Other benefits and more information about welfare reform
It's important to make sure that you get all the help that you're entitled to. The link below gives you information on benefits and tax credits if you are working or unemployed, sick or disabled, a parent, a young person, an older person or a veteran. There is also information about council tax and housing costs, national insurance, payment of benefits and problems with benefits.
Other Welfare Reforms
Since 2010 the UK Government has been implementing a wide range of reforms to the welfare benefits system. Their aim is to get Britain working, fight poverty, support the most vulnerable and help people break the cycle of benefit dependency.
The reforms are the biggest change to the welfare system in over 60 years and present many challenges.
Below we have listed the benefit changes (also see our benefit changes time line) outlined in the Summer Budget 2015, Autumn Statement 2015/Autumn Statement 2016 and Spring Budget of 2017. Please note that information about some of these changes is still limited:
- Means tested benefit freeze continues for remainder of this parliament - to 2020.
- Personal tax allowance increases from £11,000pa to £11,500pa, National Living Wage (Age 25+) increase to £7.50/hr.
- Continued roll out of 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 years olds for lone parents and couples who both work (and earn less than £100,000 each) - to be completed by September 2017. 'Claimants have to register their interest and will then be informed at a later date as to when the increased child care provision will be available in their area.
- New minimum wage levels implemented as follows:
Minimum/ Living Wage
From April 2017
25 and over £7.50
21 – 24 £7.05
18 – 20 £5.60
Under 18 £4.05
Bedroom Tax/LHA Size Criteria changes
- Following on from the Supreme Court decisions in November 2016, the government have announced that from 1 April 2017 an extra bedroom can be awarded to disabled couples who cannot share a room and to disabled children or non-dependants who need an overnight carer. For more information click here (insert link to Bedroom Tax page).
- No Work Related Activity Component in HB assessment unless Work Related Activity Component in HB claimant's (or partners) Employment and Support Allowance award.
- No extra Child Allowance for Housing Benefit claimants in respect of a child born on or after April 6th 2017 if there are already two or more Child Premiums included in the award (with exceptions).
- From 23rd June 2017 the £17.10 additional earnings disregard included in the assessment of HB for couples where the non-working partner is disabled and either their award includes a disability premium, support component, or they are in the work related activity group. Prior to this the disabled member had to be the working person.
- No new Limited Capability for Work Element for new or existing claims from 3rd April 2017 - unless been getting a LCWRA element since before 3rd April 2017.
- The Universal Credit taper rate on claimant's earnings will be reduced from 65% to 63% as per regulations which come into force on the 10th April 2017.
- From April 2017, earnings threshold for UC and the benefit cap will be increased from the flat rate of £430 a month to £520 net a month (the monthly equivalent of 16hrs a week x the living wage). More on UC and the benefit cap here. (Insert link to Universal Credit page).
- The higher first Child Element will not be given to claimants whose first child is born after 6th April 2017.
- No extra Child Element for existing Universal Credit claimants in respect of a child born on or after 6th April 2017 if there are already two or more Child Elements included in the award.
- Families with three or more children will not be able to make a new claim for Universal credit - they will be directed to claim 'legacy benefits' instead.
- No automatic entitlement to the Housing Costs Element for those claimants aged 18-21 who are on Universal credit under the Digital Service.
- New ‘Youth Obligation’ for 18 to 21 year olds on Universal Credit in full digital UC areas.
- Full conditionality for lone parents and primary carers who are on Universal Credit when youngest child turns 3 from April 2017; youngest child aged 2 expected to attend work focused interviews & undertake work preparation; youngest child aged one expected to attend work focused interviews.
- No Family Element for Child Tax Credit in respect of a child born on or after 6th April 2017. The Child Tax Credit (Amendment) Regulations were laid before parliament on 15th March 2017 and come into force on 6 April.
- No extra Child Element for Child Tax Credit claimants in respect of a child born on or after 6th April 2017 if there are already two or more Child Elements included in the award (unless excluded).
Click here for the latest Welfare Reform Timeline. (Insert link to Welfare Reform Timeline).
- Benefits freeze continues.
- New claims for Support for Mortgage Interest from April 2018 - help given becomes a loan, secured against the mortgaged property.
- Women's state pension age to reach 65 by November 2018; then increasing for both men and women
- Benefits freeze continues until 2020/21.
- Housing Benefit capped at Local Housing Allowance rates in the social rented sector (note: no exclusions due to age), including the Shared Accommodation Rate for most single claimants aged under 35 without dependent children (and those choosing to live in shared accommodation eg non-couple joint tenants). The cap will apply from 1 April 2019 but only to tenancies signed after 1 April 2016.
- Housing Benefit capped at Local Housing Allowance rates in the social rented sector for all supported housing tenants. Shared Accommodation rate will not apply
- HB for people of Pension Credit is expected to be replaced by a Housing Costs Element in Pension Credit - date not known - but unlikely to happen before 2022.
- Transfer of 'existing' claimants onto Universal Credit (migration) begins July 2019 - completion date of end 2022.
- Universal Credit capped at Local Housing Allowance rates in the social rented sector for all social housing tenants. (Shared Accommodation rate will not apply to those classed as living in supported housing).
- Claimants start to be migrated onto Universal Credit.