Welfare reform

The Government’s Welfare Reforms has made several big changes to the benefits that you may be receiving, some of the main changes are:

  • Universal Credit (UC) is a single monthly payment that will replace several benefits and tax credits people get now. It is for people looking for work and people unable to work due to illness, disability or childcare commitments and also people in work on low incomes. Find out more about UC here
  • Benefit Cap started in 2013 in Cheshire West and Chester. From November and December 2016 changes were made which means that the total amount of benefits a household can receive is restricted to £20,000 per year for families / lone partners and £13,400 for single people. This works out at a maximum of £384.62 per week for families / lone parents and £257.69 per week for single people. Any excess benefit will be deducted from your housing benefit or the housing element of your Universal Credit.
  • If you are of working age and claim Housing Benefit, from April 2016 any backdate requests are reduced to a maximum of one month.
  • Housing Benefit reductions for customers of working age who have a ‘spare bedroom’ started in April 2013, this is known as 'Bedroom Tax'. If you have more bedrooms than you actually need in your home, your Housing Benefit (or Universal Credit) will be reduced by 14% if you have one extra bedroom and 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms. Visit our find a property section if you are considering downsizing or contact our office if you want to check if any of the exemptions brought in affects you.
  • Personal Independence Payments is replacing Disability Living Allowance. All existing working age claimants will be re-assessed, many will see a drop in their entitlement or be taken off the benefit altogether.