WELFARE BENEFITS ADVICE
A number of organisations in Hackney assist people with their welfare benefits problems.
These include things like:
- Helping people who are disabled to claim the disability benefits they may be entitled to;
- Helping people who have been refused a benefit to appeal a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) decision;
- Advising people affected by the benefits cap or the spare room subsidy (‘Bedroom tax’).
You can find the names and contact details of Hackney based organisations that help people with their welfare benefits problems by clicking on ‘welfare benefits’ in this website’s Advice Finder.
BENEFIT CHANGES TIMETABLE - AUTUMN 2016
In the 2015 summer budget, the Government put forward proposed plans to reduce the Benefit Cap for families to £23,000 in London (£15,410 single claimants) and £20,000 elsewhere (£13,400 single claimants). To give households some time to prepare for the new cap it is now planned to come in from Autumn 2016.
Exemptions from the benefit cap for more groups
The government also announced in the March Budget 2016 that it will introduce exemptions for people getting Guardians Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and the carers’ element of Universal Credit from the benefit cap from autumn 2016.
BENEFIT CHANGES TIMETABLE 2017 - 2018
Tax Free Childcare
Tax Free Childcare is to be introduced as a replacement for employer supported childcare (childcare vouchers). The government will contribute up to 20% of the first £10000 of registered childcare costs per child, per year. This equates to a maximum of £2000 per child, per year. The scheme will be available to people who have an annual income under £150,000 and are not receiving help with childcare via tax credits. It is expected to reach more people than the current scheme.
Bereavement Support Payment
The current bereavement benefit system system will be replaced with a single system of Bereavement Support Payments (BSP). This will be introduced for new claims from April 2017.
Tax Credits Support for children reduced
Government proposed in the summer budget 2015 that support for children through Tax Credits and Universal Credit will be limited to two children from April 2017. Equivalent changes will be made to the Housing Benefit rules.
Tax Credit Family Element removed
Tax Credit Family element proposed change: People starting a family after April 2017 will no longer be eligible for the Family Element in tax credits. The equivalent in Universal Credit, known as the first child premium, will also not be available for new claims after April 2017.
Universal Credit requirements for parents to look for work
Parents with a youngest child aged 3, including lone parents are expected to look for work if they want to claim Universal Credit.
Reduction in payment for ESA Work-Related Activity Group Claimants
From 1 April 2017, new ESA claimants who are placed in the Work-Related Activity Group will receive the same rate of payment as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and the equivalent in Universal Credit.
Universal Credit Youth Obligation
18-21 year olds who are on Universal Credit will have to either apply for training/ apprenticeships or attend a work placements from six month after the start of their claim. Apart from certain exempt groups (those considered to be vulnerable) the proposed introduction willl take place from April 2017.
Universal Credit Housing Support removed for young people
Reform to housing and housing support proposed- including removing the entitlement to housing support in Universal Credit for those aged 21 or under from April 2017.
Capping Housing Benefit in the social rented sector
New or renewed tenancies for supported accommodation in the social sector will be subject to a cap on Housing Benefit in line with Local Housing Allowance rates. This measure has been delayed and will now take place from April 2017 to enable the Government to complete a review of supported accommodation.
Autumn /End of 2017
Free Childcare Extended
Free childcare entitlement will be doubled from 15 hours to 30 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds from September 2017.
Higher Income Social Tenants to Pay Higher Rents
The Summer Budget 2015 put forward plans to require social tenants on higher incomes (over £40,000 in London and over £30,000 outside London) to pay higher (market rate or near market rate) rents. The government will consult and set out the detail of this reform in due course.
Universal Credit Roll out
The Government expected that the roll out of Universal Credit would be complete by the end of 2017. The Government has since admitted that at least 700,000 claimants will not be on Universal Credit by the end of 2017.
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) payments
The Government announced in the summer budget 2015 that from April 2018, new SMI payments will be paid as a loan. Loans will be repaid upon sale of a claimant's house, or when claimants return to work.