Universal credit | CPAG

Universal credit

Mind the gaps - briefing 11

06 August 2020
Today, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published the most recent set of statistics on the number of households affected by the benefit cap. The number of households affected by the benefit cap (up to May 2020) has almost doubled when compared to the previous quarter – 154,000 households are now affected by the benefit cap compared to 79,000 in February 2020.

Universal credit, earned income and monthly pay

R (Johnson, Woods, Barrett & Stewart) v SSWP [2019] EWHC23 (Admin); SSWP v Johnson, Woods, Barrett & Stewart [2020] EWCA Civ788
This case successfully challenged the rigidity of the monthly assessment period regime under universal credit (UC) and the way that earned income is calculated for certain claimants. The case concerned four single working mothers whose regular monthly pay dates for their wages fell close to the start/end of their assessment periods, resulting in them sometimes having two paydays in one assessment period. This issue caused them to experience fluctuations of their income and significant cash losses.

Covid-capped

06 August 2020
Number of households hit by benefit cap doubles since Covid-19 - many families hit by wage drops and loss of benefits.

Mind the gaps - briefing 10

24 July 2020
This is the tenth in a series of regular briefings, Mind the Gaps, which highlight some of the gaps in support that exist for children and families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Evidence of these gaps is drawn from our Early Warning System (EWS) which collects case studies from frontline practitioners working directly with families on the problems they are seeing with the social security system.

Impact of COVID 19 of families

21 July 2020
This report concentrates on the impact of COVID 19 on families living in Scotland and highlights that many families are struggling financially due to inadequate support from the social security system and/or being unable to work while schools and childcare providers are closed.

Benefit-capped working mother wins test case against DWP's irrational universal credit rules for assessing earnings

20 July 2020
A working single mother on universal credit (UC) has today won a test case against the DWP's approach to calculating earnings in UC which left her benefit-capped – and up to £5,000 worse off per year – purely because her employer paid her four-weekly rather than monthly.

Universal credit, benefit cap and those paid 4 weekly

Pantellerisco and others v SSWP CO/3572/2019
On 12 September 2019, CPAG issued judicial review proceedings on behalf of a single parent and her children challenging the application of the benefit cap to the mother’s universal credit award. The cap is applied to the mother despite the fact that she works 16 hours per week at national living wage, simply because she is paid 4 weekly rather than monthly. Permission to apply for judicial review was granted on 5 December 2019 and the case was heard on 12 May 2020. Judgment was given on 20 July 2020 with the court finding in the claimants' favour.

The two-child limit now affects almost one million children – and it is being implemented when poverty is rising for larger families

16 July 2020
This week, the UK Government published its annual statistics on the number of households affected by the two-child limit policy, which restricts support through tax credits and universal credit to the first two children in a family. Its reach is growing steadily over time. The new figures show that 911,000 children now live in affected households. The majority (59 per cent) of those households contain three children.

Covid realities: monitoring from the front line

14 July 2020
If you believe last week’s newspaper headlines, many Britons have been waking up with hangovers after their first night out in months. Summer breaks on the beach are back. There is even talk of fans returning to Wembley for the FA Cup final. Britain it seems is inching back to a more familiar way of life. Certainly for the many Britons living on a low income, some familiar pressures are back.