Benefit Cap

In 2013, a Benefit Cap was introduced, limiting the maximum amount of benefit a household could receive.  The cap was set at a maximum total benefit entitlement £26,000 per annum or £500 per week for couples and single parents with children and £350 a week for single people.

It was announced in the Budget in July 2015, that this Benefit Cap will be reduced further to a maximum of £20,000 per annum outside London which is the equivalent of £385 per week.  The start date of this change is yet to be announced, but it is expected to be phased in sometime during 2016-17.

This will apply to people aged between 16 to 64. If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get isn’t more than the cap level. You won’t be affected if you qualify for Working Tax Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and some other benefits.

Personal Independence Payments & Disability Living Allowance

The government is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for some claimants. From June 2013, PIP will be used for all new claims for people aged between 16 and 64 with a health condition or disability. What you’ll get is not based on your condition, but on how your condition affects you.

If you are currently in receipt of DLA and are over the age of 16, you will be transferred on to PIP when your existing award is up for review, or if you ask for a review of your condition prior to a scheduled review.  This process is currently underway in Norfolk.

If you currently receive DLA and are under 16 years of age, or receive Attendance Allowance, you will not be affected by the change to PIP.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit will replace 6 current working age benefits.  It will replace the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

All other existing benefits will continue unaffected.

The key differences in Universal Credit from the current benefit system are:

  • The 6 benefits will be joined together and paid as one benefit, rather than several individual claims and payments.
  • Benefit will be claimed online
  • Payment of benefit will be made as one payment, paid calendar monthly in arrears.
  • The Housing Element will be paid to the claimant who will be responsible for making rent payments to their landlords.

Universal Credit was announced in 2010, and following delays is now going to go live in our area between September 2015 and March 2016.

Initially, Universal Credit will be introduced for single people making a new claim for benefit, for example, a person who finishes work and needs to claim Jobseekers Allowance, will be directed to claim Universal Credit from the Go Live date.

At a later date, yet to be announced, couples and families making new claims will also be transferred to Universal Credit.

If you already get one of those benefits, you will be transferred to Universal Credit at a later date.