Welfare Benefit Changes

How This May Affect You

Introduction of Universal Credit

This is being phased in from October 2013 and will affect people of working age. Universal Credit will be a single benefit which will replace Housing Benefit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Pensioners will not be affected by Universal Credit.

Universal Credit will be paid once a month as a lump sum direct to the person claiming it. Tenants who receive help towards all or part of their housing costs (rent) as part of Universal Credit will be expected to pay the rent payments directly to Osprey Housing themselves.

Vulnerable tenants will still be able to have the Housing Element paid directly to Osprey Housing.

MAKING A CLAIM FOR UNIVERSAL CREDIT?

Please contact us prior to your first appointment with Jobcentre so we can provide you with all the relevant paperwork for you to claim housing costs. This will avoid any delay in processing your claim.

Claiming Universal Credit means you will no longer receive Housing Benefit to help pay your rent. Any help you are entitled to will be paid as part of your monthly Universal Credit. You must ensure that you have applied for housing costs and provided up to date proof of your rent.

You are now responsible for full payment of your rent and services charges each month when you receive your Universal Credit payment.

If the amount of housing costs you receive does not cover the full amount of rent you have to pay you will have to pay the difference from your own income.

If you have any extra bedrooms in your home you will still have to apply to the Local Authority for Discretionary Housing Payments. Council Tax Reduction should also still be applied for from the Local Authority.

Benefit Cap

The Benefit Cap was introduce in 2013 and limits how much any one household receives in state benefits. From November 2016 the benefit cap threshold changed to:

  • Couples with or without children or lone parents with a child - £20,000 a year, £385 weekly or £1667 monthly.
  • Single Adults- £13,000 a year, £258 weekly or £1117 monthly.

Housing Benefit is the benefit which will be reduced first. If you are affected you can make a claim for Discretionary Housing Payments from the Local Authority. There is no guarantee that you will be awarded DHP for this.

If a member of the household is claiming certain benefits (including Disability Living Allowance) then the benefit cap will not affect the household. War widows and widowers are also not included.

Under Occupancy And Discretionary Housing Payments

This came into effect from April 2013 and will affect tenants of working age who claim Housing benefit and who are considered to have at least 1 spare bedroom. The amount of Housing Benefit you receive will be reduced if the property you live in is considered too big for your household.

1 bedroom is allowed for:

  • Every adult couple
  • Every adult aged 16 or over
  • Any 2 children regardless of sex under age 10
  • Any 2 children of the same sex under age 16
  • Any other child
  • A non-resident carer who regularly provides overnight care to you or your partner if you or your partner are disabled

Housing Benefit will be cut by 14% if you have 1 spare bedroom and 25% if you have 2 spare bedrooms or more.

However an application for Discretionary Housing Payments to your Local Authority should be made which will fully pay for the shortfall in housing benefit or housing element of Universal Credit.

Non-dependant Deductions

A non-dependant is someone who is aged 18 or over who is not your partner and who lives with you for example a grown up son or daughter.

The amount of Housing Benefit and Housing Element you receive can be reduced if a non-dependant lives with you. This is called a ‘non-dependant deduction’. This is because it is assumed that they will contribute towards your rent regardless of whether this actually happens. The amount varies because it depends on their income.

Non-dependants are not expected to make a contribution if you are registered blind or receive Attendance Allowance of the care component of Disability Living Allowance.

If you are worried you might be affected by this, please Contact Us.