Welfare Reforms will have a real impact on the way people receive benefits and the money you have in your household budget.
If you are entitled to housing benefit, this will be included in your total amount of benefit and this may have to be paid directly to you, as the claimant. It is then your responsibility to pay your rent from this income. You must ensure that you pay your rent on time to avoid falling into arrears and putting your home at risk.
Under the benefit cap, the total amount of benefits that can be received by any individual or family will be limited to a maximum amount of:
- £500 per week for single parents and couples with children
- £350 per week for single people
You will probably be affected by the benefit cap if you are out of work and claiming benefits such as income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance. Housing benefit counts towards the maximum amount of benefit that can be paid.
There are currently four local authorities trialling the Welfare Reforms. This is to enable testing of the systems, processes and claimant information and aims to allow for lessons to be learnt and put right before the national roll out. The date of this is still to be confirmed
Before you are effected by the Welfare Reforms you should start to budget for other household expenses and if you do not already have a bank account, open an account which allows you to set up Direct Debits, you can then ensure that your rent is paid on the day you receive your benefits to avoid falling into arrears.
Please contact Andy Robinson, Housing Officer on 01730 263589 if you require any further information.
Under Occupation Charge (Bedroom Tax)
If you are of working age (i.e. below Pension Credit age), new rules are being introduced by the Government that may affect you and you may need to pay some or more rent.
If you are seen as living in a property that is too big for you, your Housing Benefit will be reduced.
Housing Benefit will only pay for one bedroom under the following rules:
- each adult couple
- any other person aged 16 or over
- two children of the same sex aged under 16 will be expected to share a bedroom
- two children under 10 regardless of their sex will be expected to share a bedroom
- any other child
- a carer (who does not normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care.
It does not matter whether your extra room is actually ‘spare’ or in use, the new rules will apply even if:
- you and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
- the main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you
- you are sick or disabled
- you have foster children
How much could I lose?
You could lose an amount equal to 14% of your Housing Benefit for one ‘extra’ bedroom and 25% of your Housing Benefit for two or more ‘extra’ bedrooms. You will need to pay the difference between your Housing Benefit and your rent.
You won’t be affected if:
- you live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit or
- you and your partner are old enough to receive pension credits. In April 2013, the Pension Credit age will be around 61 years and six months.