Test Cases

  • Refusal to accept late mandatory reconsideration requests

    Last updated: August 4, 2017

    SG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Appeal CE/766/2016) and R (CJ) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (JR/3861/2016)

    These two linked cases concern the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) refusal to accept late mandatory reconsideration (‘MR’) requests, regardless of the claimant’s circumstances and reasons for lateness, thereby apparently leaving the claimant without a right of appeal to an independent tribunal.

  • Revised Benefit Cap

    Last updated: June 30, 2017

     R (DS and Others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

    On 9 March 2017 CPAG issued a claim for judicial review in the High Court against the Secretary of State for Work and Pension (SSWP) to challenge the legality of the benefit cap which was lowered further in November 2016. CPAG is acting on behalf of two single mothers who are affected by the cap due to their caring responsibilities. One of the claimants has children with significant health needs while the other has previously fled domestic violence.

  • Advice post High Court decision on Benefit Cap and lone parents with children under two

    Last updated: June 29, 2017

    On 22 June 2017, the High Court ruled that the benefit cap as it applied to lone parents with children under 2 was unlawful.

  • Right to reside for the self-employed

    Last updated: June 22, 2017

     MH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions C3/2015/2886

  • Child tax credit and disability element

    Last updated: June 16, 2017

    Following a data match with DWP, HMRC discovered that 28 000 families, subsequently revised to 33 000, had not been receiving the disability element of child tax credit. While this might have been going on since 2011, HMRC was only prepared to back date the child element to the April 2016.

    CPAG is challenging the refusal to backdate payments further on the basis that the underpayments were caused by official error. The case is currently at the First tier tribunal. A hearing date has not been set.

  • Two child limit challenge

    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    CPAG is preparing to challenge the two child limit, introduced by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. On 6 April 2017, new rules came into force limiting the child element of child tax credit (CTC) and universal credit (UC) awards to two children. In CTC, this limit only applies to a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017; in UC the limit applies from 6 April 2017 (irrespective of when the child was born) though transitional protection applies to third or subsequent children born before 6 April 2017. There are a limited number of exceptions to this 2 child limit meaning that it does not apply to a third or subsequent child in the following circumstances: multiple births, adoption from local authority care, kinship care and children likely to have been conceived as a result of rape or a coercive or controlling relationship.

  • Bedroom tax where a room is too small to share

    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council v Hockley & SSWP CH/1987/2016.

    This case concerns the removal of the spare room subsidy, widely referred to as the ‘bedroom tax’, in cases where a bedroom is too small for two children to share. The bedroom tax came into force on 1 April 2013 and made amendments to the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 placing restrictions on the amount of housing benefit that can be claimed by tenants in the social sector. Where the number of bedrooms in the household exceeds the number of bedrooms the claimant is entitled to in accordance with the regulations, the housing benefit is reduced by 14% for one ‘spare’ bedroom or 25% for two or more ‘spare’ bedrooms. Regulation B13(5) prescribes who is entitled to a bedroom in a household. It prescribes that two children, regardless of their sex, who are less than 10 years old and two children, regardless of their age, of the same sex are able to share a bedroom.

  • Past presence test and aggregation rules

    Last updated: May 23, 2017

     Kavanagh v Secretary of State and Pensions CDLA/373/2016

    This appeal concerns the application of the ‘past presence’ test that requires disability benefit claimants to be resident in Great Britain for 104 weeks out of the 156 weeks prior to the claim. However, for claimants to whom an EU regulation applies, the past presence test is disapplied if they can establish a genuine and sufficient link to the UK social security system. Alternatively, they can seek to satisfy the 2 year rule by aggregating qualifying periods spent in another EU country under Article 6 of EU Regulation 883/2004. EU Regulation 883/2004 coordinates social security systems in the EU and Article 6 provides that certain periods of time spent in one member state can be aggregated when considering presence tests in another.

  • Tax credits and appeal rights

    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    Sheikh v HMRC CTC/3228/2015 and Saleh v HMRC CTC/1938/2016

    Saleh and Sheikh are appeals in the Upper Tribunal concerning the relationship between s16 and s18 of the Tax Credits Act 2002 and what the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (FtT) are where a s16 decision, which is the subject of an appeal to it, has subsequently been replaced by an end of year s18 decision on a tax credits award. HMRC can amend or terminate an initial award for tax credits under s16 if there is evidence that the amount awarded is incorrect or if there is no entitlement. A s16 decision must be made within the respective tax year. A s18 decision is the final decision on a tax credits award and is conclusive as to a person’s entitlement for the relevant tax year. In practice, HMRC do not make a s18 decision while a s16 decision is under appeal.