Benefits news

The rules about claiming benefits and tax credits do change on a regular basis during the year. We have highlighted below some of the more significant changes and helpful information, affecting what you can claim and have included links for you to obtain further details.

Pensioner Benefits Take up Campaign – Lancaster District

Older people aged 75 and over in the Lancaster district area are being encouraged to take part in the benefit take-up campaign organised by Lancashire County Council's Welfare Rights Service in partnership with Lancaster City Council.

So far 217 free benefits checks have been completed, resulting in a total annual cash gain of £364,380. An additional £75,351 has also been received from back pay.

However, many pensioners in the Lancaster and Morecambe district may still be worrying about paying their bills and seeing their savings reduce as their income is not enough to cover these expenses.

Advisers from the Pensioner Take Up Team, who are working with pensioners to maximise their income, will be attending Lancaster Sainsburys (Cable Street) on Wednesday 10 April 2024 from 10am to 3pm, and they are urging anyone who hasn't had a benefit check to pop in.

The campaign has been rolled out in Ribble Valley, Preston, Lancaster, Burnley and Wyre, with the other Lancashire districts to follow across the next 18 months.

Anyone aged 75 or over in the Ribble Valley, Preston, Lancaster, Burnley and Wyre districts who would like a free and confidential benefit check can phone the Welfare Rights Pensioners Advice Line on 01772 533321 or email

Managed Migration

15 March 2024

Managed Migration is the process from moving from 'legacy benefits' onto Universal Credit.  The government has increased the Managed Migration process for claimants who are still on 'legacy benefits' with the aim to move a further 500,000 households over to Universal Credit by the end of 2024/25.

Legacy benefits include Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Employment & Support Allowance and Housing Benefit.

Households will be invited to claim Universal Credit and will receive 'Migration Notice' which is a letter requiring you, and your partner if you have one, to claim Universal Credit by a specific date.  In some circumstances it may be possible to delay the Universal Credit claim, but generally, if you don't claim by the date notified in the Migration Notice then your benefits will end. 

The rules for Universal Credit can be very different to legacy benefits and so it is important to seek advice to ensure you receive the correct Universal Credit award when you receive the Migration Notice.    

For example, Universal Credit can sometimes be paid at a lower rate than legacy benefits so the DWP should award a 'Transitional Element' when you migrate to make sure households are not financially worse off when claiming. This can also include a short-term disregard on any savings or capital that you have which would normally affect Universal Credit.  It is important to consider that in some circumstances, households can be financially better off when they migrate to Universal Credit.

Worryingly, one if five households have not migrated to Universal Credit when they have receive a Migration Notice and there is no clear understanding why. Many households could be missing out on financial support, so it is important to get advice on the process.

For more information, please read our previous updates on Managed Migration here and here and information from the DWP can be found here.

Spring Budget 2024

7 March 2024

The Spring Budget was announced on 6 March 2024 by the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt. The Statement confirmed the increases in benefit first announced in the Autumn Budget and included additional changes which could help people on benefits, or receiving a low income:

  • A reduction in National Insurance Contributions from 10% to 8% from April 2024
  • An extension to the Household Support Fund until September 2024
  • Universal Credit advance payment loans to be recovered over 24 months rather than 12 months
  • Changes to the High Income Child Benefit Charge which is raised to £60,000
  • Additional funding for processing disability benefit claims

The Chancellor's full statement can be found here.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

5 February 2024

In addition to the Cost of Living Payment, which should be automatically awarded to eligible customers from 6 February 2024, the DWP are urging people on a low income to apply for additional help under the Warm Home Discount Scheme.

People on low incomes could benefit from a £150 rebate on their energy bills. The help is available to over 3 million households across Great Britain that are most at risk of fuel poverty. The £150 is paid direct to the energy supplier.

Many people will receive the discount automatically but some customers have been asked to confirm their details by calling the Warm Home Discount Helpline. If you haven't received a letter but think you're eligible you must contact the Warm Home Discount Scheme before 29 February 2024 when the scheme closes.

For more information see the press release on GOV.UK - People on low incomes urged to check if they can get £150 energy bill discount

Cohabiting parents and bereavement benefits

23 January 2024

You have until 8 February 2024 to put in a retrospective claim for bereavement benefits and get the full amount you are entitled to.

From February 2023, cohabiting parents and carers have been able to claim the same bereavement benefits to help bring up their grieving children as if they had been married or in a civil partnership. The government has extended the eligibility criteria for Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance, helping thousands more grieving parents to access this support.

The benefits are designed to help parents with the financial impact of losing a partner. Previously it was only available to eligible bereaved parents who were married or in a civil partnership. The law was amended because the original eligibility criteria were found to be unlawful on 30 August 2018 and the change will ensure more children in bereaved families are equally supported, regardless of their parent’s legal relationship status. 

The Government will also make retrospective payments back to that point to those who had missed out because they were not married or in a civil partnership but you only have until 8 February 2024 to put in a retrospective claim and get the full amount you are entitled to. After that date you will not be able to claim any retrospective payments of Widowed Parent's Allowance.

For more information see the DWP Press Release on GOV.UK.

Cost of Living Payment

18 December 2023

The DWP will make the third Cost of Living payment of £299 to eligible customers between Tuesday 6 February and Thursday 22 February 2024. Customers will receive the payments automatically. They do not need to contact DWP or do anything to receive the payment.

The full list of benefit recipients that qualify for the upcoming Cost of Living payment are those who receive:

  • Universal Credit
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Pension Credit

To be eligible for the payment, customers need to have been entitled to a payment for one of these benefits between 13 November and 12 December 2023 ('the qualifying period'), or a payment for an assessment period ending between these dates, or later found to be entitled to a payment.

If a household becomes retrospectively entitled to a Cost of Living payment or believe they are entitled but do not receive one, they can report this on GOV.UK from the 23 February 2024.

Autumn Statement 2023

The Autumn Budget statement by the Chancellor includes the following benefit-related items:

  • Benefits will increase by 6.7% and pensions by 8.5% from April 2024
  • Local Housing Allowance will be uprated next April to reflect current rental prices.
  • Stricter sanctions if claimants are deemed able to work but fail to seek employment Universal Credit. Universal Credit claims will be closed if payments are reduced through sanctions for more than 6 months. This means claimants will also lose access to related benefits such as free prescriptions and legal aid.
  • The 'Restart' scheme will be extended for people who have not found a job after 6 months of claiming Universal Credit (currently 9 months)
  • The national minimum wage will rise by 9.8% from next year
  • Work Capability Assessment to be reformed to reflect availability of home working after Covid pandemic
  • Introducing new Government powers to request data from organisations such as banks when accounts are showing signals of fraud and error.

Full budget document and supporting information on GOV.UK

Pension Credit deadline: Claim Pension Credit by 10 December and score extra £300

If you are pension age and on a low income, you may qualify for Pension Credit.

Those who apply before the deadline of 10 December 2023 could qualify for an extra £300 Cost of Living boost thanks to Pension Credit backdating rules. Please note that if you are a couple, both of you need to be pension age to claim Pension Credit.

You can find more information on the Countdown to Pension Credit deadline day press release on GOV.UK.

Tax Credits are ending

27 October 2023

If you're getting tax credits, you may get a Managed Migration notice from the DWP asking you to claim Universal Credit.

There are certain things that can affect how much you Universal Credit you will receive. We've put together some guidance for anyone affected by the change from Tax Credits to Universal Credit, and what to look out for as Tax credits are ending.

Employment boost for thousands of parents on Universal Credit

26 October 2023

The DWP have confirmed that parents on Universal Credit with children aged 3-12 will now be expected to work up to 30 hours a week.

Further information on GOV.UK - Employment boost for thousands of parents on Universal Credit

Bereaved parents reminded to check eligibility for financial support

11 August 2023

Bereaved parents who lost their partner between 9 April 2001 and 8 February 2023 may be eligible for backdated government payments.

In February the Government extended eligibility for Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance to cohabiting parents with dependent children - benefits designed to help with the financial impact of losing a partner.

Previously these benefits were only available to eligible bereaved parents who were married or in a civil partnership, but the law was changed to make it fairer to children.

When DWP extended eligibility in February, it opened a 12-month window for cohabiting parents to backdate their claims. This means parents whose partner died before 9 February 2023 have until 8 February 2024 to claim. After this, it will not be possible to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance and parents will not get their full entitlement to a backdated payment of Bereavement Support Payment.

Press release on

Universal Credit - Managed migration coming soon to Lancashire

26 July 2023

The DWP has recently confirmed plans for the roll out of universal credit managed migration to include Lancashire from September 2023.

The DWP also said that it will begin to bring working age claimants on DWP benefits and housing benefit (apart from those on employment and support allowance (ESA) and ESA and housing benefit only) into its discovery phase from September 2023, with approximately 2,000 migration notices to be sent out to both single and couple claimants receiving different benefit combinations in areas to be confirmed.

In addition, the DWP confirmed that in September 2023 it will be sending letters to all working age tax credit claimants who will be subject to managed migration advising them about the move to universal credit.

Further information on

Universal credit claimants responsible for young children now required to have more frequent meetings with their work coach

24 July 2023

From now the DWP has confirmed that:

  • parents with a one-year-old will start to have a work-focused meeting with their work coach every three months instead of every six months; and
  • parents with a two-year-old will start meeting with their work coach every month instead of every three months.

Further information on

Deadline for voluntary National Insurance contributions extended further to April 2025

12 June 2023

The government has confirmed that it is again extending the deadline for people to make voluntary national insurance contributions to increase the amount of new state pension from the previous cut off date of 31 July 2023 to 5 April 2025

Anyone with gaps in their National Insurance record from April 2006 onwards now has more time to decide whether to fill the gaps to boost their new State Pension. The original deadline was 30 April 2023, later increased to 31 July 2023 and now further extended to 5 April 2025. Beyond the eventual deadline, people will only be able to pay voluntary contributions for the past 6 years.

Further information on

Increased help with childcare costs through Universal Credit

31 May 2023

The DWP has confirmed that the maximum childcare payments in universal credit will be increased from 28 June 2023.

The maximum child care costs element for one child will increase to £950.92 pcm (currently £646.35).

The maximum child care costs element for two or more children will increase to £1630.15 (currently £1108.04).

This is the first increase since 2006, and means as claimants are eligible to claim back up to 85% of their child care costs in a UC award, they will be entitled to a lot more help if their child care costs currently significantly exceed the maximum help available. It may also mean that people who previously did not qualify for UC as their income was still too high despite the potential help with child care costs, may qualify for some help when the new rates take effect, so it may be worth them trying to claim again after the 28th June.

Also, for anyone returning to work or increasing their hours and therefore increasing their child care costs, the help they can receive from the 'Flexible Support Fund' that their work coach can access, will be disregarded as income for the first assessment period following the new or increased child care costs, which means the extra UC they receive for the child care costs in the assessment period can go towards the next month's child care.

More information on

Disability Cost of Living Payment schedule

19 May 2023

More than six million disabled people in the UK will receive their one-off £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment from 20 June. Those being paid a disability benefit that qualifies them for the payment will receive it automatically during a two-week window starting on 20 June and finishing on 4 July.

Benefit recipients that qualify for the Disability Cost of Living payment are those who receive:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Scottish Disability Benefits (Adult Disability Payment and Child Disability Payment)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • War Pension Mobility Supplement

Recipients must have received a payment (or later receive a payment) of one of these qualifying benefits for 1 April 2023 to get the Disability Cost of Living payment.

More information on 

Child Benefit online claims

16 May 2023

Parents can now claim child benefit online via GOV.UK, and most should then receive payment in days rather than weeks. The new service means the majority of parents can claim child benefit, or add an additional child, at a time that suits them online now by logging in through their Government Gateway account, and in the HMRC app in the coming weeks.

Benefit support for people fleeing Sudan

15 May 2023

The government has issued emergency legislation to enable immediate benefit support for those fleeing Sudan. From the above date those arriving from Sudan, including UK nationals and those with a valid UK immigration status, will be exempt from residency tests to ensure they can access benefits, social housing, and homelessness assistance on arrival in the UK.

This means that such people will be exempt from:

  • the habitual residence test for universal credit, pension credit, housing benefit, jobseeker's allowance and employment and support allowance
  • the past presence test for personal independence payment, disability living allowance, carer's allowance and attendance allowance
  • the requirement to have been living in the UK for at least three months before becoming entitled to child benefit, providing that they were residing in Sudan immediately before 15 April 2023

Press release on

New online service launched for parents and carers to prove they are entitled to child benefit

12 April 2023

The DWP advise that, while previously obtaining proof of entitlement has involved the need to call or write to HMRC, the evidence can now be downloaded 'within minutes'. Parents or carers can access the information either through the HMRC app (which can be downloaded) or online via

Terminal illness rule extended to 12 months for more benefits

3 April 2023

From this date, the definition of "terminally ill" has now been extended to more benefits. Last year it was increased from 6 to 12 months for ESA and Universal Credit. Now the 12 months will also apply to Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment.

Press release on

Support for mortgage interest (SMI) loans available sooner and for more people

3 April 2023

SMI is a loan for those on certain means-tested benefits to get help with mortgage payments. The waiting time for this loan has now been reduced from 9 to 3 months for Universal Credit claimants and they can now get SMI loans even if they have earnings from work.

Further information on

Expansion of the Universal Credit managed migration programme

28 March 2023

DWP Minister Guy Opperman has confirmed that the universal credit managed migration programme will be expanded to tax credits only claimants across the whole of Great Britain in 2023/2024. He also confirmed that all claimants on tax credits, income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit will be required to move to universal credit in 2024/2025.

Written Parliamentary statement

Universal Credit Help to Claim Service to continue for a fifth year

21 March 2023

This service, funded by the DWP and provided via Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, will now continue until at least April 2024. However, the DWP has confirmed that the service will still only be provided either online or by telephone and that those unable to access support via these channels should contact their local jobcentre instead.

Press release on

Changes announced in the Government's Health and Disability White Paper

16 March 2023

Along with the Spring Budget, the Government published a White Paper, outlining a series of planned reforms to sickness and disability benefits, which includes:

  • Abolishing the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) so that in future there is only one health and disability assessment – the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) assessment.
  • Replacing the current Universal Credit Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity (LCWRA) element with a new Universal Credit health element, which will be available to people who get any rate of PIP.

The new UC health element will be set at the same level as the current LCWRA element.

People currently receiving the UC LCWRA element who move to the new system, but who do not receive PIP, will receive transitional cash protection so they do not experience financial loss at the point of transfer.

The Government has not yet decided on the timescale for when these proposed reforms will come into effect.

Transforming Support: The Health and Disability White Paper on

Budget 2023

15 March 2023

Today's Budget statement by the Chancellor included the following benefit-related items:

  • changes to incapacity and disability benefits set out in a new 'Transforming Support' Health and Disability White Paper, including the abolition of the work capability assessment and eligibility for the 'health top-up' in universal credit being passported via Personal Independence Payment.
  • increasing the Administrative Earnings Threshold from 15 to 18 hours at the national living wage for an individual universal credit claimant, and removing the threshold for couples, resulting in a greater number of people - including those in work and on lower earnings, and non-working or low-earning partners on universal credit - being required to take advantage of work coach support to help them take active steps to move into work or increase their earnings.
  • strengthening the way the sanctions regime is applied, by automating parts of the process to improve efficiency and reduce error and ensuring that work coaches have the tools and training to implement sanctions as effectively as possible, including for claimants who do not look for or take up employment.
  • providing parents on universal credit who are moving into work or increasing their hours with support with childcare costs upfront rather than in arrears and increasing the universal credit childcare cost maximum amounts to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children.
  • extension of the £2,500 surplus earnings level within universal credit until March 2024.
  • increasing the transitional severe disability premium element rates in universal credit for 2023/2024 by the September 2022 Consumer Prices Index and annually thereafter.
  • extending the Help to Save scheme by 18 months until April 2025.
  • increasing the amount of free childcare that working families in England can access by funding 30 free hours per week for parents with children between 9 months and 3 years with the extra help being rolled out between April 2024 and September 2025.

Full budget document and supporting publications

Bereavement benefits now available for more people

9 February 2023

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that claims for bereavement benefits can be made by a surviving cohabiting partner where there are dependent children from today.

Following judgments of the High Court and Supreme Court, they also advise of a 12-month application window for anyone who would have met the eligibility criteria on or after 30 August 2018. Previously widows' and bereavement benefits were restricted to surviving partners of a marriage or civil partnership only.

Claim bereavement support payment online via, by phone through the DWP Bereavement Service (0800 151 2012), or via a paper claim; and

Claim widowed parent's allowance by phone through the DWP Bereavement Service number, or via a paper claim.

For further details, please see the written statement from

The Government has confirmed that arrears of these benefits, paid because of this Remedial Order to the legislation, will be treated as capital and ignored for means-tested benefits for a period of 12 months.

Timetable for issuing Cost of Living payments during 2023/2024

3 January 2023

The Government has announced further details of the next round of Cost of Living payments for people on low incomes, disabled people and pensioners.

Low income households will receive £900 paid in three instalments across the year, while the £150 disability payment will be made in the summer and the £300 pensioner payment in the winter.

The DWP has confirmed that the schedule for payments will be –

  • first cost of living payment of £301 issued during spring 2023
  • £150 disability payment issued during summer 2023
  • second cost of living payment of £300 issued during autumn 2023
  • £300 pensioner payment issued during winter 2023/2024
  • third cost of living payment of £299 issued during spring 2024

The exact payment windows will be announced closer to the time.

Benefits Uprating 2023

25 November 2022

Most benefits, pensions and the benefit cap will be increased by 10.1% from the annual uprating in April 2023.

Full list of new benefit rates from April 2023 on

Rates and allowances of Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance from April 2023 on

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – delay in managed move to Universal Credit (UC)

The managed migration of ESA claimants to Universal Credit has been delayed until April 2028, except for those receiving Child Tax Credit.

Household Support Fund extension

There will be a further one-year extension of the Household Support Fund from April 2023, which local councils can use to provide additional help for people in need.

PIP extension exercise for claims awaiting review (updated)

11 November 2022

The DWP has confirmed that from now on, they will be increasing the automatic extension period for existing PIP awards awaiting review from 3 months to up to 12 months. This is to enable them to prioritise new claims, whilst ensuring that existing claims awaiting review do not go out of payment. This automatic extension should be done 35 days before the claim end date. From 31 October, a letter should be sent automatically to claimants confirming continuing entitlement for up to 12 months. Until then, they will continue to update claimants by text message that their award reviews have been extended. If the DWP still does not complete the review by the extended award date, they may extend the end date again and will write to claimants to tell them about this.

Update from the DWP: "The automatic issuing of extension notification letters will now commence from early to mid-December rather than from 31 October. Anyone needing a statement before this can contact the helpline 0800 1214 433 and we will issue a certification of entitlement for proof of their PIP award. Otherwise, claimants do not need to contact us unless their circumstances change."

Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill receives Royal Assent

26 October 2022

New legislation will extend the life expectancy timeframe for people with a terminal illness from 6 to 12 months in respect of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA). Currently fast-tracked access to these benefits is available for people who have 6 months or less to live - the new legislation amends the Special Rules in respect of each benefit so that they apply to people who have 12 months or less to live.

Although the new Act does not specify a date for introducing the changes, the DWP hopes that the measures can be put in place and operational by April 2023.

Please note - the Special Rules extension to 12 months is already in place for Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

For more information, see The ‘Special Rules’: how the benefit system supports people nearing the end of life from

Further fit note changes

1 July 2022

From today, fit notes to confirm incapacity or fitness for work, which employees need to provide after 7 days off work for Statutory Sick Pay or benefit purposes, can now be certified and issued by nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists in addition to doctors.

Further information on

Cost of living support payments

9 June 2022

Last month the Government announced various measures to help with the cost of living crisis including:

Some households will receive more than one type of the above payments.

For further information, including details of when these payments will be paid, see the Cost of Living support factsheet: 26 May 2022 on

Managed move of claimants to Universal Credit set to restart

26 April 2022

The DWP has announced that from 9 May it is resuming its project to migrate more claimants from their legacy benefits (income support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related employment & support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit) onto Universal Credit. This will start with around 500 claimants from across the country initially, with more claimants migrated in subsequent months and the process aims to be completed by 2024.

Although some claimants will be better off on Universal Credit, a lot could potentially be worse off, particularly if they choose to migrate to Universal Credit, before the DWP directs them to do so, as they could lose valuable transitional protection. It is therefore vital for claimants to get independent and individual advice if considering such a move.

For further information, please see the Government’s press release about Universal Credit migration 

Fit note changes

6 April 2022

GP fit notes - (previously known as sick notes or medical certificates) which are used to notify your employer about sickness and to support claims for Statutory Sick Pay, Employment & Support Allowance or Universal Credit on the grounds of limited capacity for work - are changing.

GPs can now authorise fit notes digitally without the need to print and sign them. This means instead of a handwritten signature in ink, fit notes will have the doctor’s name included in the form, which can either be printed or sent digitally to patients. There will be a period during which both the new and previous version of the fit notes are legally valid.

Further information and guidance about fit notes on on

Spring Statement 2022

23 March 2022

Among other measures, the Chancellor announced that from July 2022, the Class 1 national insurance primary threshold for employees will rise from £9,880 to £12,570 to align with the income tax personal allowance. This means that liability to pay national insurance contributions will not begin until earnings reach £12,570 per annum.

He also announced an extra £500 million for the discretionary Household Support Fund to 'support the most vulnerable families with their essentials'.

For further information, please see the news story on

Benefits support for people arriving from Ukraine

21 March 2022

The DWP announced people fleeing the war in Ukraine and arriving in the UK can claim benefits immediately. People who were residing in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022 and who left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022, will not be subject to the habitual residence test or the past presence test, which apply to some benefits.

The benefits affected include Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Personal Independence Payment, child Disability Living Allowance, Carer's Allowance and Attendance Allowance.

For further information, please see the DWP’s Understanding Universal Credit website.

Amendment to terminal illness rules for ESA and Universal Credit

11 March 2022

New regulations apply from 4 April 2022, extending the definition of terminal illness for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit, so that a person whose death is reasonably expected within 12 months, as opposed to 6 months currently, can claim under the Special Rules. 

Claims made under the Special Rules are not subject to a face-to-face assessment or waiting periods and in the majority of cases receive the highest rate of benefits.

The government says that the 12-month approach will be extended to Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance "as soon as Parliamentary time allows".

For further information, please see the press release on

Universal Credit Help to Claim service will continue for another year

27 January 2022

For customers struggling to make a claim for Universal Credit via the online claims system or by phone, the Government has confirmed that they will continue to be able to get support from the Citizens Advice Help to Claim Service, which will be funded to provide help via telephone or online until at least March 2023. People can access the Help to Claim support from the Citizens Advice website and through the free phone service by calling 0800 144 8444 in England.

For more information, please see the press release: Funding boost to citizens advice to deliver help to claim universal credit support on

Help for claimants with online appeals

13 October 2021

HM Courts and Tribunals Service has announced that a new digital service is to launch next year to provide support for people who find it difficult to access online services, including social security appeals. The support is planned to be delivered face to face through community and advice centres, such as Citizens Advice and law centres. It will also be available over the phone or via online software. Work should begin this month, with the service being designed and tested over the first six months before 'ramping up' to a full national service being in place by spring 2022.

Further information on

Universal Credit reduced

6 October 2021

From this date, the Universal Credit £20 per week temporary "uplift", which was introduced during the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end. Monthly payments to all Universal Credit claimants will now be reduced by £86.67.

Appeals for all benefits now online

30 September 2021

It is now possible to submit an appeal for all DWP benefits online. Until recently, online appeals were only available to claimants of Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. Appeals can still be made on a paper form SSCS1.

For further details please see appeal a benefit decision on

Universal Credit – system change for monthly paid employees

31 August 2021

Following a Court of Appeal ruling last year and the introduction of amending regulations in November 2020, allowing monthly earnings to be reallocated to a different universal credit assessment period where necessary to maintain a regular payment cycle, the DWP has recently confirmed that it has now automated the process for identifying claimants who receive two monthly wage payments in one universal credit assessment period.

Claimants wishing to take advantage of the new legislation previously had to tell their work coach about the double payment of wages. The new process means that the universal credit system now should automatically identify such claimants, enabling the DWP to move the second payment forward to the next assessment period in the system, ensuring the claimant’s payments don’t fluctuate from month to month.

For information, please see the latest DWP Touchbase update

Universal Credit carer element

13 August 2021

If you are a carer and claiming Universal Credit, you could be eligible to have the additional 'carer element', worth £163.73 per month, added onto your claim. Make sure you don’t miss out - if you think you're eligible, report this to the DWP. 

For more about universal credit, see Universal Credit on

Extra statutory payments for benefit claimants who missed the EU Settlement Scheme deadline

9 July 2021

The DWP has confirmed that extra statutory payments are to be available during a Grace Period for benefit claimants who failed to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by the 30 June deadline.

In a letter to local authorities, the DWP advises that:

"The Home Office EUSS Grace Period ended on 30 June 2021…The extra statutory payment allows benefit payment to continue for existing claimants for a short period of time, after the end of the Grace Period, whilst DWP does some final signposting."

The letter explains that the Home Office will now write to all EEA and Swiss nationals who have still not applied for their EUSS status and prompt them to urgently contact the Home Office and apply or risk their benefit payments being stopped.

The DWP will then carry out its final signposting exercise in September 2021 by writing to outstanding cases, advising that their benefit will be disallowed where no EUSS application is made. Benefits can then be suspended a month later if no application is received, but can be re-instated if the claimant makes an application within a further month. Extra statutory payments can then continue until a final immigration decision is made, including the outcome of an EUSS appeal.

For further information, see the DWP's letter to local authorities (PDF).

Increased help with housing costs for some younger people in privately rented accommodation

31 May 2021

The age at which some younger people can claim the higher one-bedroom rate of housing support (rather than the lower shared accommodation rate) through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit is being extended.

From the above date the one-bedroom rate can also be claimed by:

  • A person who was a care leaver before the age of 18, but is now aged between 18 and 25 (previously 22)


  • A person aged between 16 (previously 25) and 35, who has at any time, lived in a hostel for the homeless for a total of 3 months and, whilst there, were offered and accepted support services to aid their resettlement and rehabilitation

These are in addition to the existing categories of people who are exempt from the shared accommodation rate.

Further information on GOV.UK about changes to housing benefits

Medical assessments by telephone or video

25 March 2021

New regulations are now in force which enable medical examinations and consultations to be conducted between a claimant and an assessor approved by the DWP either in person, by telephone or by video as part of the process for determining entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

Further information on GOV.UK about attending your face-to-face assessment.

Removal of the SDP Gateway

27 January 2021

From this date, benefit claimants who currently receive the severe disability premium (SDP) as part of their entitlement to income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Housing Benefit are no longer prevented from making a claim for Universal Credit instead of the above benefits.

More information about the severe disability premium from

Former SDP recipients who change to Universal Credit will be automatically considered by the DWP for an additional Universal Credit SDP transitional element.

More information about Universal Credit transitional protection from

PIP Change of Circumstances Form

11 January 2021

The DWP's Personal Independence Payment change of circumstances form PIP2(UI) (How your disability affects you) is being by replaced with a new form called the AR1UI (How your disability affects you).

The new form aligns the change of circumstances process with the award review process, to provide a consistent approach when customers report changes in their needs. The aim is to reduce the time it takes for customers to complete the form, so the new form is shorter, requiring them to provide less information. In the meantime, customers should continue to return any outstanding PIP2(UI) forms as directed in their letter.

More information on PIP change of circumstances from

Universal Credit – Treatment of monthly earnings

30 October 2020

The DWP has amended the Universal Credit regulations for those who are paid monthly by their employer, and occasionally receive two payments from their employer in one month – please see our earlier news item from August 2020 for further information. The new regulations, which come into force from 16 November 2020, enable the DWP to reallocate a second monthly payment from a customer’s employer into a different assessment period. This means that if, for example, people are paid early by their employer due to their regular monthly pay date falling on a weekend or bank holiday, they won’t have two wages allocated to one assessment period.

Two week benefit run on for new Universal Credit claimants

22 July 2020

If you make a new claim for Universal Credit, you can get a two week "run on" of your existing legacy benefits. This applies if you are switching from income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Income Support.

This can help while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment to come through, is paid automatically and unlike Universal Credit advances, does not have to be paid back. There is already a two week run on of Housing Benefit, however there is no two week run on for Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit payments.

More information (Understanding Universal Credit)

Housing Benefit or housing costs on Universal Credit - extra support

If you receive either Housing Benefit or housing costs on Universal Credit and you're currently struggling to pay your rent or looking to move house and need a rent in advance deposit, you may qualify for a (non-repayable) Discretionary Housing Payment from your local authority to help with short term difficulty:

More information - Find out if you’re eligible

Do you claim Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit?

You may be eligible for Help to Save and get an extra 50p for every £1 saved over 4 years.

Help to Save is a safe and secure way to get government support to start saving.

More information - Find out if you’re eligible