Benefit Changes

What are the changes?

The Government has been introducing changes to the welfare benefits system since April 2013. The aim is to help people move into and progress in work, while supporting the most vulnerable. Here is a summary of the changes,

The Bedroom Tax

The first change is that the Government is changing the rules about how many bedrooms you are entitled to. If you claim housing benefit and have more bedrooms than you are entitled to, you will lose money.

Benefit Cap

One of the next changes is the benefit cap. In future, benefits will be capped at £500 per week for couples and single parents, and £350 per week for single people without children. Any housing benefit you get will be included in that amount. If the total amount of benefit you get, including housing benefits, comes to more than the cap, your housing benefit will go down and you will have to make up the difference from your other income or benefits.

You can use the below calculator to see if the benefit cap will affect you https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

Changes to Council Tax

At the same time, the national scheme of Council Tax Benefit is abolished and local authorities will administer their own scheme. They have been given less money to do this so the likelihood is that most people, apart from those over pensionable age and other vulnerable groups, will have to pay some of their council tax.

Universal Credit

After that comes Universal Credit, where the Government will bring together a number of different benefits into a single payment. All your money, including housing benefit, will be paid to you direct so it will be your rent.