Welfare Reform

Recent and forthcoming benefit changes...

The Governments benefit changes started to come into effect in April 2013. The changes have mainly affected people of working age and families, as the government stated that those of pensionable age should be protected.

What has changed so far...

From April 2013

  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Social Fund
From July 2013
  • Benefit Cap
Future Changes

From April 2015

  • Universal Credit
Council Tax Benefit was abolished

From April 2013 the existing Council Tax Benefit (CTB) scheme was abolished and replaced by a Council Tax Support Scheme.

Council Tax Support is money to help you pay your Council Tax. If you have a low income you may be able to claim Council Tax Support.

The maximum council tax support available for working age customers will be 80% of their Council Tax liability. This means that everyone will have to pay some Council Tax.

This Council made other changes to its Council Tax Support scheme from April 2013.

These are as follows:

  • Second adult rebate will be abolished for working age customers
  • Backdating of entitlement will be limited to 3 months, however the requirement to show 'good cause' has been removed.

Where can I get more information?
Further information on Council Tax Support is available here.

Housing Benefit

From April 1st 2013, Housing Benefit changed for those living in social sector housing, e.g. Coast and Country Housing, Tees Valley Housing etc.

Tenants, who have more bedrooms than their family are eligible for under the new rules, are considered to be 'under-occupying' their homes and the Housing Benefit will be paid at a reduced rate. If under these new rules, you are deemed to be under-occupying any rooms within your property, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by:

  • 14% if you have 1 extra bedroom
  • 25% if you have 2 or more extra bedrooms
Please note, these changes will not affect tenants who are of state pension credit age or above.

If you are getting, or are thinking of claiming Housing Benefit, or thinking of moving home, you need to consider this change before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement.

Where can I get more information?
Further information on the 'under-occupation' changes (also known as 'The Bedroom Tax' is available here.

Benefit Cap

Does this affect me?
From July 2013, the 'benefit cap' put an overall limit on the total amount of welfare benefits that many people can claim.

The total amount of benefits that can be received by any individual or family is limited to a maximum amount of:

  • £500 per week for single parents and couples with children
  • £350 per week for single people
You will not be affected if you, your partner or your child receive one of the following:
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • The support component of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit
  • War Widows or War Widower's Pension

Where can I get more information?
For further information on the benefit cap, and to calculate how much you might be affected it is available here.

Disability Living Allowance is changing

Does this affect me?

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) started to be phased out in April 2013. A new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been introduced for disabled people aged 16-64 years of age. PIP aims to help meet people care and mobility needs.

If you currently get DLA, you will be contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions between now and 2017 to inform you that your DLA award will end, and invite you to apply for PIP. Applications for PIP will involve a medical assessment for most people as well as an application form. PIP will be based on how a person's condition affects them, not the condition they have.

Where can I get more information?
Further information on Personal Independence Payment is available here.

Universal Credit

Does this affect me?
From October 2013, a new benefit was introduced in a selection of pilot areas of the Country called Universal Credit (UC). It replaces Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-Related Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

The aim of Universal Credit is to encourage people into work by allowing individuals to keep more of their income as they move into work or increase their hours of work.

Universal Credit is due to be rolled out in Redcar & Cleveland in April 2015.

Where can I get more information?
Further information on Universal Credit is available here.

Discretionary Social Fund is changing

Does this affect me?
With effect from 1st April 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions no longer administer the Discretionary Social Fund. Instead, responsibility lies with Redcar and Cleveland Council to deliver a local scheme.

Where can I get more information?
Further information on the Council's Discretionary Social Fund Scheme, including how to apply for funding is available here.

Who can help provide advice?

Moneywise is a partnership of organisations who operate in Redcar and Cleveland including Welfare Rights, Citizens Advice Bureau, Coast and Country and Moneywise Credit Union amongst others. They offer free advice and support on welfare benefits, debt, home energy and savings, loans, and housing advice amongst other things.

Moneywise has been developed to raise awareness of the free advice that is available to residents in this Borough on money related issues including the changes to benefits through the Governments Welfare Reform.

For more information on Moneywise, please click here. Alternatively, if you require money advice please telephone 01642 774774.

Links to Partner Organisations


 icon Frequently Asked Questions.pdf (11.49k)
Last modified: 20/09/2012 11:27:00

 icon Benefit cap faqs for local authorities.pdf (112.48k)
Last modified: 20/09/2012 11:40:42

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