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.
The Spending Review on 20 October 2010 announced that, from April 2012, for those Employment and Support Allowance claimants assessed as eligible for the Work Related Activity Group, contributory ESA will only be payable for up to one year. Some claimants affected by the change will be able to claim income-based ESA, but it is estimated that around 280,000 could lose entitlement to ESA completely.
From April 2011 rates of many benefits and Tax Credits will increase; this will mainly be in line with the 3.1% annual increase in the CPI to September 2010. Exceptionally, this year the basic state retirement pension will be increased by the 4.6%.
The Government is committed to a "triple lock" for uprating the basic state pension, which means in future it will be increased by the highest of the increase in earnings, prices (as reflected in the CPI increase) or 2.5%. This year, to ensure the basic state pension is in line with the previous uprating rules, the increase in the RPI is being used. There is a requirement for Pension Credit to be increased in line with earnings. However, to ensure the least well-off pensioners benefit from the triple guarantee, the standard minimum income guarantee in Pension Credit will increase in April 2011 by the cash rise in a full basic State Pension.
This note sets out the basis for the April 2011 uprating. It focuses on the Retirement Pension and Pension Credit but also contains a summary of the main benefit and tax credit rates before and after the uprating.
Child Benefit is frozen until April 2014.
By April 2011 most lone parents with a youngest child aged seven or over will no longer be able to claim Income Support but will instead have to claim Jobseeker's Allowance and be available for and seek paid work.
The Welfare Reform Act 2009 includes provisions to enable piloting of mandatory 'work-related activity' for lone parents on Income Support and partners of benefit claimants with a youngest child aged 3-6. The Labour Government announced proposals to run 'pathfinders' in four Jobcentre Plus districts in England from October 2010.
From April 2010 rates of many benefits and Tax Credits will change, mostly they will increase by one of three factors:
+2.5% Basic State Pension
+1.8% Standard minimum guarantee Pension Credit, Income Support, Council Tax Benefit, Housing Benefit
+1.5% Attendance Allowance, Carer's Allowance, Child Benefit, Disability Living Allowance, Working & Child Tax Credits
The 1.5% increase is being paid by "bringing forward" a proportion of the increase expected in April 2011. Next year, any increase over 1.5% will be paid in the usual way.
For some benefits there is to be no increase in April 2010. For example, pensions on top of the basic state pension (additional pension, increments to the pension, Graduated Retirement Benefit) and dependency increases will remain at the same rates.
This note sets out the basis for the April 2010 uprating of the main social security benefits. It focuses on the Retirement Pension and Pension Credit but also contains a summary of the main benefit and tax credit rates before and after the uprating.
This paper is one of two which examine the main proposals of the Welfare Reform Bill 2008-09. It deals with Part 1 of the Bill, which includes provisions to establish a 'work for your benefit' scheme for the long-term unemployed, to allow piloting of the 'personalised conditionality' regime, and to enable the future abolition of income support. See also Research Paper 09/09.