From April 2013 the Government is making big changes to benefits. This page details some of the changes that might affect you.
From April 1, no matter where you live in the country, if you rent from your council or from a Housing Association, your Housing Benefit will be cut if you have a ‘spare’ bedroom. The Government works out how many rooms you need depending on how many people live with you and compares this to how many bedrooms you have in your home. If you have more rooms than the Government thinks you need, your Housing Benefit will be cut by 14% of your rent if you have one spare room or 25% if you have two or more.
According to the Government, you are allowed one room each for the following people in your household:
- Each single adult
- Each adult couple
- Each child aged 16 or over
- Two girls or two boys under the age of 16
- Two children of either gender under the age of ten
- A carer who stays overnight
The benefit cap
Between April and September 2013 the government will be introducing a cap on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive.
This will mean that workless households should no longer receive more in benefits than the average earnings of working households.
A single person can receive up to £350 per week and a couple or a lone parent can receive up to £500. Any amount over this will be stopped from their Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
Personal Independence Payments
The Government is introducing a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP). PIP will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for eligible working age people aged 16 to 64.
From October 2013 renewal claims for people receiving DLA for a fixed period will be for PIP and from 2015 existing claimants of DLA will start to be transferred onto PIP.
Personal Independence Payments can consist of two parts – a daily living element and a mobility element and each one can be at the standard rate or the enhanced rate if extra assistance is needed. Most people will have a face to face consultation with a health professional to assess their needs as part of their claim. The person’s circumstances are compared with a set of criteria to determine if they are entitled to help. Successful claims will then be reviewed at intervals depending on how likely it is that the person’s circumstances will change.
For more information and help understanding the new benefit regime you can contact the local housing officer or use the welfare reform calculator.