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What is new and future changes

What's changing? 

Universal Credit

See the separate section on Universal Credit.

Extra help with childcare

From 1 September 2017, the Government will be extending the free childcare entitlement for working parents of 3 and 4 year old children, to 30 hours per week for 38 weeks per year.  This is being introduced alongside a new scheme to help working families with the cost of childcare called Tax-Free Childcare.  Parents can apply for the 30 free hours using the Governments online Childcare services , if you have any problems making the online application or have questions contact the Government helpline on 0300 123 4097.

Removal of Work Related Activity Component (WRAC) in new claims for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

New claims for ESA from 1 April 2017 will no longer get the WRAC in their ESA payment.

Limit to two children in Child Tax Credit

In most cases, from 6 April 2017, Child Tax Credit will not be paid for a third or more child for new claims or entitlements.

Temporary Absence

To receive housing benefit you must be living in the property for which you are claiming benefit. However, some people can continue to claim housing benefit whilst away from home.

To continue to get housing benefit whilst away from home, you must not be absent from your home for more than four weeks if you are outside of Great Britain.  There are some exceptions so please contact our office for more information.

Weekly Benefits Cap

There is a weekly Benefits Cap  which limits the amount of state benefits households can receive.   We have to add together all the state benefits received, for example Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance and Housing Benefit.  If the total amount is above the cap then the Housing Benefit will be reduced. Households are exempt from this cap if anyone gets PIP, DLA, AA, or ESA Support Group (not including non-dependents). 

From the 7 November 2016 the weekly cap is:

  • £384.62 a week if you are a couple or have children
  • £257.69 a week if you a single person

The government has also stated that households are exempt from the cap if anyone gets Carers Allowance or Guardians Allowance or live in supported accommodation.

The DWP will be contacting anyone who will be affected by the cap.  We will also contact anyone potentially affected to ensure you are fully aware of the changes.

Spare Room Subsidy        

Housing benefit claimants who live in a property rented from the Council or a Housing Association, are subject to rules about the size of their home when their housing benefit is worked out.  The size rules are the same as for tenants renting in the private sector.  Where a tenant has one or more "spare" bedrooms (ie more than are needed, according to the size rules) there will be a weekly reduction in housing benefit.  This reduction will be 14% if there is one spare bedroom, and 25% if there are two or more spare bedrooms.

  • For example, Mr and Mrs Smith live in a two bedroom property costing £100 per week in rent. Currently Housing Benefit covers the rent in full.  Under the new rules, Mr and Mrs Smith have one spare bedroom.  Their Housing Benefit is reduced by £14 per week and they will have to pay this amount to their landlord.
  • There are some exceptions to these changes - shared ownership leases with a registered social landlord, if you or partner are over the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, caravans and mooring fees for houseboats and some supported accommodation where the landlord provides care, support or supervision.

Regulations are changing from the 1 April 2017 and  allow:

  • An extra bedroom when a disabled child or disabled non-dependant adult requires, and has, regular overnight care from a non-resident carer or group of carers.  

  • When a couple are unable to share a bedroom because of a disability

You will need to meet certain criteria in order to be entitled to an extra bedroom and in addition you must get a relevant benefit such as  middle or high rate DLA, high rate AA, daily living component of PIP or Armed Forces Independence Payment.

Changes to Disability Living Allowance

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced with Personal Independence Payments (PIP).   If you, or anyone in your household gets, DLA, click on the link to see how this will affect you, Information on PIP
Updated: 10 Aug 2017
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