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10 November, 2021

PCS parliamentary group calls for DWP telephony services to be brought back in-house

Early Day Motion tabled by group 'expresses alarm' that Serco has secured further contracts in the Department this year despite recently having to rely on DWP staff to assist in its delivery of phone line services

9 November, 2021

Government provides update on reasons for delays that have seen several thousand claimants not receiving initial payments of their state pension on time

Minister advises that the pandemic has led to claimants who were deferring their pension to claim sooner than expected, and that a new and simpler clerical form has resulted in higher than anticipated take-up

9 November, 2021 Open access

Number of work coaches increased by 11,095 over the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic

Work and Pensions Minister provides update on plan to 'ramp up' jobcentre capability that was meant to lead to double the number of coaches by March 2021

9 November, 2021

Changes to the terminal illness rules for universal credit and ESA will be introduced in April 2022

However, Minister confirms that changes to disability benefits require primary legislation to be passed and that this will be carried out 'as soon as the parliamentary timetable allows'

9 November, 2021

Work and Pensions Secretary says that she does not envisage need for ‘Move to universal credit’ pilot in Harrogate to resume

However, Dr Coffey tells MPs that 'considerable amount of learnings' from pilot have informed preparation of plan on resuming managed move to universal credit

9 November, 2021

Disregard of payments made under Redress for Survivors Scheme for the purposes of council tax reduction in Scotland

New statutory instrument

9 November, 2021

Bill to introduce more ‘practicable’ means to secure support for mortgage interest loans on all properties in Northern Ireland receives first reading

Support for Mortgage Interest etc (Security for Loans) Bill will ensure Department for Communities can recover loans when they become repayable in all cases where there is available equity

8 November, 2021

DWP ‘intends to try’ to introduce reduced 55 per cent universal credit taper rate and £500 increase in work allowances from 24 November 2021

Announcing the changes in Budget 2021, Chancellor had said that, while they'd normally take effect at the start of the new tax year in April, 'we want to help people right now'

8 November, 2021

Reform of universal credit taper rate and work allowances announced in Autumn Budget 2021 will benefit more than 2 million families in 2022/2023

However, Resolution Foundation says that, when compared to the position without the Budget measures and with a retained £20 uplift, 73 per cent of families will be worse off

5 November, 2021

New DWP guidance on making payments of benefit arrears by instalments confirms that a claimant must agree to the arrangement before a decision maker can proceed

Memos to decision makers also advise that a specialist Advanced Customer Support Team will consider whether it is in the best interests of the claimant to stagger arrears payments 'having regard to their individual circumstances'

5 November, 2021

Government confirms that local housing allowance rates for 2022/2023 are to be maintained at their ‘elevated’ 2020/2021 levels

Parliamentary written answer says that 'forecast default' will be confirmed at the benefit uprating review

5 November, 2021

DWP confirms it is continuing to prioritise work capability assessments for contributory ESA claims ‘that have exhausted or are at risk of exhausting’

Minister highlights that resumption of face-to-face assessments, together with enhanced telephony assessment processes, 'now allow us to assess all cases'

5 November, 2021

More than a third of attendance allowance calls to the DWP go unanswered, according to new government figures

Parliamentary written answers also highlight that more than a quarter of PIP enquiry calls go unanswered, while successful callers are often waiting for lengthy periods to get through

5 November, 2021

More than half a million universal credit claimants had the maximum of 25 per cent of their standard allowance deducted from their entitlement to repay advances or government debts in May 2021

New DWP figures also show that the average deduction per claim was £50 in respect of repaying advances and £61 for government debts

5 November, 2021

Scope of advocacy services available to Social Security Scotland claimants extended to include ‘non-instructed’ advocacy

Change made by new statutory instrument 'will reduce any potential for confusion, and avoid potentially inconsistent outcomes' says Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance

4 November, 2021

Peers seek early statutory review of benefit cap levels, citing mounting evidence of the impact on child poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, mental health and on survivors of domestic abuse

However, while Minister agrees to take points back to the Department, she says she cannot commit to an early review of the cap or give a commitment to scrap it

4 November, 2021

Further limitation of exception to the universal credit basic condition ‘not to be receiving education’ for those in receipt of a disability benefit

New statutory instrument

4 November, 2021

Northern Ireland Executive says it does not have sufficient resources to fund DfC’s bid for £55 million to mitigate £20 universal credit cut

Finance Minister says there would also need to be a commitment to funding the uplift in future years to avoid creating another cliff-edge at the end of March

4 November, 2021

Social Security Scotland received 230 complaints during 2020/2021 of which almost a fifth progressed to a full ‘stage two’ investigation

However, 92 per cent of claimant survey respondents rated their experience as 'good' or 'very good' and 94 per cent felt they were treated with kindness