Welfare Benefit Reform: From Housing Benefit to Universal Credit. Peter Meehan HB Adviser CIH Scotland/HSEU Edinburgh 20th March 2014 [email protected] Major HB Changes so far in 2013/14. Spare room subsidy restriction (bedroom tax) Benefit Cap (July/Sept 2013)
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Welfare Benefit Reform:From Housing Benefit to Universal Credit
20th March 2014
Make up shortfall from current income?
Take up paid employment?
Increase earnings to meet shortfall?
Downsize to smaller accommodation?
Apply for DHP?
Take in a Lodger?
Challenge decision to class a room as a bedroom?
Criteria for extra bedroom for disabled child in HB includes requirement that the child be ‘entitled’ to DLA care component at higher or middle rate.
Criteria for extra bedroom for disabled child in UC includes requirement that the child be ‘in receipt’ of the DLA care component at the higher or middle rate
For those out of work
For those already in work
Sanctions if failure to meet conditions
Jobseekers Agreement beginning to roll out now in advance of the full Claimant Commitment which will be a key condition for Universal Credit
Either meet conditions or JSA/UC standard element will be subject to sanction ( 4 week withdrawal of JSA for first period of non-compliance then 13 week withdrawal for second and subsequent periods)
Introduction of Community Work Placements
Sanction does not apply to HB or to housing element of Universal Credit
When someone makes a new claim for JSA or returns to JSA from the work programme they will attend an interview with a work coach.
At the interview they will agree a personal plan outlining what the claimant will do as part of their Claimant Commitment to give themselves the best chance of finding work.
This could include regular specific tasks and training opportunities.
The work coach will explain the penalties claimants could face for failing to meet their responsibilities to get into work
The plan will be reviewed regularly
Number of Sanctions in 2013 - 860,000
4.35% of JSA claimants per month
One third are for failure to actively seek employment
One third are for failure to participate in work programme or training
One fifth are for failure to attend advisory interview
Introduces a reconsideration stage before appeal can proceed to Tribunal Service
No time limit for reconsideration stage
Does not apply for HB ( which was scheduled to have been closed down for new claims from those of working age starting from October 2013)
Ministers considering introducing a charge for appeals
JSA (income based)
ESA (income related)
Child Tax Credit
Working Tax Credit
Standard Allowance element
Child Care Costs element
Capability for Work element
Housing cost element
For private tenants the ‘housing costs element’ in Universal Credit will carry forward existing Local Housing Allowance provisions.
For council tenants and tenants of Registered Social Landlords ( including Housing Associations) the actual rent less any ineligible service charges, non-dependant deductions, restrictions or sanctions
Universal Credit national roll out, originally scheduled to begin from October 2013, has been delayed.
A root and branch review of the whole Universal Credit development was carried out by new Director General, Howard Shiplee , against the background of a scathing report by National Audit Office.
HB for pensioners will remain in place for all claimants over 60 until at least financial year 2017/18 (delayed because the introduction of the Single Tier Pension brought forward to 2016).
Change in IT strategy
Development of a ‘Digital’ solution
Testing during 2014 and 2015
End State Solution complete and ready by end of 2015
No new claims for JSA by end of 2016
An overall cap on the Welfare Benefit Budget (excluding expenditure on State Pensions, JSA and JSA/HB) with an initial budget adjustment for 2015/16 followed by an annual increase limit of no more than 1%.
No Housing Benefit/UC housing cost element for under 25 year olds?????