The Welfare Reform Bill was introduced in stages from January 2012. It is due to be completed by April 2020.
What was the Welfare Reform Bill?
- it introduced Universal Credit
- it replaced Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment
- it introduced the Benefit Cap which restricted the amount of benefit that can be claimed
- it introduced size criteria (known as Bedroom Tax) for people who rent from Housing Associations or renting a council property. This stops people from living in properties that are too big for their needs
- it created a new localised scheme for managing Council Tax Benefit. The replacement scheme is called Council Tax Reduction.
- it changed the Social Fund scheme which was managed by the Department for Work and Pensions to a localised scheme managed by the local authority. This scheme is called the Essential Living Fund.
Welfare Reform Changes to date
As well as the above listed changes this period of Welfare Reform has also seen other slightly smaller changes, these are detailed below
- Changes to size criteria allowance for disabled child, disabled non-dependent and disabled couples. From 1st April 2017 regulations changed to allow an extra bedroom in the size criteria.
- Benefit and Tax Credit rates changes being frozen. Certain working age benefits and tax credits will be frozen in cash terms for 4 years from April 2016. This is due to be lifted in April 2020.
- Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction Restriction to 2 children in the Child Allowance
- Self Employed Minimum Income Floor (MIF) introduced. From the 1st April 2018 a minimum income floor was applied to all self-employed people in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) once they have been trading for 12 months.
Further information on Welfare Reform and Universal Credit can be found by visiting Gov.uk/Benefits, this link can be found in Useful Websites.