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7 September, 2020 Open access

DWP issues guidance on entitlement to the additional earnings disregard in housing benefit that accounts for the temporary increase in the basic element of working tax credit

New edition of LA Welfare Direct confirms that claimants treated as 'in remunerative work' for tax credit purposes continue to be entitled to the disregard in housing benefit

The DWP has issued further guidance to housing benefit decision-makers on the treatment of the additional earnings disregard in housing benefit that accounts for the temporary increase in the basic element of working tax credit.

In LA Welfare Direct 9/2020, the DWP highlights that the Tax Credits (Coronavirus, Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2020 (SI.No.534/2020) enable people who are furloughed, self-isolating or shielding to be treated as still being engaged in remunerative work for working tax credit purposes and that, for housing benefit entitlement, this means that -

'If a claimant is in receipt of statutory sick pay (SSP) due to an illness, including COVID-19 related illness, the additional earnings disrgard will cease to apply unless they are receiving the 30-hour element of working tax credit.

If a claimant is on SSP or furloughed and holiday pay is received, this should be taken into account as earnings in any assessment, alongside any SSP or furlough payment received.

If a claimant returns to work on reduced hours, local authorities will need to confirm if this is a permanent change, and assess if the claimant’s new circumstances affect their additional earnings disregard eligibility.’

LA Welfare Direct 9/2020 is available from gov.uk