Changes to Housing Benefit Entitlements for EEA

Report
Changes to Housing Benefit
Entitlements for EEA Migrants from
April 2014
The Housing Benefit (Habitual
Residence) Amendment Regulations
2014
p://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/539/contents/made
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4 Parts to this Presentation
1) The Government’s Aims and Their Projected Impacts of the
Policy
2) The Actual Changes to the Law
3) Existing Claimants v New Claimants
4) Details of the Inquiry into These Changes
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Aim of the Policy
“it is legitimate to allow access to Housing Benefit (HB) only to
those EEA migrants who are workers or are self-employed; and
not those whose status is as a jobseeker
“ (we will) Remove the link between HB and JSA(IB) so that EEA
migrants who are classified as jobseekers are no longer able to
access HB even if they are in receipt of JSA(IB).”
.” This (change) will help to avoid unnecessary costs to the
benefit system by reducing the HB caseload by discouraging
EEA nationals from coming to the UK with the primary intention
of claiming benefits”.
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(DWP Impact Assessment February 2014)
Projected Impact of the Policy
Estimated number of people affected - 3,000 people per year
Estimated saving - £10 million per year
“The vast majority (92%) of those (people) potentially affected by
the policy are renting in the private rental sector. More than
three quarters are single people or childless couples. Around a
third of those potentially affected live in London.“
(DWP Impact Assessment February 2014)
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The Actual Changes:
• Previously, under Regulation 10 (3B) (K) of the Housing
Benefit Regulations, if an EEA national was receiving
income-based JSA they would also be entitled to HB.
• The Government has now amended this regulation to
remove access to HB for EEA jobseekers who make a new
claim for HB on or after 01 April 2014.
• EEA nationals who are self-employed, are workers, or are
unemployed but retain their worker status, will continue to
have the same right to HB as UK nationals.
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Worker Status:
• To qualify for worker status, a person needs to be
undertaking “genuine and effective” employment or must
have done so in the past.
• They will automatically achieve this if they earn £150 per
week for a period of three months. Otherwise each case
must be judged on its merits.
• Despite the name, a worker can be unemployed. For
example, if a person leaves “genuine and effective”
employment involuntarily or because of illness or injury,
they will retain their worker status.
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Jobseeker Status:
• To qualify as jobseeker, a person must be actively looking
for work, with a genuine chance of finding employment.
• An EEA national must pass the HRT before they are granted
jobseeker status.
• Jobseeker status also covers those who were previously –
or currently – working in “marginal and ancillary” roles,
people who have never worked, people who are no longer
self employed and those who lost their employment
voluntarily.
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“Genuine & Effective Work”:
• The terms “genuine and effective” and “marginal and
ancillary” are not defined in law.
• However, in making their decision, a Jobcentre Plus
Decision Maker is likely to consider:
1. The period of employment.
2. The number of hours worked.
3. The level of earnings.
4. Whether the work was regular or erratic.
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Transitional Protection:
• EEA nationals who are already getting JSA and HB on 31st
of March 2014 will continue to do so (they will have
“transitional protection”).
• This protection will last until there is a break in their claim
for JSA or HB. The most likely ways for this to happen are:
 a person gets a job (and so their JSA claim ends); or
 a person moves to another local authority (and so has to
lodge a new claim for HB).
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Finding Employment:
• If an EEA national finds a job, then subject to the usual
means testing and the job being “genuine and effective”,
they will be able to claim HB to help meet their rent costs.
• If the job comes to an involuntary end they will retain their
worker status and, therefore, their entitlement to HB for six
months.
• If they leave their job voluntarily, they will lose their worker
status and become a jobseeker.
• Significantly, jobseeker status will only entitle them to six
months JSA and not HB.
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Scenario iv: Person is claiming JSA and HB as a “Jobseeker” or “Worker” on 31 st March 2014 and is looking for work
PERSON DOES NOT GET A JOB:
People who are entitled to HB and JSA (IB) on 31st of March 2014 will be protected from the
reforms until they have a break in their claim for either HB or JSA (IB).
(Moving address within same LA that does not count as a break in HB claim - see Scenario 3)
If a person does not find work or move
home, their HB and JSA will continue
indefinitely.
However, looking for employment is a
central condition of receiving JSA.
PERSON GETS A JOB:
If a person finds employment they will no longer be eligible for JSA, but may still
claim HB if they need help to pay their rent.
If a person is earning over £149 per week, they will either be granted or continue to
be granted “Worker” Status and will have access to HB.
If they are earning under £149 per week, they will be subject to a further
assessment to establish whether the work undertaken is “genuine” and “effective”. If
it is deemed that the work does not fulfil these criteria, they will not be able to claim
HB.
They will now have either “Worker” or “Jobseeker” status without transitional
protection and basically fall into the same situation as somebody in Scenario 2.
PERSON WITH “WORKER” STATUS LOSES THEIR JOB
INVOLUNTARILY
If a person loses their job involuntarily and is registered as a
jobseeker at a Jobcentre Plus and actively seeking work, they will
retain “Worker” status and, therefore, their entitlement to JSA (IB)
and HB.
“Worker” status can also be retained where a person is temporarily
unable to work as a consequence of accident or illness.
However, the person will only be able to retain their “Worker” status
for a period of six months.
If a person is unable to find work after six months (and is unable to
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provide compelling evidence as to the probability of them finding
work) they will lose their status as a “Worker”.
PERSON WITH “WORKER” STATUS LOSES THEIR JOB
VOLUNTARILY
If a person loses their job voluntarily, they will lose their
“Worker” status and become a “Jobseeker”. This also applies if
a person’s paid employment lasts less than 3 months, even if
they left involuntarily.
As a “Jobseeker”, they will only be entitled to claim JSA (IB)
and will not be eligible for HB.
If the person is unemployed for six months and is unable to
provide compelling evidence as to the probability of them
finding work, then they will also lose their status as a
“Jobseeker”.
Moving Home
• An HB claim following a move to a new local authority will
count as a new claim, even if the person was claiming HB at
their old address.
• As a result, they will only be able to claim HB for six
months if they are unemployed, but possess worker status
and not at all if they possess jobseeker status.
• Different rules apply if someone moves within the same
local authority as this will not require the person to make a
new claim for HB, despite their change of circumstance.
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Scenario iii: Person is claiming JSA and HB as a “Jobseeker” or “Worker” on 31st March 2014.
But then moves to a new property with a change of address:
People who are entitled to HB and JSA (IB) on 31st of March 2014 will be protected from
the reforms until they have a break in their claim for either HB or JSA (IB).
CHANGE OF
ADDRESS IN THE
SAME LOCAL
AUTHORITY:
CHANGE OF ADDRESS IN A DIFFERENT LOCAL
AUTHORITY:
If a person moves to a new
property in the same local
authority and does not get
a job, their HB and JSA will
continue indefinitely.
If they were getting HB at their old address with “Jobseeker” status.
They will now lose their entitlement to HB. They will now basically
be in the same situation as somebody in Scenario 1 who has passed
the HRT. They will have lost their transitional protection
If a person moves to a new property in a different local authority, this
will require them to make a new claim for HB.
If they were getting HB at their old address with “Worker” status.
They will now only be entitled to out-of-work HB for a further 6
months. They will now basically be in the same situation as
somebody in Scenario 2. They will have lost their transitional
protection
PERSON IS LOOKING
FOR EMPLOYMENT
See Next Slide
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These rules will also be the case for people moving from one form of
specified accommodation to another. So if someone with
“Jobseeker” status moves from a hostel in one local authority to a
hostel in another, they will lose their entitlement to HB once a new
claim is made. Somebody with “Worker” status will only be entitled to
HB for 6 months
New Claims After 01 April
2014:
• EEA nationals who make a new claim for JSA and HB after
01 April 2014 will be covered by the new rules and will not
receive transitional protection.
• This will mean that there are severe restrictions placed on
their entitlement to HB if:
 they do not have a history of employment in the UK; or
 they are working – or have worked - but their employment is
considered to not be “genuine” and “effective”.
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JSA:
• People with no work history or have a history of working
only in roles which are not “genuine” and “effective”. will
be entitled to claim JSA if they pass the HRT.
• However, they will not be eligible to pass the HRT for the
first three months of their stay in the common travel area.
• Once they’ve passed the HRT, they will only be able to
claim JSA for six months, unless they can provide
compelling evidence that they are likely to find a job
shortly.
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Scenario i: Person enters the UK to look for work but fail to get a job for 3 months or
longer
Since 01 January 2014, people from EEA countries entering the UK to seek work have been unable
to claim income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA (IB)) until they have been resident in the common
travel area for 3 months. This also applies to returning UK nationals who have spent a considerable
period of time living abroad.
Once an EEA national has been resident in the common travel area for three months, they will be
able to make a claim for JSA (IB). If they pass the Habitual Residence Test, they will be awarded
“Jobseeker” status and can begin claiming JSA (IB). During this time they will need to be actively
searching for work.
PERSON WITH “JOBSEEKER” STATUS
DOES NOT FIND A JOB:
PERSON WITH JOBSEEKER
STATUS FINDS A JOB
After 31st of March 2014, “Jobseeker” status will no
longer entitle new applicants to claim Housing
Benefit (HB) unless they find work and achieve
“Worker status.
See next slide
So applicant will still be able to claim JSA for up to
six months but will not be able to claim HB.
.
If the person has been unable to find work after six months, they will lose their status as
a “Jobseeker” and will no longer be able to claim JSA (IB), unless they have compelling
evidence to suggest that they still possess a good chance of finding employment.
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Scenario ii: Person enters the UK with an offer of employment, or finds work as the result of a job search,
but requires help with their housing costs:
Person from EEA country gets a job, but they still need help with their rent. They wish to
claim HB.
If a person is earning over £149 per week, they will be granted “Worker” status and will have access to
HB.
If they are earning under £149 per week, they will be subject to a further assessment to establish
whether the work they have undertaken is “genuine” and “effective”. If it is deemed that work does not
fulfil these criteria, they will not be able to claim HB.
If a person earning over £149 pw loses their
job involuntarily and is registered as a
jobseeker at a Jobcentre Plus and actively
seeking work, they will retain “worker” status
and, therefore, their entitlement to JSA and
HB.
“Worker” status can also be retained where a
person is temporarily unable to work as a
consequence of accident or illness.
However, the person will only be able to retain
their “Worker” status for a period of six
months.
If the person is unable to find work after six
months (and is unable to provide compelling
evidence as to the probability of them finding
work?) they will lose their status as a
“Worker”, and their entitlement to both JSA
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and HB.
If a person earning over £149 loses their job
voluntarily, they will lose their “Worker”
status and become a “Jobseeker”. This also
applies if a person’s paid employment lasts
less than 3 months, even if they left
involuntarily
As a “Jobseeker”, they will only be entitled
to claim JSA and will not be eligible for HB.
If the person is unemployed for six months
and is unable to provide compelling
evidence as to the probability of them
finding work, then they will also lose their
status as a “Jobseeker”, and their
entitlement to JSA
Social Security Advisory
Committee (SSAC) Inquiry
“we have decided to consult on the regulations as we consider it
will be beneficial to gather information about the potential
impacts on particular groups and geographical areas, and to
identify any potential unintended consequences“
“This legislative change was part of a wider package of measures
affecting EEA migrants announced by the Prime Minister….we
would be keen to understand the degree to which any of the
changes introduced by this legislation are impacted by the
other measures included in that package.”
http://ssac.independent.gov.uk/news/press-releases/07-04-14.pdf
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Summary of SSAC Questions
What impact will the legislation have on new EEA migrants? What
impact will it have on those already here who lose their Worker
status?
Are there current difficulties in establishing whether someone has
Worker status. Will this be impacted on by these changes?
What are the implication for Social Services around children?
What are the implications of the regional and tenure breakdowns
identified (i.e, disproportionately London and mainly PRS)?
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Thanks for Listening
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