The Government is making changes to benefits and tax credits. Some are already in place, and others will be introduced over the next few years. If you are of state pension age, the majority of these changes will not affect you.
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Housing and Council Tax
You can find out about the new arrangements for Housing Benefit, Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) and Council Tax Reduction.
Recent changes to the welfare system set a maximum amount of money you can receive in benefits. This may affect your housing benefit.
The Welfare Reform and Work Act (2016) introduced changes to the benefit cap. These changes started in September 2016 and include changes to the benefit cap levels to £20,000 a year for couples, with or without children and lone parents (living in Great Britain but not Greater London), and £13,400 for single people without children in Great Britain but not Greater London. Please note, different benefit cap levels apply for claimants living within Greater London.
The benefit cap won't apply to
The benefit cap won't apply to you if you, your partner or any children living with you can get any of the following benefits:
- Working Tax Credit
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer's Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Disability Living Allowance
- Guardian's Allowance
- War Widow's or War Widower's Pension
- War Pensions
- Industrial Injuries Benefits (and the equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
- The support group amount of Employment and Support Allowance
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Armed Forces Independent Payment
If you think you may be able to get one of these benefits, you can find out more at www.gov.uk/benefits-adviser.
Please note that any adult children living with you would not normally count as part of your household. So, if they are claiming one of these benefits, the benefit cap may still change your own amount of payment
From November 2016, if you, your partner or any dependent young person living with you can get Carer's Allowance or Guardian's Allowance, the benefit cap will not apply to you
For more information about the benefit cap changes visit www.gov.uk/benefit-cap.
Contact the Benefit Cap helpline for further advice on 0345 605 7064 (Calls to 0345 numbers cost no more than a standard geographic call and count towards any free or inclusive minutes in your landline or mobile phone contract).
Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is to be replaced with Personal Independence Payments. If you are aged 16 to 64 and receiving DLA, you will be asked to apply for financial assistance through new Personal Independence Payments.
Download our newsletter about Personal Independence Payments
Universal Credit will replace a range of means-tested benefits including Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. Universal Credit will only affect people of working age. It will be paid to households in a single monthly payment.
From Wednesday 5 July 2017, Chelmsley Wood and Solihull Job Centres will take claims for Universal Credit for all people of working age and household make ups, with the following exception:
- households that have more than two dependent children at the point of a new claim
If you fall into this category you will need to claim either Income Support or income based Jobseekers Allowance or Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.
For more information on Universal Credit visit Gov.UK.
If you live in a type of supported accommodation known as specified accommodation, or temporary accommodation, your Universal Credit can't help with your housing costs. Instead, you'll have to claim Housing Benefit.
For more information on specified accommodation visit citizensadvice.org.uk.
Whether you claim Universal Credit or any other benefits, you should also claim Council Tax Reduction from Solihull Council if you are liable to pay Council Tax at your property.
Support to Success
Have you noticed that your money does not go far due to higher living costs, loss of employment or changes to benefits? Do you want to start using the internet but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you’d like to feel healthier?
Support to Success brings together, in one place, local advice and support available to help you to be successful. Visit our Support to Success page for more details.
Concerned about the changes?
- Citizens Advice Solihull Borough - phone 0121 703 7810 or visit www.casb.org.uk
- Use an online benefit check service such as the government’s Benefits Adviser
- You can subscribe to our regular newsletter on welfare reform by contacting us by email.