How are your benefits changing?
The Government has changed how much benefits are being paid, re-naming certain benefits and how they are paid. This is called welfare reform and affects a wide range of benefits.
Here you can find out more information about changes to benefits, what this means for you and what you can do next. Some of the benefits that are being changed are:
» Housing Benefit
» Council Tax Benefit (now known as Council Tax Reduction or Support)
» Disability Living Allowance
» Universal Credit
How are benefits changing?
To find out more about how each benefit is changing, click the individual changes to see how they affect your benefits:
» Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (also known as the "Bedroom Tax")
The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits working-age residents receive. You will only be affected by the Benefit Cap if you are receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
What does it mean for you and your family?
There is a limit to the total weekly “welfare” a working age claimant is allowed to receive for themselves and their family. From November 2017 the current cap level is:
» £384.62 per week (£442.31 in Greater London) for couples, families & lone parents
» £257.69 per week (£296.35 in Greater London) for single people.
If a claimant’s/partner’s combined income from certain benefits is more than the appropriate Cap, their Housing Benefit will be reduced by the excess – although 50p must be left in payment.
Where can I get help?
We can help with Benefit Cap cases. Targeting the issue in the first few weeks minimises your risk of being in debt. We can make an application for Discretionary Housing Payment or make referrals to Best Chance for training and employment opportunities. Call us on 0800 9170839 for more information.
Universal Credit is a benefit that takes over most existing benefits to lump them together in to one payment that is paid monthly in arrears. Eventually, the Jobcentre want Universal Credit to be received by all claimants by 2020. In most boroughs, it has been rolled out but only affects a few tenants in specific circumstances. Universal Credit:
» combines existing benefits (Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit) into one lump sum paid monthly;
» Housing Element of Universal Credit is paid by default to the claimant rather than to the landlord;
» can only be paid in to a bank account (Post Office accounts are not accepted); and
If you need help managing your finances, we are here to help! If you have recently received a letter from Universal Credit inviting you to claim, you must make sure you respond otherwise your other benefits may be suspended - this is because eventually Universal Credit will replace all other benefits. If you are unsure about any letter sent to you about Universal Credit, make sure you contact their Customer Service Centre on 0345 600 0723.
Please let us know if you are claiming Universal Credit so that we can come up with an action plan to make sure your account doesn't enter arrears. Phone us and tell us you have applied for Universal Credit.