Welfare Rights Bulletin articles

The Welfare Rights Bulletin is CPAG's journal of welfare benefits and tax credits law and practice. It is also an updating service for our Welfare Benefits and Tax Credits Handbook.

Published six times a year, it is sent to all CPAG Rights members as part of the membership package. It is also available on annual subscription.

This page contains a selection of articles from the magazine. Other regular features include: Handbook update; legal section with reports of court cases, Upper Tribunal decisions and new regulations; welfare rights news; reader Q&A.

Advertising: we accept loose inserts but not display advertisements.

  • The work capability assessment

    Issue 204 (June 2008)

    Simon Osborne describes the new test for Employment and Support Allowance of whether someone is too ill to work.

  • Tax credits: changes and performance

    Issue 201 (February 2008)

    Nearly five years on, and the tax credits scheme still appears to be a work in progress. Mark Willis looks at some of the latest changes and performance.

  • Government press on with compulsion

    Issue 201 (February 2008)

    A trio of official publications in late 2007 and early this year provide further detail of the increasing compulsion - or conditionality - being applied to benefit claimants, with the accompanying threat of sanctions (and resulting poverty) for non-compliance. Simon Osborne describes the announcements.

  • The 'local housing allowance' rules

    Issue 201 (February 2008)

    New housing benefit (HB) rent restriction1rules - the 'local housing allowance' (LHA) rules - are due to be introduced nationwide from 7 April 2008. Far from simplifying the HB rules, a new layer of complexity will be added. An additional difficulty is that, until 6 April 2009, there will be two versions of some of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 and the Housing Benefit (State Pension Credit) Regulations 2006.2 Carolyn George sets out the detail.

    • 1. Reg 13C HB Regs; reg 13C HB(SPC) Regs
    • 2. The amendments are made by the Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance and Information Sharing) Amendment Regulations 2007 SI No 2868, the Housing Benefit (State Pension Credit)(Local Housing Allowance and Information Sharing) Amendment Regulations 2007 SI No 2869 and the Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance, Miscellaneous and Consequential) Amendment Regulations 2007 SI No 2870. Some amendments to these are in the pipeline. The old versions continue to apply to a particular claimant until the first of specified events occurs, or if earlier, 6 April 2009: see reg 1(5)-(7) HB(LHA&IS)A Regs and reg 1(5)-(7) HB(SPC)(LHA&IS)A Regs.
  • Tax credits: getting it wrong? – again

    Issue 201 (December 2007)

    Two years on from her first report on the administration of tax credits, Tax credits: putting things right, the Parliamentary Ombudsman Ann Abraham has produced a second report, Tax credits: getting it wrong? Beth Lakhani outlines the report's main findings and recommendations.

  • All rise for the Judge? Tribunal reform on the books

    Issue 201 (December 2007)

    Simon Osborne looks at the context and content of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

  • Exporting AA, CA and DLA care

    Issue 201 (December 2007)

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently given an important judgement - Commission of the European Communities v the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (C-299/05, 18 October 2007). The effect of the judgement is to allow for the exportation to any other European Economic Area (EEA) of States Attendance Allowance (AA), Carers Allowance (CA) and the care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Pamela Fitzpatrick provides some background and details of this decision.

  • Tax credit administration errors

    Issue 200 (October 2007)

    On 25 July 2007, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Kennedy MP, issued a statement relating to administrative errors concerning some finalised awards for 2003/04, 2004/05 and 2005/06. The finalised award is a conclusive award and can only be revised under certain legal provisions. However some finalised awards were corrected – following information passed to the Revenue – using an incorrect procedure. Beth Lakhani looks at what this means for the awards concerned and provides some detail of the enquiry process.

  • Incapacity and 'substantial risk'

    Issue 200 (October 2007)

    Simon Osborne looks at various approaches to applying the ‘substantial risk’ provision that is part of the test for incapacity for work.

  • A guide for appeal representatives

    Issue 200 (October 2007)

    The Tribunals Service has issued a guide for representatives at social security appeal tribunals - Good practice guidance for those who appear before appeal tribunals. It was issued on 3rd August 2007, just over 12 months since the first draft of the guide was issued, and has undergone a substantial re-write following the consultation with representatives from the National Customer Representative Liaison Forum. The published version is a significant improvement on earlier drafts. Edward Graham outlines the main points.