Changes in legislation mean that rules and regulations are constantly changing. We will keep you informed here of these changes as they happen.
Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.
Universal Credit will help claimants and their families to become more independent and will simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment.
Universal Credit will replace:
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
Currently only Income based Job Seekers Allowance and Housing Benefit will be replaced and only for people who fall into the criteria for being eligible to claim.
The differences between Universal Credit and the current system
The main differences between Universal Credit and the current welfare system are:
- Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work
- most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account
- Universal Credit will be responsive – as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they’ll get ongoing support, giving people more incentive to work for any period of time that is available
- most claimants on low incomes will still be paid Universal Credit when they first start a new job or increase their part-time hours
- claimants will receive just 1 monthly payment, paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary
- support with housing costs will go direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment
Where can you find more information about Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a Department for Work and Pensions benefit. Click here for more information.
Click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Universal Credit.
Working-age customers receiving Housing Benefit for housing association properties now have the amount they can receive restricted based upon the number of bedrooms their household, requires measured against size criteria already used for Local Housing Allowance. One bedroom is allowed for each of the following:
- A couple
- A person who is not a child
- Two children of the same sex
- Two children under 10
- Any other child (excluding foster children)
- A carer (or group of carers) providing regular overnight care.
The rates of reduction are:
- 14% reduction of eligible rent for under-occupation by one bedroom
- 25% reduction of eligible rent for under-occupation by two bedrooms or more
- Shared ownership properties
- Those of pension age (or a claimant with a partner who is pension age)
- Non-mainstream accommodation (i.e. mooring charges for houseboats and site charges for caravans)
- Temporary accommodation (i.e. accepted as homeless by SRBC Housing Department and placed in temporary accommodation)
- Supported 'exempt' accommodation
Personal Independence Payments (PIPs)
A new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 - 64. PIP is a non means-tested, tax free payment that customers can spend as they choose.
Entitlement to PIP is not based on a customer's disability, but the help they may need because of their condition or disability. Personal circumstances are taken into account and the impact that the condition or disability has on the ability to live independently.
The new benefit also allows disabled people to be reassessed over time to ensure that everyone gets the right support if their needs change.
Between 15 July and 30 September 2013 a benefit ‘cap’ was introduced which imposes a maximum limit on the total amount of benefit that people can get. From 7th November 2016 this cap was recuced to:
- A maximum of £384.62 a week for couples and lone parents
- A maximum of £257.69 per week for single adults
The cap doesn't apply if you, your partner, or any children you are responsible for qualify for Working Tax Credit or have been awarded any of the following:
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- The support component of Employment & Support Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation scheme)
- War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension