Changes to benefits - welfare reform

The government has introduced big changes to the benefits system which could affect the amount of benefits you receive and how benefits are paid to you.

Size limit rules or bedroom tax

In the Welfare Reform Act 2012 the Government set some clear rules about the number of bedrooms a household needs for Housing Benefit purposes.

If you have more bedrooms than the Government says you need you will lose part of your Housing Benefit.

It only applies to people of working age (someone who has not reached the qualifying age to receive Pension Credit), who rent their home from a social landlord (a Housing Association or the council).

Further information about size limit rules or bedroom tax

Benefit cap

As part of the Welfare Reform Act, the Government introduced a cap on the total amount of benefit that unemployed 'working age' people (those aged 16-64) can receive.

How much is the benefit cap?

The level of the cap is:

  • £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
  • £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them
  • £350 a week for single adults who don't have children, or whose children don't live with them

This may mean the amount you get for certain benefits will go down to make sure that the total amount you get isn't more than the cap level.

Further information can be found on GOV.UK >>

Universal Credit

This is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.

Universal Credit will help claimants and their families to become more independent and will simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single streamlined payment.

The new system aims to:

  • improve work incentives
  • smooth the transitions into and out of work
  • simplify the system, making it easier for people to understand, and easier and cheaper for staff to administer
  • reduce in-work poverty
  • cut back on fraud and error

It will replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

Existing claimants will remain on the current Housing Benefit scheme and Housing Benefit will continue to be paid by via the same method until further notice.

For further information, please submit an enquiry >>