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Newsletters: May 2017

May 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:

  • Rent changes and UC- update and reminder.
  • More UC for working claimants- due to reduced taper.
  • Digital Universal Credit: The Essentials- Training: get booked on.
  • Tribunals and Human Rights- what could turn out to be a groundbreaking case!
  • PIP update-changes to regulations & important new case law.
  • Motability Scheme- improvements to the transitional support package.

As well as:

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


Rent Changes
and Universal Credit

The procedures for reporting rent changes are different for Live and Full service UC claims, and the DWP have made some slight changes - here is an update.

Live/Gateway service areas

In Live service areas, because claimants cannot report changes online, landlords have been able to send in schedules showing rent changes for April 2017.

In May and June 2017, the UC dept will send a text message to any Live service claimants who have not reported an April 2017 rent change, or had a change reported for them by their landlord, and request that they phone the UC dept to let them know whether their rent has changed.

Full/Digital Service areas

There is no arrangement for landlords to send rent change schedules to the UC dept for Digital service claimants. This is because claimants are responsible for reporting changes using their online account.

Claimants cannot report a rent change before it happens:they will need to remember to report it in the Monthly Assessment Period during which it takes effect! Some claimants may have reported it as soon as they were notified of the change - but this may have been too soon for the DWP to accept notification of the change - so these claimants will need to report it again!

If they delay in reporting a change and the rent decreased, then they will have been overpaid, and this will be recovered. Alternatively,if the rent increased, they will miss out by not having reported this within the Monthly Assessment Period when the change occurred, unless the DWP accepts they had a good reason for the delay.

The DWP have said that where the change is less than a £3 increase or decrease, the DWP does not require the change to be verified ie the DWP will not need to see evidence of the change. Changes above £3 have to be verified by the landlord.

Open Training Course - get booked on!

Digital Universal Credit - the Essentials
Wednesday 7th June 2017
Dunkenhalgh Hotel, nr Accrington
9.30am - 4.30pm


Click here for more details


Book a place from £95+vat per delegate
email info@housingsystems.co.uk


Universal Credit
and workers

The rate at which earnings reduce a UC award was reduced on 10th April 2017.

Working UC claimants should therefore see a small increase in their UC award.

This change takes effect from the beginning of the claimant's Monthly Assessment Period following the 10th April - so some claimants will not see any increase until their June payment.

Example:
Joyce, age 28, claims Universal Credit to top up her earnings. She earns£15,000 gross pa and lives on her own in a one bedroom social housing flat where she pays £120 a week.
She has been getting £107 per month Universal Credit. Her Monthly Assessment Periods run from 3rd of one month to 2nd of the next. Her UC award is due to increase to £130 due to the April 'taper rate' change. However she will not see this increase in the payment she receives on 9th May - as this is in respect of her entitlement between 3rd April - 2nd May, but she will see the increase in the payment she is due on 9th June.


April Changes

Click here
Universal Credit Booklet
" “UC Get the Facts” I love it! Really good."
Northwards Housing

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.

Much more than a
Bedroom Tax victory...?
Tribunals can direct benefit authorities to disapply secondary legislation if they believe it contravenes the claimant's Human Rights.

This recent ruling by the Upper Tribunal involves the Carmichaels, the couple who won their case in the Supreme Court that the Bedroom Tax breached their Human Rights as, due to Mrs Carmichael’s disability, they were unable to share a bedroom.

The Carmichaels had used two different routes to challenge the Bedroom Tax decision.

They appealed under Human Rights breaches via Judicial Review. You may remember that, in November 2016, the Supreme Court found that, for couples like the Carmichaels, the Regulations are discriminatory and a breach of Human Rights. As a result of the Supreme Court judgement, the Regulations were amended, but only from 1st April 2017. More detail on the new Regulations here(which are unaffected by this UT decision).

The Carmichaels had also challenged the decision via the First Tier Tribunal (FTT). In 2014, the FTT ruled in the Carmichaels’ favour by deciding to'read into' the Regs what words it felt were necessary to amend the breach of Human Rights it believed to be apparent in their case. In response to the FTT decision, the DWP appealed to the Upper Tribunal; the appeal was stayed pending the outcome of the Supreme Court decision. The Upper Tribunal hearing subsequently went ahead and the decision was published on 27th April 2017.

The Upper Tribunal felt Tribunals do have the power to 'read in' words - but that in this case the FTT had 'read in' too many words. BUT they decided that where the FTT believe that Regulations made under secondary legislation were a clear breach of the claimant's Human Rights, they could direct the Local Authority to disapply them: and that is what the FTT should have done in this case.

The DWP were initially refused permission to appeal this decision. The DWP had the right to renew that application, so the effect of the Upper Tribunal’s Decision was suspended for 28 days from 27 April 2017.

We are waiting to find out whether the DWP have indeed renewed that application (which we assume they did) and whether they have been granted permission to take this decision to the Court of Appeal. If not, then anyone who feels that a benefit decision,made under secondary legislation,contravenes their Human Rights,can request an appeal of that decision to the FTT requesting that the FTT tell the LA (or other benefit authority) to disapply the Regulation in their case........

We will let you know the situation as soon as we hear anything - watch this space!

Keep up to date with developments on our news page.

Personal Independence Payment Update

Following 2 Upper Tribunal Decisions,
the government decided to amend the PIP Regulations from 16th March 2017, so that the 'descriptors' relating to
'
planning and following journeys' and 'managing therapy'
are interpreted in line with the government's original intention.

Another recent Upper Tribunal decision could be good news
for people who have fluctuating conditions
with less frequent but more severe episodes.


Click on the links above for more details
and watch out for our Briefing - coming soon!



Motability Vehicle Scheme

What happens when Enhanced Rate Mobility
is not awarded?

Personal Independence Payment is replacing Disability Living Allowance; DLA claimants who were under 65 on 8th April 2013 are being re-assessed for PIP.

Many people who were entitled to the High Rate of the Mobility Component in DLA are not being awarded the Enhanced Mobility Component when they are assessed for PIP instead.

This could be due to the stricter criteria on physical walking under PIP, or it may be that the decision was incorrect and needs to be challenged.

Anyone who wishes to challenge their decision should seek specialist benefits advice as soon as possible, especially if they have been awarded some PIP (ie the Standard Rate of the Mobility Component and/or the Daily Living Component). This is because it is not just the part of the decision they disagree with that is looked at again:the whole award can be considered and the claimant may actually lose out when the decision is looked at again at Mandatory Reconsideration or Appeal stage.

Motability

The Motability Scheme enables those who are awarded the High Rate of the Mobility Component of DLA or the Enhanced Mobility Component of PIP to exchange their award for the lease of a vehicle.

What help is available for those who lose out?

Motability introduced a package of transitional support to help those who lose their access to this scheme when they are assessed for PIP and not awarded the enhanced rate mobility component.

Depending on when their lease agreement started, and as long as they return their vehicle in good condition within a specific time frame,a one-off payment can be made. The idea is that this can help towards the cost of another vehicle.

The terms of this support package have been enhanced from 20th April 2017. The time frame for returning the vehicle has increased from within 3 weeks to within 8 weeks of the last DLA payment date. And a longer time frame of 26 weeks is now an alternative option - but with a lower one-off payment.

Those who joined the Motability Scheme before 1 January 2013 can either:
  • return the vehicle within 8 weeks of their DLA payments ending and get a one-off payment of £2000, or
  • keep their vehicle for up to 26 weeks of their last DLA payment and get a one-off payment of £500
Those who took out a lease during 2013 can opt to:
  • return the vehicle within 8 weeks of their DLA payments ending and get a one-off payment of £1000, or
  • keep their vehicle for up to 26 weeks of their last DLA payment and get a one-off payment of £250
Customers whose lease started in 2014 (or who rejoined the scheme during 2014 following a break of one year or more)
  • who return the vehicle within 8 weeks of their DLA payments ending can get a 'Return to Dealer' payment of £250

The idea of the 26 week option is to allow those who are challenging their decision to keep their car during the mandatory reconsideration / appeal process.So this could be the preferred option for someone who feels they have a strong chance of winning their appeal. If their appeal is heard within 26 weeks of the DLA payments ending and they win the appeal, then they have not had to deal with the inconvenience of being without their vehicle.

There are no guarantees, however, that the appeal hearing will take place within 26 weeks of the DLA payments stopping. It appears that the car will have to be returned at that point, even if the appeal date is pending.

Anyone who has any specific queries about their situation should contact Motability directly.

More information here and link to the Motability website here.

Benefit Rates Pocket Guides 2017/18
You should now have received your supply!
Please let us know if not!
info@housingsystems.co.uk


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 highlight one for you.

This month we would like to remind you about Standard Letter ND 1.


This letter is for HB claimants who have a non-dependant staying with them on a temporary basis only, to request that no deduction is applied.

Click here for more information and a link to letter ND 1, which is to request that no non-dependant deduction is applied as this is not the non-dependant's normal home.

Similar rules apply under Universal Credit - click here.



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 winners - Jayne & Teresa from Plus Dane Housing - a £50 cheque is making its way to the 
Food Bank at the New Life Church in Congleton.

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 23rd June for your chance to win.


This month’s question is:

Where a claimant's Child Tax Credit award has been reduced to a lower amount or nil, due to an overpayment of Child Tax Credit, what amount of Tax Credits should the HB Office include as 'welfare income' for the purposes of calculating the Benefit Cap?

1. The correct amount of CTC the claimant would have been receiving if there were no deductions for the overpayment.
2. The reduced amount of CTC being received (or nil if none in payment).
3. The average amount of CTC received in the current tax year.


Find your answer here


email your answer to: info@housingsystems.co.uk
Welfare Reform Timeline
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