Changes to Benefit
The Welfare Reform Bill has started to be introduced in stages starting from January 2012. The bill is expected to be in full force between April 2016 and April 2020.
What will this bill change?
- It introduces Universal Credit which will be a single streamlined benefit.
- It sets to replace Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment.
- It introduces the Benefit Cap which will cap the amount of benefit that can be claimed.
- It introduces bedroom tax (or ‘size criteria framework’) for people who rent from Housing Associations or renting a council property. This is to stop people from living in properties that are too big for their needs.
- It has created a new localised scheme for managing Council Tax Benefit.
- It has changed the Social Fund scheme which was managed by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Welfare Reform - Progress so far
Since the Welfare Reform was launched many changes have been applied and the changes are now in force around the country. The changes that are now in force are:
Size Criteria for Social Sector Housing or 'Bedroom Tax'
Size criteria has now been applied to Council and Housing Association properties. This means that people living in houses larger than they need will have to move to somewhere smaller or make up the difference in rent because their Housing Benefit will be reduced.
For more information please see our Bedroom Tax page.
Social Fund Reform
From 1st April 2013 we took over managing the Social Fund scheme from the Department for Work and Pensions. We have created a new scheme called the Essential Living Fund.
The scheme is grant based and is open for anyone on a low income to claim.
The scheme will be able to cover applications for:
- furniture - such as beds, wardrobes, sofas and tables
- furnishings - such as carpets, curtains and bedding
- white goods - such as cookers, fridges and washing machines
- household equipment - such as cooking utensils and small electrical appliances
- fuel connection (or re-connection) charges
- clothing and footwear
- general living expenses - these are day to day living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries, cleaning/hygiene products, money for pay as you go fuel meters.
For more information on the new scheme, the claiming criteria and how to apply please see our Essential Living Fund page.
Council Tax Reduction
From the 1st April 2013 Council Tax Benefit was replaced with Council Tax Reduction. This change will only affect you if you are of working age.
The change may mean that:
- some people who previously did not have to pay any Council Tax will have a small amount to pay
- some people who get some help may have to pay more
- some people who did qualify to get help will no longer qualify.
For further information about how Council Tax Reduction affects you, please see our Claiming Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction page.
Page last updated: 12/02/2014