Benefits administration

All Commons Briefing Papers
65 Documents
13.07.2016Sources of Statistics: Constituency Statistics
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on constituency level statistics.
13.07.2016Sources of Statistics 2016
This briefing paper brings together sources of statistics on subject areas covered by the Economic Policy & Statistics and Social & General Statistics sections of the House of Commons Library. In doing so it draws upon the knowledge of Library specialists, aiming to provide comprehensive topic-by-topic guides for use by anyone interested in the statistical series that underpin the United Kingdom.
08.07.2016Abolition of the ESA Work Related Activity Component
This House of Commons Library briefing paper provides an overview of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and details the changes to the Work Related Activity Component that will be introduced from April 2017. The paper also includes information on the mitigating support announced by the Government.
26.04.2016Carer's Allowance
This Commons Library briefing looks at Carer's Allowance - a non-contributory, non-means-tested benefit paid to people who care full-time for someone who is severely disabled. It covers the background to the benefit and issues frequently raised by people claiming it, including the level of the benefit, its interaction with other benefits including the Retirement Pension, and the difficulties recipients face when seeking to combine their caring duties with paid work or studying. Reforms to Carer's Allowance have been discussed, but there have been no significant changes to the benefit in recent years, and Carer's Allowance will remain a separate benefit under the Universal Credit system. Responsibility for Carer's Allowance and related disability benefits is to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, and all the major parties in Scotland are committed to increasing Carer's Allowance to at least the level of Jobseeker's Allowance.
25.04.2016Welfare reform and disabled people
The Library briefing provides an overview of the benefits changes introduced since 2010 affecting disabled people and their families, looks at the impact of the changes, and summarises responses from disability organisations and others.
24.03.2016Winter Fuel Payments update
The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free annual payment to help older people meet the cost of their winter fuel bills. The 'standard' rates are 200 per eligible household where the oldest person is under 80, and 300 for households containing a person aged 80 or over.
18.02.2016Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015-16: Lords amendments
The Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015-16 had its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 9 February, and the Commons is due to consider Lords amendments on 23 February.
12.02.2016Statistics on Migrants and Benefits
Data on migrants and benefits is incomplete and fragmented, not routinely available from a single source. This is because the nationality of benefit claimants is not routinely gathered by either DWP or HMRC when administering benefits or tax credits. This paper brings together the main available data sources - including DWP data on National Insurance Number registrations, departmental ad-hoc releases and responses to Freedom of Information requests - to analyse rates of benefit and tax credits receipt among migrants living in the UK.
01.02.2016Help with energy bills
This Commons Library Briefing paper sets out sources of financial and practical help for constituents with domestic energy bills. It links to sources for more information. It also outlines policy developments in this area.
27.11.20152016 Benefits Uprating
This note sets out the main benefit and tax credit rates for the 2016-17 financial year.
20.11.2015A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan and the Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Bill 2015-16 [Bill 99]
The Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Bill is part of a process to stabilise the political institutions in Northern Ireland. It stems from a package agreed between the UK and Irish Governments and the largest Northern Ireland parties: the Fresh Start agreement. This paper gives a guide to the Bill, and to the agreement.
13.11.2015Social security expenditure: Social Indicators summary
Summary data on benefit and tax credit expenditure in Great Britain.
16.07.2015Welfare Reform and Work Bill [Bill 51 of 2015-16]
This House of Commons Briefing Paper provides background to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill's provisions; summarises the key measures; and includes relevant comment. The Bill is scheduled to receive its Second Reading on 20 July 2015.
17.06.2015Measures to limit migrants' access to benefits
Following an article by the Prime Minister's in the Financial Times on 27 November 2013 in which he said he shared concerns about the impact of lifting transitional restrictions on the right of Romanian and Bulgarian right to work in the UK from 1 January 2014, the Government has introduced a raft of measures 'to tighten up our EEA migration rules to ensure our welfare system is not taken advantage of.'
17.06.2015What UK benefits can people from abroad claim?
This note gives a broad overview of the rules on access to benefits and tax credits for people coming to the UK from abroad. It describes the situation for asylum seekers, nationals from European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and non-EEA nationals.
16.06.2015Introduction of Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is replacing Disability Living Allowance for people of working age. Following its introduction for new claims in April 2013 there were problems with the claims process, with some claimants waiting six months or more for a decision. The previous Government said that, as a result of actions it was taking, by autumn 2014 no PIP claimant would have to wait more than six months for an assessment and by the end of 2014 no one would have to wait more than 16 weeks.
04.06.2015Scotland Bill 2015-16
The Commons Library's briefing note on the Scotland Bill 2015-16.
27.03.2015Independent Review of the Personal Independence Payment assessment
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 requires the Government to commission an independent review of how the Personal Independence Payment assessment is working. The first report of the Independent Review, led by Paul Gray, was published on 17 December 2014. It makes recommendations aimed at improving the claimant experience, the use of evidence, and the effectiveness of the assessment.
20.03.2015Further proposals to restrict migrants' access to benefits
In his keynote speech on immigration on 28 November 2014, the Prime Minister set out plans to secure agreement on changes to European law on free movement of persons in order to allow the UK to, among other things, deny EEA migrants in-work benefits for four years and prevent Child Benefit being paid for children living abroad. Proposals to further restrict EEA migrants' access to benefits have also been put forward by Labour and by the Liberal Democrats.
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics
This briefing paper brings together sources of statistics on 27 subject areas covered by the Economic Policy & Statistics and Social & General Statistics sections of the House of Commons Library. In doing so it draws upon the knowledge of Library specialists, aiming to provide comprehensive topic-by-topic guides for use by anyone interested in the statistical series that underpin the United Kingdom.
18.02.2015Further devolution of powers to Scotland: devolved benefits and additional discretionary payments
Examines the Smith Commission's proposals to devolve responsibility to the Scottish Parliament for certain key benefits, such as disability and carers' benefits. It also looks at the Draft Scotland Clauses in this area.
06.02.2015Further devolution of powers to Scotland: Universal Credit housing element and payment arrangements
This note explains the Smith Commission's proposals and the Draft Scotland Clauses in relation to Universal Credit (UC), including the housing costs element (currently Housing Benefit). As it stands, UC will remain a reserved benefit but the Scottish Parliament would be given the power to vary the housing costs element of UC, and powers to vary the manner and frequency of UC payments.
21.12.20142015 Benefit uprating
State pension, benefit and tax credit increases in April 2015 - what the rates are and how are they are calculated.
27.11.2014Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) Bill 2014-15
The Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) Bill is a Private Members' Bill presented by Christopher Chope. The Bill makes provision 'to restrict the entitlement of non-UK Citizens from the European Union and the European Economic Area to taxpayer-funded benefits.' The Bill provides that the restrictions on entitlement are 'notwithstanding the provisions of the European Communities Act 1972.'
13.11.2014Cold Weather Payments for winter 2014/2015
Cold Weather Payments are made from the Social Fund to certain recipients of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather. The amount is 25 a week for eligible benefit claimants.
07.08.2014Impact on the UK of Scottish independence: social security and tax credits
In the event Scotland becoming an independent country, the Scottish and Westminster governments would have to address two main issues with regard to welfare provision: how to deliver benefits and tax credits in the initial transitional period following independence; and how the two countries' systems should relate to each other in the longer term.
16.07.2014Self-employed people and contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Self-employed people are eligible for the same contributory benefits and pension as employed earners, with one exception. Self-employed people cannot claim contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA).
10.04.2014Food Banks and Food Poverty
The number of food banks in the UK has increased substantially in recent years. This note explains how food banks work, examines their growth and discusses possible contributing factors and policy developments.
01.04.2014Incapacity benefit reassessments
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) replaced incapacity benefits for new claims from October 2008. Between 2010 and 2014, around 1.5 million claimants of old-style incapaqcity benefits are being reassessed for ESA. To date, over 1.1 million incapacity benefit claimants have been reassessed, and around a fifth have been found 'Fit for Work.'
13.02.20142014 Benefit Uprating
State pension, benefits and tax credits increase in April 2014 - how are the new rates are calculated and which benefits are restricted to a 1% increase?
29.11.2013The housing element of Universal Credit
This note highlights some of the key differences between the current Housing Benefit system and the housing element of Universal Credit.
11.11.2013Winter Fuel Payments: people in residential care
People in residential care who receive Pension Credit do not qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment. Other care home residents receive half the full rate (100, or 150 for people aged 80 or over). This note describes the rules as they apply to people in care homes, and explains the rationale behind them.
11.11.2013Cold Weather Payments for winter 2013/2014
Cold Weather Payments are made from the Social Fund to certain recipients of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather.
01.11.2013Social Fund Funeral Payments
Payments from the Social Fund can be made to claimants of means-tested benefits and tax credits to help meet the costs of a funeral. Payments are made from the regulated Social Fund and, as such, are not limited by budgetary constraints. Over 35,000 payments were made in Great Britain in 2012-13, at a total cost of 43 million. The average award in 2012-13 was 1,225.
30.08.2013Bereavement benefits
Information on the current system of bereavement benefits (Bereavement Payment, Bereavement Allowance and Widowed Parent's Allowance) and on the Government's proposals for a new Bereavement Support Payment.
31.07.2013Universal Credit: proposals for a seven day 'waiting period' for claims
In Spending Round 2013 on 26 June, the Chancellor announced that new Universal Credit claimants subject to work-related conditionality who have not had a UC claim in the previous six months will have to wait seven days before becoming eligible for support. The measure is expected to be introduced from April 2015, and ultimately yield savings of around 260 million a year.
12.07.2013Short Term Benefit Advances and Budgeting Advances
From 1 April 2013, a new advance of benefit facility administered by DWP replaced Social Fund Budgeting Loans, interim payments of benefits and "alignment payments". This note gives details of the new system of Short Term Benefit Advances and Budgeting Advances.
24.06.2013Localising support for Council Tax - background
This note provides background to the introduction of Council Tax Reduction Schemes and the abolition of Council Tax Benefit.
22.03.2013Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill 2012-13
On 12 February 2013 the Court of Appeal ruled that regulations underpinning some of the Government's back to work schemes were unlawful and must be quashed. The Bill - which has retrospective effect - would remove the ability for individuals sanctioned for not participating in one of the schemes to challenge the sanction decision on the grounds that the regulations were invalid, or notices given to them were inadequate.
07.02.2013Draft Universal Credit Regulations 2013
Starting in selected 'Pathfinder' areas from April 2013, Universal Credit (UC) will begin to replace a range of means-tested benefits and tax credits for working age families. The Draft Universal Credit Regulations set out the detailed rules for the new benefit.
28.01.2013Draft Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age, starting from April 2013. Part 4 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 provides the framework for PIP, but the detailed rules for the new benefit - including the assessment criteria - are to be set out in regulations.
19.12.20122013 Benefit Uprating
State pension, benefits and tax credits increase in April 2013 - this note sets out how the new rates are calculated
30.11.2012The Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance
The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) was introduced in October 2008 to assess entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Between now and 2014, 1.5 million incapacity benefits claimants will also undergo the WCA. The WCA has however proved controversial and remains so, depsite changes to the test itself and how it is applied as a result of Government an independent reviews.
16.11.2012Localisation of the Social Fund
As a result of measures in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, certain elements of the discretionary Social Fund scheme will be replaced by new locally based provision delivered by local authorities in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.
13.11.2012Personal Independence Payment: an introduction
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is to replace Disability Living Allowance for people of working age, between April 2013 and March 2016. The changes will affect existing working age DLA claimants, as well as those making a new claim. For those existing DLA claimants found not to satisfy the conditions for PIP on reassessment, their DLA will stop.
09.11.2012Universal Credit: an introduction
Starting from next year, Universal Credit (UC) will begin to replace a range of means-tested benefits and tax credits for working age families. The intention is to simplify and streamline the benefits system for claimants, making it easier for people to understand; to reduce the financial and administrative barriers to work; to tackle in-work poverty; and to bear down on fraud and error.
27.04.2012ESA assessments and reassessments: Social Indicators article
A summary of the latest figures on outcomes of ESA Work Capability Assessments - published as part of the April 2012 edition of Social Indicators.
25.04.2012Time limiting of contributory Employment and Support Allowance from 30 April 2012
The 2010 Spending Review announced that contributory Employment and Support Allowance for claimants in the Work-Related Activity Group would be limited to 12 months. The time limit takes effect on 30 April 2012. For some claimants, benefit will stop immediately. All recipients of contributory ESA in the WRAG, including Incapacity Benefit claimants 'migrated' to ESA on reassessment, will be affected by the time limit. Savings of almost 1.5 billion a year are expected by 2015-16.
27.01.2012Welfare Reform Bill 2010-12: amendments at the Lords Committee and Report stages
The Welfare Reform Bill has its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 31 January 2012. At Report Stage in the Lords, the government suffered defeats on amendments relating to under-occupation of social housing, the Employment and Support Allowance, the proposed benefit cap, and child support maintenance
26.08.2011Welfare Reform Bill 2010-12: Commons Report Stage and Third Reading
The Commons Report Stage and Third Reading of the Welfare Reform Bill took place on 13 and 15 June. Amendments relating to the Universal Credit, housing support, the Social Fund and the Personal Independence Payment were debated, but other groups of amendments -including those on Employment and Support Allowance changes and the benefit cap - were not discussed as proceedings on each day reached the deadlines specified in the programme motion before they could be considered.
08.06.2011Welfare Reform Bill: Committee Stage Report
This is an account of the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Welfare Reform Bill. It complements Research Papers 11/23 and 11/24, prepared for the Commons Second Reading debate.
04.03.2011Welfare Reform Bill: reform of disability benefits, Housing Benefit, and other measures
This paper has been prepared for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. For information on the provision in the Bill relating to the introduction of Universal Credit, please see the complementary Library Research Paper, 11/24. Besides Universal Credit, the Bill proposes a number of other significant welfare reforms, including replacement of the current Disability Living Allowance, restriction of Housing Benefit entitlement to social housing tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need, time-limiting the payment of contributory Employment and Support Allowance to twelve months, and capping the total amount of benefit that can be claimed.
17.02.2011Welfare Reform and the Universal Credit
On 11 November 2010 the Government set out plans for a 'Universal Credit' to replace most in work and out of work benefits for people of working age. This note gives an overview of the main features of the Universal Credit and looks at some of the issues raised by the proposals.
14.02.2011Disability Living Allowance reform
The June 2010 Budget announced that a new "objective medical assessment" would be introduced for both new and existing working age DLA claims from 2013-14, saving over £1 billion a year by 2014-15 and reducing the DLA caseload by 20%. On 6 December the Government published a consultation paper, Disability Living Allowance reform, which sets out plans for an entirely new benefit - the "Personal Independence Payment" - to replace DLA, starting from 2013-14.
08.02.2011Recovery of benefit overpayments due to official error
In a recent test case brought by the Child Poverty Action Group, the Supreme Court ruled that the Department for Work and Pensions did not have the power to recover benefit overpayments caused by administrative error under common law. The Government has indicated that it intends to amend the law to enable it it recover a wider range of overpayments, including those caused by official error. Measures are expected in the forthcoming Welfare Reform Bill.
06.12.20072008 Benefit Uprating
Benefit and pension rates from April 2008
30.10.20062007 Benefit Uprating
Sets out social security and tax credit rates from April 2007, including underpinning factors
06.12.20052006 Benefit Uprating
17.03.20052005 Benefit Uprating
2005 Benefit Uprating. By Richard Cracknell. SN/SG/3275.
04.02.20042004 benefit uprating
2004 benefit uprating. By Richard Cracknell. SN/SG/2781.
31.03.20032003 Benefit Uprating
2003 Benefit Uprating. By Richard Cracknell. SN/SG/1969.
15.03.20022002 Benefit Uprating
Social Security Benefits Uprating 2002. By Richard Cracknell. SN/SG/1715.
10.11.20002001 benefit uprating
2001 benefit uprating. By Richard Cracknell. SN/SG/577.
07.12.19992000 benefit uprating
2000 benefit uprating. By Richard Cracknell. SN/SG/300.
26.01.19991999 benefit uprating
1999 benefit uprating. By Richard Cracknell. SN/SG/195.