Roundup of recent DWP announcements
Spring Statement 2022
This week the Chancellor delivered a Spring Statement that included further measures to help people with the cost of living.
- From April 2022 there will be an extra £500 million for the Household Support Fund, which doubles its total amount to £1 billion to support the most vulnerable families with the cost of essentials such as food, clothing and utilities.
- To ease cost of living pressures for almost 30 million employees, National Insurance thresholds will rise to £12,570 to align with the income tax personal allowance from July 2022. This simplification means that, from July, 70% of workers who pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs) will pay less of it. Of those who benefit from the threshold increase, 2.2 million people will be taken out of paying NICs altogether.
- Fuel duty for petrol and diesel was cut by 5p per litre from 23 March to help drivers across the UK with rising costs – a tax cut worth £2.4 billion. This means a one-car family will now save on average £100.
- To ensure more people can keep more of what they earn for years to come, the Chancellor also announced plans to cut the basic rate of income tax from 20p to 19p from 2024. The historic £5 billion tax cut for workers, pensioners and savers will be worth £175 on average for 30 million people and will be the first cut to the basic rate in 16 years.
More information can be found on the Government support for the cost of living: factsheet.
DWP supporting people arriving from Ukraine
Earlier this week, DWP announced people fleeing the war in Ukraine and arriving in the UK can claim benefits immediately. Emergency regulations have been laid so people can access Universal Credit and jobs support from the first day they arrive.
To help new arrivals with applications, translation services are available for those making claims on the phone. Work Coaches and DWP staff at Jobcentres across the country are on hand to support people making claims online.
Without the emergency legislation Ukrainian people fleeing the Russian invasion would be subject to the Habitual Residence Test, meaning they would have to wait up to three months before being able to receive income-related benefits, including Universal Credit.
Also announced this week, people who sponsor a Ukrainian individual or family will not see their household benefit entitlements affected. Read the full statement.
Tax credits customers encouraged to check if they could be better off on Universal Credit
A new Universal Credit campaign has been launched aimed at tax credit customers.
The campaign aims to raise awareness that tax credits are ending in 2024 and that many tax credit customers could be financially better off on Universal Credit.
The campaign signposts to independent benefits calculators to help tax credit customers see if Universal Credit is right for them.
It also encourages customers to seek independent advice before they apply.
The campaign is being promoted through digital, social and radio advertising. A new webpage on the Universal Credit website for Tax Credit customers contains additional information to help people make the right decision for them.
Go to Tax credits are ending – Understanding Universal Credit for more details.
Eligibility criteria apply.
Further information about Universal Credit is being provided directly to tax credit customers as part of the tax credit renewals process. As with the campaign, the information signposts claimants to independent benefits calculators and encourages customers to seek independent advice before they apply to Universal Credit.
Benefit Inspired National Insurance number applications
For applicants who apply for benefits and do not have a National Insurance Number (NINo), a process is in place to ensure they are dealt with as a priority.
As part of the digital NINo application process (Apply for a NINo), a trial will be conducted where some customers will receive a link via SMS text message inviting them to apply online.
You may have customers requesting to help them through this application. Please be aware, this process will only apply to those customers advised they will receive a link. If the trial is successful, then appropriate customers will be invited to use the new digital process.
Acquired brain injury – call for evidence
The Government is seeking the views of people living with acquired brain injury or other neurological conditions and their families, as well as professionals working in this space.
The easiest way to participate in the call for evidence is to complete the online survey.
An easy read version of the call for evidence is also available.
COVID-19 update and toolkit
Cabinet Office have shared their latest COVID-19 influencer and stakeholder toolkit. The key messages are:
- Vaccinations provide the best protection from COVID-19.
- A Spring Booster jab is available to over 75s and some other groups and you will be contacted to book your appointment.
- Continue to follow safer behaviours to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Please support the programme, through your own social media channels, to encourage your audiences about the importance of getting vaccinated.