The Government recently passed the Welfare Reform Act which introduces cuts across a wide range of benefits.
Some of the main changes are detailed below but if you are still unsure whether you will be affected through other benefits that you claim please contact the Rents Team.
The Government is introducing new size criteria for housing benefit claimants in social housing. This will apply from April 2013 to tenants of working age (currently those between 16 and 61.5 years old).
What do the changes mean?
The size criteria will restrict housing benefit to allow for one bedroom for each of the following:
Who will be affected?
All claimants who are deemed to have at least one spare bedroom will be affected. This includes:
How much will people lose?
The cut will be a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent. The Government has said that this will be set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more extra bedrooms.
What can you do?
As your Landlord we will do whatever we can to help you move if you are affected by this change. We will be contacting you soon to discuss your options, but if you are worried please do not hesitate to contact your Housing Officer.
The Welfare Reform Act caps the total benefits to which a single person or a couple is entitled.
How is the cap calculated?
The cap will be set at the average net earnings for a working household, currently proposed to be £500 per week for couples and lone parents, and £350 per week for single people without children.
Who will be affected?
The cap is targeted at out-of-work-families, regardless of their ability to take up work.
If the total amount of benefits you receive is greater than the limits set, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by the excess amount.
The cap will apply to the combined income from the main out-of-work benefits (Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Employment Support Allowance) and other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Carer’s Allowance (unless a member of the household is entitled to Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance).
If you are entitled to Working Tax Credit you will be exempt from the cap.
From April 2013 Council Tax benefit is changing. This will mean that all claimants, regardless of age, will have to contribute an amount towards their Council Tax. The amount has not yet been decided by the Welsh Assembly. Your Local Authority will write to advise you of the amount that you will need to pay.
This will be replaced by Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for claimants between 16 and 64 years. New claimants will have to attend a new medical assessment process, and existing DLA claimants will also have to claim the new benefit when they receive a letter from DWP. It is expected that this new benefit will see a drop in income for some claimants.
Universal Credit will replace a number of benefits, including Housing Benefit, for working-age households. The single benefit will be paid as a monthly lump sum to one member of the household. Claimants will be required to manage and budget their money on a monthly basis, and as the Housing Benefit element will be paid within this payment, claimants will be required to pay the rent themselves as this will no longer be paid direct to the Landlord. This will most easily be paid by Direct Debit from a bank account on the day that the Universal Credit is paid into the account. If you need assistance with opening a basic bank account please contact the number below.