Benefit Bulletin August 2021

Benefit Bulletin August 2021

Benefit Bulletin: Big benefit changes and news

Produced by the Active Inclusion Service, Newcastle City Council 

In this August 2021 issue:

Newcastle City Council webpages on coronavirus (COVID-19) and benefits

Where to get advice in Newcastle - updated again

Coronavirus and benefit support changes

  • Support for employees coming to an end
  • Support for the self employed coming to an end
  • Universal Credit extra to end
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Benefit changes

 

Newcastle City Council webpages on coronavirus (COVID-19) and benefits

We continue to update these three website pages – with more details below:

Coronavirus and benefits – what the changes mean for you describes the main measures, explains what they mean for you and provides more detail including any potential issues

Coronavirus and benefits – news includes the latest announcements and changes, so you can see them as they happen rather than being hidden in the detail

Coronavirus and benefits – guidance and legislation provides background resources, with guidance from the government and independent sources and the legislation that has brought in some of the measures

Where to get advice in Newcastle - updated again

Like other services, most of Newcastle’s advice services changed from face-to-face to mainly phone advice with some exceptions.  

The latest details are in our August version of Where to get advice in Newcastle, which can be found on the Newcastle City Council website page: Benefit advice services in Newcastle and benefit offices.

Professionals can get phone advice from the Council’s Welfare Rights’ consultancy line.

Coronavirus and benefit support changes

Furlough scheme coming to an end

The furlough scheme was extended to the end of September 2021 with some changes. For example, employers are being asked to contribute 10% in July and 20% in August and September as the scheme is gradually phased out. See this Government guidance on the extension.

Other support for people into work such as Kickstart can be found on the Council webpages webpages Coronavirus and benefits – what the changes mean for you  and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Support for the self-employed coming to an end

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme was extended with a fifth grant. Find out if you’re eligible for the fifth grant, which covers the period from May 2021 to September 2021.

The Universal Creditminimum income floor’ reintroduced

For the first 12 months of self-employment, the Universal Credit calculation takes actual income into account. After 12 months a rule called ‘minimum income floor’ (MIF) is usually applied, where you are assumed to be earning at least the national minimum wage for the number of hours you are expected to work for, usually 35 hours a week. For some this means they are assumed to be earning more than they actually are and therefore get less Universal Credit. This rule was suspended from March 2020 but will be gradually phased in from August with jobcentre Work Coaches having the discretion not to apply it if the earnings of the resident claiming Universal Credit continue to be affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). This is a link to the legislation making this change and the Explanatory Memorandum which explains it.

Universal Credit uplift to end, or...

The Universal Credit extra £20 per week continues until the end of September 2021. Specifically, Regulation 2021/313 said it will ‘apply in (Universal Credit) assessment periods that end before 6 October 2021’.  The DWP are informing people on their online Universal Credit journals. Meanwhile many organisations are campaigning to keep the £20 in payment such as Child Poverty Action Group, Save the Children and The Trussell Trust.

Other coronavirus (Covid-19) support measures end dates

The rule that treats residents claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who are affected by * coronavirus (COVID-19) as sick without having to provide medical evidence or undergo a work capability assessment is to end 12 November 2021.

This 'treated as' rule does not apply to Universal Credit. It ended on 30 March 2021 by virtue of regulation 10(3) of the Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020. No. 371).

The rule that temporarily disapplied the seven waiting days for residents claiming ESA who are affected by * coronavirus (COVID-19) ends 12 November 2021.

The rule that allows some people affected by * coronavirus (COVID-19) to continue to get Jobseeker’s Allowance ended 31 August 2021.

* ‘affected by’ means where a resident, or child they are caring for, has coronavirus (COVID-19) or is self-isolating because of symptoms

Prisoners

The rule that allows individuals on temporary release from prison to access means- tested benefits during the period of that release are extended to 31 August 2021.

Carers

The rule that allows Carer’s Allowance to continue during a temporary break in entitlement 'as a result of isolation due to, or infection or contamination with, coronavirus disease of either the carer or the person cared for' was extended to 31 August 2021.

For more information, see the Social Security (Coronavirus) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2021. No. 476.

Health and disability assessments for benefits

Face-to-face assessments have resumed - with safety measures in place - as well as some assessments continuing by telephone and video. See the websites of the service that carries out assessments for most benefits such as Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance and for PIP assessments.

Facts and figures

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is replacing six ‘legacy benefits’ of working age such as Housing Benefit and Tax Credits. In July 2021 there were 35,952 people on Universal Credit in Newcastle. An increase of 458% since April 2017.  The roll out of Universal Credit households is 68% complete across the city. It is 61% for Great Britain. See chart below. Statistics are from the DWP and Parliament.

UC roll out chart

The benefit cap

Latest DWP figures reported that in Newcastle, benefits of 805 households had been capped. 39 had a benefit cut of between £150 and £250 a week. See our page on the benefit cap and the reasons why it might not apply.

 

 

 

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