Welfare & Benefits
Welfare reform is the term used to describe changes to welfare benefits. Major changes to the benefits system have come into force in the last few years, including the roll out of Universal Credit. We are here to help you to understand these changes, what they may mean for you, and what other benefits may be available to you.
For more information on any of the following please either get in touch with us or your lcoal council.
Anyone aged 18 and up to pension age who is on a low or nil income can apply for Universal Credit.
In order to check whether Universal Credit is in your area, visit the UK Government website.
Universal Credit replaces:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
Your Jobcentre Plus or Tax Credit office will let you know the date that you will be moving to Universal Credit.
When you apply for Universal Credit, all the benefits it replaces will stop. You must tell us and your benefits office that you have applied for Universal Credit.
To prepare for Universal Credit:
- You will need access to a computer and the internet
- Ensure that you have an account which can accept Universal Credit payments
- Use your bank or savings account to manage your money now
- Manage what you receive now so that it covers your monthly expenses
- Begin making payments for your rent now and aim to get your rent account into credit
- If you have a partner, discuss how you will manage your joint universal credit income
- Get help with budgeting, and debt management if you need it
To make a Universal Credit claim and find out more, visit the UK Government website. If you have difficulty making a Universal Credit claim online, please telephone Universal Credit helpline, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Welsh language: 0800 012 1888
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
You will be asked to attend an appointment at your local JobcentrePlus once your online Universal Credit claim has been successful.
Your Universal Credit claim may be cancelled if you do not attend your appointment at the Jobcentre.
Please contact us when you apply for Universal Credit so that we can provide a rent statement and any other documents or details you require to support your claim.
Your Universal Credit payment may be delayed, not paid or you may receive a reduced entitlement if you provide incorrect details or documents to the DWP.
Click here for more information on Universal Credit, your entitlement, and eligibility.
If you have a spare bedroom and you’re renting it out, then your Housing Benefit, or housing costs element of Universal Credit might be reduced. This is often referred to as the ‘Bedroom Tax’ or the ‘under-occupation penalty’ or the ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’.
You’ll be affected by the penalty if:
- you’re classed as having a spare bedroom
- you’re aged between 16 and minimum State Pension Credit age
- you get Housing Benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit)
- you rent your property from a local authority, housing association or registered social landlord.
The following rules are used when working out whether you have a spare room:
- Two children under 16 of the same gender are expected to share.
- Two children under 10 are expected to share regardless of their gender.
- You are allowed one bedroom for each person over 16 or couple in a household
If you are in any doubt about Bedroom Tax please contact us, or get in touch with your local council.
Since November 2016, a limit has been placed on how much a welfare benefit a claimant may receive on an annual basis. The cap is based on the total amount of out of work benefits that you and your partner are entitled to. The latest Benefit Cap amounts can be found on the UK Government website.
You can find out whether you are affected by the Benefit cap by using the Benefit Cap Caluclator (excludes Universal Credit claimants).
Benefit Cap exemptions can be found on the UK Government website.
If you need help and support with budgeting, please contact Customer Services on 02078 607 7777 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welfare benefits payment for children and chiid benefits
Your Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, or Tax Credits may be capped If you have a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017.
From 6th April 2017, if you become responsible for a child born on or after 6 April 2017 you may not receive any further payments if you already receive Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for two or more children. This does not apply if you have multiple births or specified exceptional circumstances.
From 6 April 2017, new claims for Child Tax Credit will not be eligible for the ‘family element’ of £545 per year.
Universal Credit claimants will not receive the “first child premium” if the eldest child was born on or after 6 April 2017.
If you make a new claim for Housing Benefit from 6th April 2017, your personal allowance will be restricted to two children.
If you have an existing Housing Benefit claim any new children born or moving into your household on or after 6 April 2017 will also not be included in your personal allowance for Housing Benefit.
Also, from 6 April 2017, Child Benefit is no longer disregarded as income, so your Child Benefit payments may affect how much Housing Benefit you receive.
Employment and Support Allowance
From 6 April 2017, if you claim Employment and Support Allowance and you are placed in the Work-Related Activity Group, you will receive the same rate of benefit as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance because the Work-Related Activity component is being abolished.
You will not be affected by this change if you are placed in the Support Group.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) has been replaced with Personal Independence Payment for all claimants of working age (aged 16-64).
You, your partner, or adult child should apply for a PIP if you suffer with an illness or disability that severely affects your daily living.
To make a claim for PIP, telephone the DWP PIP claims on 0800 917 2222 or text phone 0800 917 7777 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. When you call, make sure that you have the following personal information ready:
- Contact details, for example telephone number
- Date of birth
- National Insurance number
- Bank or building society account number and sort code
- Your doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
- Dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent abroad, in a care home or hospital
- Contact details for any authorised representative who will act on your behalf
Following your call you will be sent a form to complete titled ‘How your disability affects you’. There will also be notes about how to complete this form. Usually you must return the completed form to the DWP within one month of the date of their letter.
Please ensure that you keep a copy of your completed PIP application and confirm with the DWP that your application has been received.
If you need help to complete your PIP application, please get in touch with us via our Resident’s portal.
Council Tax Support
Council Tax benefit was abolished in April 2013. This benefit paid some or all the council tax for persons on benefits or a low income.
Council Tax benefit was replaced by Council Tax Reduction (CTR). Each council manage their scheme.
Your income, council tax liability, immigration status, right to reside, habitual residence status and capital all determine how much CTR you receive.
Your council may decide to reduce or cancel your council tax bill even if you are not exempt from paying council tax, nor entitled to a discount or reduction.
Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)
You must be in receipt of Housing benefit to be eligible to make an application for DHP.
For your DHP application, you will have to provide proof of your income, state your expenditure, the reasons why you are unable to pay your rent, and provide supporting documents.
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