Current test cases | CPAG

Current test cases

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.

Widowed Parent's Allowance where there has been a religious ceremony

This case concerned entitlement to Widowed Parent’s Allowance (WPA) where the appellant and her deceased partner had undergone a religious ceremony and considered themselves to be and held themselves out as being legally married. The First tier Tribunal found that the appellant had no entitlement to WPA, and CPAG supported the claimant in appealing to the Upper Tribunal. The case was heard in the UT before a three judge panel on 13/02/20. Judgment was handed down on 26/05/20, dismissing the appeal. The Court held that the grain of the legislation was that the benefit was only to be paid to a spouse or civil partner and to interpret it otherwise would be to cross the divide from the Court's interpretive function and into policy matters that should be reserved for Parliament. For the judgment and advice for unmarried WPA claimants, read full article.

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 despite the fact that she works 16 hours per week at national minimum wage simply because she is paid 4 weekly rather than monthly. The case was heard on 12 May 2020 and we are awaiting the judgment.

Universal Credit, disability and transitional protection

R (TD & Ors) v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2020] EWCA Civ 618
On 12 May 2020, the Court of Appeal handed down a judgment in favour of the appellants in this case. The appellants were originally in receipt of legacy benefits but had to claim universal credit (UC) when the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (SSWP) decided that they were no longer entitled to legacy benefits and terminated their awards.  Even though those decisions were ultimately overturned on revision, the appellants were stuck on UC and received less than they would have if they had remained on legacy benefits.  The Court found that there had been a difference in treatment of the appellants compared with legacy benefit claimants who had not had any wrongful decision terminating their legacy benefit awards and who would be moved to UC through managed migration and would benefit from transitional protection. This difference in treatment was found by the Court to be manifestly without reasonable foundation and so the Article 14 non-discrimination rights of the appellants (in conjunction with Article 1, Protocol 1) had been breached. The SSWP has been refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court by the Court of Appeal.  We wait to see whether she will renew her application for permission direct to the Supreme Court

SK & LL v SSWP

Refugees with pre-flight children claiming Maternity Grant for first child in UK
Upper Tribunal decides refugees who arrived in the UK with children, can claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant when having their first child in the UK (as the contrary position results in unlawful discrimination).

EU pre-settled status

lawfulness of exclusion from universal credit of EEA nationals whose only right to reside is "pre-settled status".
Fratila and Tanase v SSWP CO/3632/2019: CPAG brought judicial review proceedings on behalf of two EU nationals who were refused universal credit on the basis that their limited leave to remain in the UK under Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules (pre-settled status) was not a qualifying right of residence for the purposes of means-tested benefits. On 27 April 2020, the Court dismissed the claim. The Court of Appeal granted permission to appeal on 29 May 2020.

DWP offers and how Tribunals should deal with them

Tribunal making worse decision than DWP offered claimant / practice of "offers"
This case concerns the apparent DWP practice of making "offers" to claimants who have appealed a decision about their benefit entitlement where if the claimant states they would renew their appeal against a revised decision that gave them what was offered, the Deicsion Maker does not revise as offered but instead allows the case to proceed to the Tribunal. In particular it concerns the approach the First-tier Tribunal should take when faced with a case in which such an offer has been made and refused.

Bereavement Support Payments for Unmarried Parents

Jackson & Others v SSWP CO/975/2019: On 07 February 2020, the High Court handed down judgment in this case. It was held that the requirement under the Pensions Act 2014 to be married or in a civil partnership in order to claim bereavement support payment (BSP) was not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. On 14 February 2020, the SSWP made an application for permission to appeal against the decision, which was refused by Judge Holman on 2 March 2020. The application for permission to appeal was not renewed to the Court of Appeal. Please read the full article for the judgment and advice on the current position for unmarried claimants of BSP.

Maternity Allowance and Universal Credit

Moore and Others v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CO/4081/2019. On 18 October 2019, CPAG issued judicial review proceedings challenging the treatment of maternity allowance as unearned income in the calculation of universal credit awards. There will be a "rolled up" hearing of the case on 24th and 25th June, meaning that permission to apply for judicial review will first be considered and, if permission is granted, the substantive case will be considered at the same hearing.

Universal credit and lone parents under 25

Rogers and others v SSWP CO/3678/2019: On 17 September 2019, CPAG filed a judicial review claim challenging the lower standard allowance in universal credit for lone parents who are under 25. Permission to apply for judicial review was refused at an oral permission hearing on 11/12/19. CPAG has submitted a renewal application to the Court of Appeal.