Housing Benefit Welfare Reforms presentation to Housing LIN

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 Housing Benefit & Welfare Reforms presentation to Housing LIN by Graham Cooper Associate

Housing Benefit & Welfare Reforms presentation to Housing LIN by Graham Cooper Associate Director Greenwoods Solicitors LLP 5 May 2011

Timetable § § Introduction Re-cap on Housing Benefit Proposed Reforms Key Issues

Timetable § § Introduction Re-cap on Housing Benefit Proposed Reforms Key Issues

Re-cap on Housing Benefit § During 2009 -10 the Tribunals Service received nearly 800,

Re-cap on Housing Benefit § During 2009 -10 the Tribunals Service received nearly 800, 000 appeals and claims, over 25% more than in 2008 -09 § Appeals dealt with by Judge sitting alone § Housing Benefit Helps 4. 5 million households (DWP) § Guards against homelessness, supports mixed communities, provides income for social sector landlords (DWP) – expensive but effective and very complex

Housing Benefit – a reminder § § Income-related Paid irrespective of the claimant’s work

Housing Benefit – a reminder § § Income-related Paid irrespective of the claimant’s work status Administered by local authorities Paid for (largely) by local government

Housing Benefit – where do I find the law? Entitlement, Claims, Payment and Overpayments

Housing Benefit – where do I find the law? Entitlement, Claims, Payment and Overpayments (from 6 March 2006) § Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 § Social Security Administration Act 1992 § Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 § Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006 § Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006

Re-cap – Conditions of Entitlement § Liability: “A person is entitled to housing benefit

Re-cap – Conditions of Entitlement § Liability: “A person is entitled to housing benefit if… he is liable to make payments in respect of a dwelling in Great Britain which he occupies as his home” s. 130(1)(a) SSCBA 1992 § Means-test

Re-cap – Liability 3 -Stage approach 1. Is the claimant legally liable under ordinary

Re-cap – Liability 3 -Stage approach 1. Is the claimant legally liable under ordinary law? 2. If not, does regulation 8 treat him as liable? 3. If yes (to either), does regulation 9 treat him as not liable?

Re-cap – Reforms thus far § ‘Building Choice and Responsibility: A Radical Agenda for

Re-cap – Reforms thus far § ‘Building Choice and Responsibility: A Radical Agenda for Housing Benefit’ October 2002: 1. Benefit to be paid directly to the claimant rather than the landlord 2. A flat rate local housing allowance (LHA) to be paid for similar sized properties determined for each area and based on average rents – to be paid regardless of the actual rent level. Those with rent levels above the LHA would need to ‘shop around for cheaper homes’. Those with rents below the LHA would get to keep the difference

Re-cap – Reforms thus far § Cave proposed in his Review of the Regulation

Re-cap – Reforms thus far § Cave proposed in his Review of the Regulation of Social Housing (June ‘ 07) that the DWP extend LHA in order to stimulate real choice for tenants § LHA – 2008 § Consolidation of Rules 2006 § Supporting People into work: the next stage of Housing Benefit Reform – December 2009 – support and incentives

Local Housing Allowance – Recent Changes Came into force 7 April 2008 1 st

Local Housing Allowance – Recent Changes Came into force 7 April 2008 1 st structural change since 1988 Welfare Reform Act 2007 Claimants receive an LHA based on the § area in which they live § number of occupiers in their property § Up to a maximum of the five bedroom LHA rate for all new claims made on or after 6 April 2009 § Entitlement subject to a means-test and proof of a valid tenancy § The payment normally to the tenant (NB: Exceptions – 8 wks, rent direct) § §

Steps to Tackle Benefit Fraud – Recent Changes § Credit Reference Agency (CRA) data-matching

Steps to Tackle Benefit Fraud – Recent Changes § Credit Reference Agency (CRA) data-matching pilot § Bury, West Oxfordshire, Blackpool, Chester, Warrington, Derwentside, Rotherham, Leeds and Basildon § During the pilot 2, 021 cases were actioned which resulted in 80 sanctions and prosecutions

Child Benefit – Recent Changes § From November 09, Child Benefit no longer deducted

Child Benefit – Recent Changes § From November 09, Child Benefit no longer deducted from HB and CTB payments

Proposed Reforms – Labour § Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the

Proposed Reforms – Labour § Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future. December 2009 – White Paper § Principal objective – Housing Benefit system should complement wider welfare programme by supporting people to move into work. Should also support aspirations for a decent home in a mixed community, and it should be affordable and represent value for money § No implementation – withdrawal of the £ 15 excess in April 2010 (delay for year)

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? : § transition into work

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? : § transition into work payments – fixing Housing Benefit entitlement for 3 months at the rate in payment immediately before the start work. Changes in circumstance, including changes in the amount of wages received, may be ignored during the period of the award regardless § fixed period awards for 6 months

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? (cont): § fix the earnings

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? (cont): § fix the earnings element only of the Housing Benefit calculation for a fixed period § changes within a certain band to be ignored as Transition into Work Payments (above) § reform to the way Local Housing Allowance rates – to remove the most expensive properties which are distorting the system

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? (cont): § Housing Benefit conditional

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? (cont): § Housing Benefit conditional on housing meeting certain defined standards in terms of quality, energy efficiency and carbon footprint § merge Housing Benefit with other incomerelated benefits § create a form of housing tax credit § maintain a reformed Housing Benefit as a separate extra-costs benefit

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? (cont): § flat-rate approach to

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? (cont): § flat-rate approach to benefit rates § fewer direct payments to landlords § greater integration of the services provided by local authorities and central government agencies, building on the In and Out of Work project § align the reporting period for changes in circumstances more closely with other provision

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? (cont): § align the rates

Proposed Reforms – Labour § What were the proposals? (cont): § align the rates at which benefit is withdrawn when customers are in work so that they accord with Tax Credits § income and capital taken into account in the same way across benefits and tax credits

Proposed Reforms – New Coalition Government § 28 June, George Osborne – Housing Benefit

Proposed Reforms – New Coalition Government § 28 June, George Osborne – Housing Benefit will be cut and the savings used to cushion the impact of proposed spending cuts in other government departments § Speaking in Toronto, at the G 20 summit, he said: ‘We have got to look at all these things, make sure we do it in a way that protects those with genuine needs, those with disabilities, protects those who can’t work but also encourages those who can work into work. '

 Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § End all existing welfare to

Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § End all existing welfare to work programmes; § Single welfare to work programme to help all unemployed people get back into work – in place nationally by the summer of 2011; § Cutting of four welfare to work projects; § JSA claimants with most significant barriers to work referred to the new welfare to work programme immediately, not after 12 months; § JSA claimants aged under 25 will be referred to welfare to work after a maximum of six months;

 Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Reforming the contracts with welfare

Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Reforming the contracts with welfare to work service providers to reflect more closely the results they achieve in getting people back into work; § Reform of the funding mechanism to finance welfare to work programmes to reflect the fact that “initial investment delivers later savings through lower benefit expenditure”; § Ensuring that receipt of benefits for those able to work is conditional on their “willingness to work”;

 Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Re-assessing all current claimants of

Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Re-assessing all current claimants of incapacity benefit and moving those assessed as “fully capable for work” onto JSA; § Supporting would-be entrepreneurs through a new programme – “work for yourself” – which will give the unemployed access to business mentors and start-up loans; § Drawing on a range of service academies to offer pre-employment training and work placements for unemployed people;

 Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Developing local work clubs where

Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Developing local work clubs where unemployed people can “gather to exchange skills, find opportunities, make contacts and provide mutual support”; § Exploring how to simplify the benefit system in order to improve incentives to work; § Maintaining the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020; § Reforming the administration of tax credits to reduce fraud and overpayments;

 Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Bringing forward plans to reduce

Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Bringing forward plans to reduce the couple penalty in the tax credit system funded by savings from the welfare reform plans; § Restoring the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011, with a “triple guarantee” that pensions are raised by the higher of earnings, prices or 2. 5%;

 Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Phasing out the default retirement

Proposed Reforms – Coalition Proposals re benefits § Phasing out the default retirement age and holding a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although this will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women; § Protecting benefits for older people such as the winter fuel allowance, free TV licences, free bus travel, and free eye tests and prescriptions.

21 st Century Welfare § DWP consultation. Key areas: § Simplicity – Tax Credits

21 st Century Welfare § DWP consultation. Key areas: § Simplicity – Tax Credits awarded by HM Revenue & Customs are taken into account as income by the Local Authority in assessing – Daft § Affordability – Budget – up-rating of Housing Benefit

21 st Century Welfare § DWP consultation. Key areas (cont): § Rewarding work and

21 st Century Welfare § DWP consultation. Key areas (cont): § Rewarding work and personal responsibility – more fundamental structural approach. By integrating and reforming the current income-related benefits and Tax Credits systems aim to ensure that: § households and families see the gains from increasing the amount of paid work they do because they would keep more of their earnings;

21 st Century Welfare § DWP consultation. Key areas (cont): § a fair balance

21 st Century Welfare § DWP consultation. Key areas (cont): § a fair balance is struck between support and conditionality, making clear that culture of dependency not accepted, nor will anyone be written off; and § positive behaviours, such as saving for retirement or buying your own home, are rewarded rather than penalised.

21 st Century Welfare § Reduce worklessness – encourage applicants to do some paid

21 st Century Welfare § Reduce worklessness – encourage applicants to do some paid work, and then to remain in work and increase their earnings

Budget Announcement § Social housing – ability to claim full rent for a home

Budget Announcement § Social housing – ability to claim full rent for a home bigger than their needs will be ended § Private rented – caps to benefit payable will be introduced – £ 400 for a four bedroom property and £ 250 for two bedrooms § Housing Benefit will also be linked to employment for people receiving job seekers allowance, with housing benefit cut to 90% after 12 months of looking for work - dropped

Budget Announcement § From October 2010, the standard interest rate used to calculate support

Budget Announcement § From October 2010, the standard interest rate used to calculate support for mortgage interest payments will be set at a level equal to the Bank of England’s published monthly Average Mortgage Rate; § From October 2011 (Now April 2011 for new claimants), LHA rates will be set at the £ 30 th percentile of local rents; § Deductions for non-dependants will be up-rated in April 2011 on the basis of prices. This will reverse the freeze in these rates since 2001 -02;

Budget Announcement § From 2013 -14, LHA rates will be up-rated in line with

Budget Announcement § From 2013 -14, LHA rates will be up-rated in line with CPI; § From April 2011 (9 months from review for existing claimants – latest = Jan 2012), LHA rates will be capped at £ 250 per week for a one bedroom property, £ 290 per week for a two bedroom property, £ 340 per week for a three bedroom property and £ 400 per week for four bedrooms or more; § From April 2013, housing entitlements for working age people in the social rented sector will reflect family size;

Budget Announcement § From April 2013, Housing Benefit awards will be reduced to 90%

Budget Announcement § From April 2013, Housing Benefit awards will be reduced to 90% of the initial award after 12 months for claimants receiving JSA; - dropped § From April 2011, HB claimants with a disability and non-resident carer will be entitled to funding for an extra bedroom; § The Government contribution to Discretionary Housing Payments will be increased by £ 10 million in 2011 -12 and £ 40 million in each year from 2012 -13.

Queen’s Speech § The main benefits of the Bill would be: § making the

Queen’s Speech § The main benefits of the Bill would be: § making the benefits system less complex § improving work incentives § getting the five million plus people languishing on benefits into work and out of poverty § reducing the scope for fraud and error

Queen’s Speech § The main elements of the Bill are: § removing the confusing

Queen’s Speech § The main elements of the Bill are: § removing the confusing complexity of the benefits system, which too often leaves people afraid to make any change to their circumstances and can be a barrier to moving from benefits to work § making people see a gain when entering work through simplifying the benefits system

Queen’s Speech § The main elements of the Bill are (cont): § reducing the

Queen’s Speech § The main elements of the Bill are (cont): § reducing the scope for fraud and error by making the benefits system simpler. § reducing unnecessary administration of benefits. Currently people can have overlapping entitlements or switch between different benefits – around 200, 000 people a year cycle between Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Incapacity Benefit (IB/Employment and Support Allowance (ESA))

Work & Pensions Select Committee § The Work and Pensions Committee has held an

Work & Pensions Select Committee § The Work and Pensions Committee has held an inquiry into those changes. Written evidence was invited from interested organisations. The focus of the inquiry was the implications of the announced changes for: § incentives to work and access to low paid work § levels of rent, including regional variations § shortfalls in rent

Work & Pensions Select Committee § levels of evictions and the impact on homelessness

Work & Pensions Select Committee § levels of evictions and the impact on homelessness services § landlord confidence § community cohesion § disabled people, carers and specialist housing § older people, large families and overcrowding § Written evidence in connection with the inquiry should have been sent to the Committee before 6 September 2010

Social Security Advisory Committee § Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has been asked by

Social Security Advisory Committee § Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has been asked by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to consider proposals for the Housing Benefit (Amendment) Regulations 2010, and the associated amendments to the Rent Officers (Housing Benefit Functions Order) 2010 § Responses were due by 10/09/2010 § Separate from Work & Pensions Committee enquiry

CSR The key measures outlined in the Spending Review in relation to welfare benefits

CSR The key measures outlined in the Spending Review in relation to welfare benefits and tax credits are: § Universal credit – over the next two Parliaments the current system of meanstested working-age benefits and tax credits will gradually be replaced with the universal credit; § Time limiting ESA – entitlement to contributory employment and support allowance for those in the work related activity group will be limited to one year;

CSR (cont) § Household benefit cap – from 2013, household ‘welfare payments’ (excluding one-off

CSR (cont) § Household benefit cap – from 2013, household ‘welfare payments’ (excluding one-off payments) will be capped on the basis of median earnings after tax for working households, estimated to be approximately £ 500 per week by 2013, for all households except those in receipt of DLA, working tax credit or war widow's pension;

CSR (cont) Child benefit – child benefit to be withdrawn from families with a

CSR (cont) Child benefit – child benefit to be withdrawn from families with a higher rate taxpayer from January 2013; § Working tax credit freeze – from April 2011, the basic and 30 hour elements of the working tax credit will be frozen for three years; § Working tax credit hours rule – from April 2012, couples with children must work 24 hours between them, with at least one working 16 hours, for entitlement to working tax credit, rather than at least one working 16 hours as now; §

CSR (cont) § will Childcare element of working tax credit – from April 2011,

CSR (cont) § will Childcare element of working tax credit – from April 2011, the proportion of costs covered by the childcare element of working tax credit be reduced from 80 per cent to 70 per cent of costs;

CSR (cont) § Child element of child tax credit - the child element of

CSR (cont) § Child element of child tax credit - the child element of child tax credit will be increased by £ 30 above indexation in 2011/2012, and by a further £ 50 above indexation in 2012/2013; § Tax credits assessments – real time PAYE information will be used to inform tax credits calculations, reducing the emphasis on the claimant to notify HMRC of income changes; § Housing benefit shared room rate – the shared room rate in local housing allowance, that currently applies to single people aged under 25, will be extended to all single claimants under 35;

CSR (cont) § Council tax benefit – spending on council tax benefit will be

CSR (cont) § Council tax benefit – spending on council tax benefit will be reduced by 10% from 2013/2014, and localised to local authorities and devolved to Wales and Scotland, with councils given flexibility to tailor the scheme to meet local priorities and to manage spending within lower limits, whilst protecting the most vulnerable;

CSR (cont) § DLA for those in residential care – from 2012/2013, payment of

CSR (cont) § DLA for those in residential care – from 2012/2013, payment of the mobility component of disability living allowance to claimants in residential care, other than those who are fully self-funding, will end; § Support for mortgage interest – the temporary measures introduced to reduce the waiting period for new working age claimants to 13 weeks and increase the limit on eligible mortgage capital to £ 200, 000, that had been due to expire in January 2010, will be extended by a further year;

CSR (cont) § Savings credit – the maximum savings credit award in pension credit

CSR (cont) § Savings credit – the maximum savings credit award in pension credit will be frozen for 4 years from 2011/2012; § State pension age – the equalisation of state pension age at 65 will be brought forward to November 2018, and both the male and female pension age will increase to 66 by April 2020; § Cold weather payments – the increase in the cold weather payment to £ 25 will be made permanent; and § National insurance cards – the DWP will stop issuing national insurance cards to customers and send letters instead.

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § White Paper – November 2010 § Replace Welfare

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § White Paper – November 2010 § Replace Welfare system with Universal Credit § Removes complexity of out-of-work benefits and in-work Tax Credits & HB § Integrated working-age credit that will provide a basic allowance with additional elements for children, disability, housing and caring § Will replace WTC, CTC, HB, IS, IBJSA, IBESA § HB will disappear by October 2017

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § Universal Credit to be administered by DWP –

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § Universal Credit to be administered by DWP – remove admin function of Local Authority § Welfare Reform Bill 2011 § Universal Credit roll out start 2013 and complete by 2017 § Removal of various tapers – Single taper – 65% § Housing costs added similar to HB and targeted to lowest third of market rents § For social sector, will be based on the actual Housing Association and Local Authority rents, including the new ‘affordable rent’ tenure, ie between social rent and market rent (whatever that means – 80% of market? )

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § Other than recent proposed changes to HB, no

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § Other than recent proposed changes to HB, no other changes are planned in the short to medium term § No firm commitment to direct payments § Gov favours payment to tenants, but recognises business efficacy of direct payment to social landlords – some ongoing use of direct payments, use of direct debits, and a ‘protection mechanism’

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § CJSA, CESA, DLA (as amended), CB, SSP, SMP,

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § CJSA, CESA, DLA (as amended), CB, SSP, SMP, MA, IIDB, bereavement benefits remain separate § In effect unifies Income Related benefits and tax credits and similar in operation to IS § Personalised conditionality for HB, but no sanctions – may be requirements, eg if receiving equivalent of JSA, including a joint claim where youngest child has reached 5, may have to be actively searching for work

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § Contributory benefits – time limited § Local authorities

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § Contributory benefits – time limited § Local authorities to delivery Community Care Grants and Crisis loans under devolved administration from DWP § Allowance to encourage pension contributions by those in receipt of Universal Credit

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § Extends carrot and stick of conditionality and sanctions

Universal Credit: Welfare that works § Extends carrot and stick of conditionality and sanctions § 4 conditionality levels: § Full conditionality – Work seekers § Work preparation – With disability to take reasonable steps to prepare for work § Keeping in touch with the labour market – Lone parents or lead carer in a couple with a child over one but below five § No conditionality – Carers and those unable to work

SSAC Report on Regs § November 2010 § The Committee’s report recommends that the

SSAC Report on Regs § November 2010 § The Committee’s report recommends that the Government should not go ahead with the package of amendments proposed § Concerns about the scale and impact of the changes § Contradictory to suggest that Housing Benefit reform is needed to ensure the housing choices of benefit recipients are geared to a similar level that people in work are likely to achieve, as Housing Benefit is also available to people in work § No evidence to suggest that the housing choices made by Housing Benefit customers are excessive

SSAC Report on Regs § LHA arrangements are not unduly favourable compared to low

SSAC Report on Regs § LHA arrangements are not unduly favourable compared to low income working households § little evidence to that landlords will reduce their rents to reflect the resources available to people who are reliant on Housing Benefit § Customers will be unable to access private rented sector accommodation in a number of areas § 4% increase in discretionary payments – insufficient to allow local authorities to provide adequate support, even for vulnerable customers, too meet their rent or find suitable accommodation

SSAC Report on Regs § Housing Benefit measures represent a high risk approach to

SSAC Report on Regs § Housing Benefit measures represent a high risk approach to managing the cost of Local Housing Allowance cases § Combined impact of the 4 bedroom restriction and the overall caps in the Local Housing Allowance would leave larger families in very serious difficulty. § set arbitrarily and in no way reflect the real cost of housing § 30 th percentile - mean more tenants are chasing fewer § affordable properties and that this could push rents upwards

SSAC 23 rd Report § 1 st December 2010 § Much to commend in

SSAC 23 rd Report § 1 st December 2010 § Much to commend in Gov thinking § “concerned that some of the changes…that are intended to make rapid savings to the social security budget may work against the grain of the proposed reforms and roll back some of the gains we have seen in recent years in terms of lower rates of child and pensioner poverty” § Recommend that system should not lose sight of what it does well – “It has enabled those on low incomes to access and pay for decent housing. ”

SSAC 23 rd Report § LHA Changes – “In our view this is a

SSAC 23 rd Report § LHA Changes – “In our view this is a high risk policy that may have far-reaching adverse consequences, affecting not only the ability of people on low incomes to find decent affordable housing, but the workings of local labour markets and public service. ” § “We are also concerned that the changes to the current systems that follow from the Government’s drive to reduce expenditure may have the effect of making the system more complex in the short term and distract from the over-arching aims of simplifying the system and making work pay. ”

Welfare Reform Bill § Introduced 17/02/2011 § Gives effect to White Paper – Universal

Welfare Reform Bill § Introduced 17/02/2011 § Gives effect to White Paper – Universal Credit: welfare that works § Introduction of Universal Credit § Contributory JSA and ESA remain separate § Replace DLA with Personal Independence Payment § Abolition of Discretionary Social Fund § Gives little detail but provides for Secondary Legislation (Lack of Scrutiny) (Criticised by NHF, but this is how benefits are usually done) § No mention re direct payments

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 1 – Creates Universal Credit which may include housing

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 1 – Creates Universal Credit which may include housing costs § Clause 11 – Housing Costs – Basic provision is as before, but detailed rules to be implemented by Regulations made pursuant to Clause 11(4) – Mortgage interest payments § Clause 26 & 27 – Sanctions for up to 3 years

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 35 – Over pensionable age to receiving a housing

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 35 – Over pensionable age to receiving a housing credit element to state pension credit to add to or alternative to the guarantee credit and the savings credit § Clause 68 - Allows housing benefit rates to be fixed without regard to private or public sector rents and without regard to the actual rent payable or LHA determinations by rent officers (May allow him to bring more in line with market rents) – May fix by CPI

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 68 – Introduces a size criteria for working age

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 68 – Introduces a size criteria for working age claimants in the social rented sector – rent will be restricted if dwelling is larger than they need (How do you get them out? ) – Percentage reduction to be fixed – What happens if kids grow up and move out? § Clause 68 – Only short to medium term commitment to base benefit on actual social housing rents, including ‘ affordable rent’ regime

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 83 – PIP not paid in care home if

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 83 – PIP not paid in care home if publicly or locally funded § Clause 93 – Applies cap (by reference to average earnings of working households in GB)

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 99 – May restrict right of appeal until after

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 99 – May restrict right of appeal until after conclusion of revision (cost saving as most go straight to appeal) – Delay? § Clause 102 – All overpayments of Universal Credit recoverable save in prescribed circ (fundamental change for most benefits) § Clause 102 – Recoverable from 3 rd party by deduction from their benefits or from other people’s benefits paid to them (won’t put the claimant into arrears) § Clause 102 – Overpayments recoverable through court system plus costs of enforcement

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 104 – No limitation period for recovery of overpayments

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 104 – No limitation period for recovery of overpayments (currently ambiguous as Sec 9 of the Limitation Act 1980 imposes 6 years to recover a sum recoverable by virtue of an enactment § Clause 106 – Sec of State can issue certificate to allow criminal proceeding more than 12 months after the offence

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 107 – Single Fraud Investigation Service to take over

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 107 – Single Fraud Investigation Service to take over prosecutions from Local Authority § Clause 122 – Information sharing in relation to overnight care § Clause 123 – Information sharing in relation to welfare services

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 132 – Inserts a new section 2 A into

Welfare Reform Bill § Clause 132 – Inserts a new section 2 A into the Employment and Training Act 1973, removing the obligation for the Secretary of State, via Jobcentre Plus, to advertise certain types of vacancies or opportunities in the sex industry

When are these changes happening? § The Government has confirmed that none of its

When are these changes happening? § The Government has confirmed that none of its proposed changes to Housing Benefit will take effect until April 2011 § Speaking in a debate on housing benefit in Westminster Hall, the Minister of State for Pensions, Steve Webb, told MPs:

When are these changes happening? ‘Nothing happens this autumn; nothing will change until next

When are these changes happening? ‘Nothing happens this autumn; nothing will change until next April. We have to put regulations through the Social Security Advisory Committee, so there will be a process of consultation on the regulations. The regulations will be laid before parliament in October or November. There will then be a further six months before anything changes. . those are the changes that will go through secondary legislation. Some of the longer-term changes will require primary legislation, so there will be a further process of scrutiny and consultation. '

Results of Impact Assessment § An estimated 99% of local housing allowance cases will

Results of Impact Assessment § An estimated 99% of local housing allowance cases will be affected with an average decrease in benefit of £ 12 per week § Some households, particularly in very high cost areas, may have to move as a consequence of the measures § In London, some households may need to move from central London to outer London Boroughs or neighbouring local authorities which are not impacted by the overall caps

Results of Impact Assessment § There could be knock-on impacts for outer London boroughs

Results of Impact Assessment § There could be knock-on impacts for outer London boroughs that could be faced with an increased number of new housing benefit claimants needing access to additional services such as schools and health care § It may become more difficult for some housing benefit claimants to find suitable accommodation, because the overall number of properties available is reduced

Results of Impact Assessment § Some people may face difficulties in moving, and may

Results of Impact Assessment § Some people may face difficulties in moving, and may approach their local authority for assistance, although in all areas, except for ‘the handful affected by the caps’, around a third of properties will still be affordable to housing benefit claimants § Housing authorities may experience difficulty finding suitable private rented sector accommodation locally for households that are accepted as homeless or at risk of homelessness – these impacts are more likely in London but could occur elsewhere

Results of Impact Assessment § In a small number of cases, the combination of

Results of Impact Assessment § In a small number of cases, the combination of the removal of the five bedroom rate and the reduction in local housing allowance rates to the 30 th percentile could result in overcrowding § There could be negative impacts for housing benefit claimants who are working if they have to move to an area where they need to extend their commute to their place of work

Results of Impact Assessment § In relation to the change to the local housing

Results of Impact Assessment § In relation to the change to the local housing allowance that allows an extra bedroom for a non resident overnight carer from April 2011, the impact assessment estimates that 97% of housing benefit claimants with a non resident carer would receive more housing benefit as a result of the change, with 2% being unaffected and 1% receiving less housing benefit

How will the Law give effect to change? § Draft Regulations laid before Social

How will the Law give effect to change? § Draft Regulations laid before Social Security Advisory Committee § Housing Benefit Amendment Regulations 2010 § Rent Officers (Housing Benefit Functions) Amendment Order 2010 § No training for Judiciary

How will the Law give effect to change? § Basic entitlement set out in

How will the Law give effect to change? § Basic entitlement set out in SSCBA 1992 Sec 130 – will require primary legislation to change

How will the Law give effect to change? § Welfare Reform Act 2007 introduced

How will the Law give effect to change? § Welfare Reform Act 2007 introduced Sec 130 A implementing LHA § Provides for changes to LHA & HB rates to be amended by Secondary Legislation

How will the Law give effect to change? § SSCBA 1992 – Sec 136

How will the Law give effect to change? § SSCBA 1992 – Sec 136 – key enabling section for change § Foster v Chief Adjudication Officer [1992] § Sir John Donaldson MR – Sec 136 permits the Sec of State “to prescribe that black is white and that nothing is something and vice versa in the context of income and capital”

How will the Law give effect to change? § SSCBA 1992 Sec 137(2) –

How will the Law give effect to change? § SSCBA 1992 Sec 137(2) – sets out general regulation-making powers in relation to issues relating to entitlement to means-tested benefits § Query – how do powers to impose penalties which may result in a person losing their home on the basis of an administrative deadline to find work sit with the ECHR?

How will the Law give effect to change? Social Security Administration Act 1992 Sec

How will the Law give effect to change? Social Security Administration Act 1992 Sec 176 § Consultation with representative organisations (1) Subject to subsection (2) below, before making — (a) regulations relating to housing benefit or community charge benefits (other than regulations of which the effect is to increase any amount specified in regulations previously made);

How will the Law give effect to change? (b) regulations under section 69 of

How will the Law give effect to change? (b) regulations under section 69 of the Child Support, Pension and Social Security Act 2000; (c) an order under any provision of Part VIII above.

How will the Law give effect to change? The Secretary of State shall consult

How will the Law give effect to change? The Secretary of State shall consult with organisations appearing to him to be representative of the authorities concerned (2) Nothing in subsection (1) above shall require the Secretary of State to undertake consultations if — (a) it appears to him that by reason of the urgency of the matter it is inexpedient to do so; or (b) the organisations have agreed that consultations should not be undertaken.

How will the Law give effect to change? (3) Where the Secretary of State

How will the Law give effect to change? (3) Where the Secretary of State has undertaken such consultations, he may make any regulations or order to which the consultations relate without completing the consultations if it appears to him that by reason of the urgency of the matter it is expedient to do so

How will the Law give effect to change? § R v Secretary of State

How will the Law give effect to change? § R v Secretary of State for Social Security ex p Association of Metropolitan Authorities [1992] – the Sec of State cannot invoke the exemption by leaving a decision to the last minute and then creating the emergency

How will the Law give effect to change? § Howker v The Secretary of

How will the Law give effect to change? § Howker v The Secretary of State for Work & Pensions [2002] EWCA Civ 1623 (reported as R(IB)3/03). The court decided that the amendment made to Regulation 27(b) of the SS (Incapacity for Work) (Gen) Regs 1995 by the SS (Incapacity for Work and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regs 1996 was made without compliance with the statutory machinery and so was of no force or effect

Amendments to Regs § Housing Benefit Amendment Regulations 2010 (laid before parliament – 30/11/2010)

Amendments to Regs § Housing Benefit Amendment Regulations 2010 (laid before parliament – 30/11/2010) – NB CPAG Judicial Review – 07/03/2011 (plus challenge to caps) § Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 § Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit ) Regulations 2006

Amendment to Regs Change from 01/04/2011 § Amends Regs 13 D (1), (2) &

Amendment to Regs Change from 01/04/2011 § Amends Regs 13 D (1), (2) & (3) – provide for LA to use the appropriate LHA rate for the Broad Rental Market area where claimant lives and category of dwelling required (either one bedroom in shared accommodation or a property with appropriate number of bedrooms for household) – change from 5 to 4 as the maximum number of bedrooms

Amendments to Regs § Reg 2 inserts definition of “a person who requires overnight

Amendments to Regs § Reg 2 inserts definition of “a person who requires overnight care” § Amends Reg 13 D to provide additional room where Reg 2 satisfied § Reg 2: “person who requires overnight care” means a person who – (a) (i) receives attendance allowance; (ii) receives middle or higher rate care of DLA; or

Amendments to Regs (iii) provides evidence to show that requires overnight care (fruitful area

Amendments to Regs (iii) provides evidence to show that requires overnight care (fruitful area for appeals); and (b) reasonably requires (more appeals!), and has arranged (even more appeals!), that one or more people who don’t live there should: (i) be engaged in providing overnight care; (ii) regularly stay overnight; and (iii) be provided with use of a bedroom, or would reasonably so require (loads more appeals!).

Amendments to Regs § Amends information to be sent to rent officer – Reg

Amendments to Regs § Amends information to be sent to rent officer – Reg 14(8) (requirement to refer to rent officers), para 2(3) of Schedule 2 (excluded tenancies) & Reg 114 A(9), and 95 A(9) in the Persons who have attained Pensions Age Regs) – adds info on whether claimant or partner require overnight care

Amendments to Regs § Reg 13 D(6) removed (insert Reg 13 D(5) – Max

Amendments to Regs § Reg 13 D(6) removed (insert Reg 13 D(5) – Max LHA shall be the rent cap) – provision for £ 15 excess to be paid where appropriate LHA rate exceeds the cap rent § Regs 13(D)(6), (8) & (9) removed – provisions relating to dwellings with more than 5 bedrooms

Amendments to Regs § Amendment to Reg 96(3 A) – LAs can make payment

Amendments to Regs § Amendment to Reg 96(3 A) – LAs can make payment direct if they consider it will assist the claimant in securing or retaining tenancy § Temporary provision § Implicit that the tenancy is affordable § ‘Safeguard provision’

Amendments to Regs § Rent Officers (Housing Benefit Functions) Amendment Order 2010 § Rent

Amendments to Regs § Rent Officers (Housing Benefit Functions) Amendment Order 2010 § Rent Officers (Housing Benefit Functions) Order 1997 Changes from 18/3/2011 § Amends Article 4 B – relates to properties with more than 5 bedrooms § Amends Schedule 3 B to remove the requirement to determine an LHA rate for 5 bedroom properties – add Sched 3 B(12)(2) maximum LHA rates of up to £ 400

Amendments to Regs § Inserts new provision in Schedule 3 B introducing a maximum

Amendments to Regs § Inserts new provision in Schedule 3 B introducing a maximum LHA rate for each category of dwelling up to 5 bedrooms § Changes from 19/09/2011 (now April 2011) § Amends Schedule 3 B to set LHA rates at 30 th percentile, rather than median – amendments to 3 B(9), (10), (11) & (12) § Amends Schedule 2 Para 1 (similar to Reg 13 D of Housing Benefit Regs) – provision for room for non-resident carer

Recent Announcements § Extension of shared accommodation rate for those under 35 brought forward

Recent Announcements § Extension of shared accommodation rate for those under 35 brought forward to January 2012 from April 2012 § Currently applies to those under 25 only § New single claimants from 1 st Jan go onto this rather than one-bedroom self-contained rate and, thereafter, on annual review § Reflects cost of renting non self-contained accommodation in the private sector where tenant has exclusive use of a bedroom but shares facilities such as a bathroom

Points to Ponder § Is the JSA 10% reduction compliant with Article 6 &

Points to Ponder § Is the JSA 10% reduction compliant with Article 6 & 8 of ECHR? – appears to have been dropped § Has the Government properly consulted? § What is the impact of benefit reduction upon the reasonableness of making an order for possession? § Is a claimant who is evicted through rent arrears, intentionally homeless?

 Housing Benefit & Welfare Reforms presentation to Housing LIN by Graham Cooper Associate

Housing Benefit & Welfare Reforms presentation to Housing LIN by Graham Cooper Associate Director Greenwoods Solicitors LLP 5 May 2011