending to return to work of 30 hours a week.
3. Only where the 30 hour Element is included in their Working Tax Credit award.
4. Yes - as long as they were getting it before going on maternity leave and intend to return to work.


Find your answer here


email your answer to: info@housingsystems.co.uk

April Changes

Click here
Welfare Reform Timeline
Click here for our updated timeline
Need

Welfare Reform Training?
Book a course in-house for just £845+vat

Click here for more details

Using the links in the newsletter
Remember when clicking on a link in this newsletter you may need to have logged into our website using your username and password.

If you have forgotten yours - please email us and we will send a reminder:
info@housingsystems.co.uk


Not a member yet? Would you and your colleagues find information like this useful? Then contact us for more details about becoming a member: info@housingsystems.co.uk.
Click here to login to website
Copyright © Housing Systems. All rights reserved.