In May 2011, the Department for Work and Pensions commissioned the Social Security Advisory Committee to undertake an independent review of passported benefits and how they link with Universal Credit. Passported benefits were defined as those additional benefits to which working-age claimants on certain means-tested benefits and tax credits are automatically entitled. The SSAC broadly considered them in four groups: education, health, utilities and access to justice. They did not consider Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit, and referred only briefly to benefits within the Social Fund. The SSAC found that all passported benefits fulfill important needs, are highly valued by those who receive them and make significant social contributions. Options for the future should not undermine policy objectives and it is unlikely that one approach will suit all passported benefits. Review respondents identified a tension between three key factors: reducing complexity, making work pay while maintaining a range of policy objectives and keeping costs neutral. One of the simplest solutions offered was extending eligibility for passported benefits to everyone receiving UC.This option, though, would not meet the constraint of cost-neutrality. Alternatively income thresholds within UC could be imposed, below which claimants are automatically entitled to receive certain passported benefits. To alleviate the cliff-edge it would also be possible to: impose an earnings disregard, allow the benefit to run-on for a period of time after the cut-off point has been reached, withdraw the benefit in a stepped taper. The Coalition Government recognises the opportunities and challenges but notes that there has already been a considerable amount of work undertaken and believes there is scope to deliverDuring the review we looked specifically at the following benefits: Watersure, Warm Home Discount, Energy Company Obligations, Cold Weather Payments and voluntary social tariffs. With the exception of Cold Weather Payments, which areanbsp;...
|Author||:||Social Security Advisory Committee|
|Publisher||:||The Stationery Office - 2012-03-01|