The Welfare Reform Bill has its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 31 January 2012. At Report Stage in the Lords, the government suffered defeats on amendments relating to under-occupation of social housing, the Employment and Support Allowance, the proposed benefit cap, and child support maintenance
Most but not all benefits are uprated in April each year, by reference to the increase in prices over the year to the previous September. The current Government has adopted the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) as the measure of inflation for uprating purposes. CPI tends to rise more slowly than the measures used. previously. The CPI for September 2011 was higher than expected, and media reports have suggested that the Government was considering changing the basis for uprating benefits. In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced that while benefits would increase by the full CPI from April 2011, the couple and lone parent elements of Working Tax Credit would be frozen and the child element of Child Tax Credit would increase by less than was planned.
This paper has been prepared for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. For information on the provision in the Bill relating to the introduction of Universal Credit, please see the complementary Library Research Paper, 11/24. Besides Universal Credit, the Bill proposes a number of other significant welfare reforms, including replacement of the current Disability Living Allowance, restriction of Housing Benefit entitlement to social housing tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need, time-limiting the payment of contributory Employment and Support Allowance to twelve months, and capping the total amount of benefit that can be claimed.
On 11 November 2010 the Government set out plans for a 'Universal Credit' to replace most in work and out of work benefits for people of working age. This note gives an overview of the main features of the Universal Credit and looks at some of the issues raised by the proposals.
The June 2010 Budget announced that a new "objective medical assessment" would be introduced for both new and existing working age DLA claims from 2013-14, saving over £1 billion a year by 2014-15 and reducing the DLA caseload by 20%. On 6 December the Government published a consultation paper, Disability Living Allowance reform, which sets out plans for an entirely new benefit - the "Personal Independence Payment" - to replace DLA, starting from 2013-14.
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.
The October 2010 Spending Review announced that the DLA mobility component would be withdrawn from people in care homes whose place was funded by a public body. The proposal was dropped by the Government during the passage of Welfare Reform Bill 2010-12. This note gives background to the original proposal and summarises initial reactions to it.
Cold Weather Payments are made to certain claimants of means-tested benefits during periods of very cold weather. To trigger the £25 payments, the average temperature in an area must be recorded as, or forecast to be, 0Â°C or below for seven consecutive days.
The Coalition Government's June 2010 Budget announced that a new "objective medical assessment" would be introduced for Disability Living Allowance claims from 2013-14. The Spending Review on 20 October announced that that the DLA mobility component is to be withdrawn from people in care homes whose place is funded by a public body. The Spending Review also announced that, from April 2012, for those Employment and Support Allowance claimants assessed as eligible for the "Work Related Activity Group", contributory ESA would only be payable for up to one year.
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) replaced both the War Pensions Scheme and 'attributable' benefits payable under the old Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) for service personnel experiencing ill health, injury or death arising from service-related incidents on or after 6 April 2005. This note outlines the scheme and changes made to it since its introduction.
This note sets out financial support available to domestic energy consumers, including grants for central heating, insulation, microgeneration equipment and social security measures. It also explains how to seek advice or information about gas and electricity problems from Consumer Direct and the Energy Ombudsman.
This note gives details of the proposal in the July 2009 Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together, to integrate some elements of disability benefits with other funding streams to create a new system of care and support for older people in England.