Benefits administration

All Standard Notes
45 Documents
DateDescription
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).
15.05.2014People from abroad: what benefits can they 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.
15.05.2014Measures 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.'
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.
07.04.2014Introduction of Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is replacing Disability Living Allowance for people of working age. Since it was first introduced for new claims in April 2013 there have been problems with the claims process, with some claimants waiting six months or more for a decision. In February 2014 the National Audit Office said that 'poor early operational performance' had led to 'long uncertain delays' for PIP claimants.
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?
27.12.2013Social security benefits and expenditure: Social Indicators page
A summary of expenditure on benefits and tax credits.
10.12.2013Help with energy bills
This note points towards sources of financial and practical help for constituents with domestic energy bills. It links to sources for more information. It also outlines policy developments and political commitments in this area.
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.
01.11.2013Winter 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.
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.
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.
25.01.2010The cold weather
The period of cold weather between 15th December 2009 and 13th January 2010
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.
All Research Papers
2 Documents
DateDescription
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.