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WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Changes to Housing Benefit Entitlements for EEA Migrants from April 2014 The Housing Benefit (Habitual Residence) Amendment Regulations.

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Presentation on theme: "WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Changes to Housing Benefit Entitlements for EEA Migrants from April 2014 The Housing Benefit (Habitual Residence) Amendment Regulations."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changes to Housing Benefit Entitlements for EEA Migrants from April 2014 The Housing Benefit (Habitual Residence) Amendment Regulations 2014

2 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

3 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”. (DWP Impact Assessment February 2014)

4 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)

5 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 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.

6 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.

7 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.

8 “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.

9 Transitional Protection: EEA nationals who are already getting JSA and HB on 31 st 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).

10 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.

11 People who are entitled to HB and JSA (IB) on 31 st 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) PERSON DOES NOT GET A JOB: 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. Scenario iv: Person is claiming JSA and HB as a “Jobseeker” or “Worker” on 31 st March 2014 and is looking for work 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 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”.

12 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.

13 People who are entitled to HB and JSA (IB) on 31 st 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: 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. CHANGE OF ADDRESS IN A DIFFERENT LOCAL AUTHORITY: 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 “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 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 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 PERSON IS LOOKING FOR EMPLOYMENT See Next Slide Scenario iii: Person is claiming JSA and HB as a “Jobseeker” or “Worker” on 31 st March But then moves to a new property with a change of address:

14 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”.

15 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.

16 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: After 31 st of March 2014, “Jobseeker” status will no longer entitle new applicants to claim Housing Benefit (HB) unless they find work and achieve “Worker status. 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. PERSON WITH JOBSEEKER STATUS FINDS A JOB See next slide Scenario i: Person enters the UK to look for work but fail to get a job for 3 months or longer

17 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 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 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. Person from EEA country gets a job, but they still need help with their rent. They wish to claim HB. 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:

18 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.”

19 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)?

20 Thanks for Listening


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