Welfare Reform

Many of our tenants are likely to be affected by welfare reforms. The Tenancy Sustainment Team can provide you with a full support service to help you if you think you may be affected. We have provided a brief outline of some of the biggest changes below and how you can get further information.

Bedroom Tax

  • Housing Benefit entitlement and the Universal Credit housing element is reduced if you have a spare bedroom
  • A reduction of 14% of your eligible rent for 1 spare room or 25% for 2 or more spare rooms
  • There are some exemptions to the bedroom tax;
    1. when the room is needed for a non-resident overnight carer (but they must need to stay overnight)
    2. An approved foster carer who is between placements for up to 52 weeks
    3. A newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks
    4. Students or people in the armed forces as long as they have an intention to return
    5. When you and your partner cannot share a bedroom for medical reasons

 

Benefit Cap

The Benefit cap is a weekly limit on the total awards of certain types of benefit and applies to most people aged between 16 and 64.

The benefit cap amounts are as follows –

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re single and your children live with you
  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you’re single and you don’t have children, or your children don’t live with you

However, not everyone is affected by the benefit cap there are exceptions to the rules.

You’re not affected by the cap if you or your partner:

  • get Working Tax Credit (even if the amount you get is £0)
  • you are over State Pension age
  • get Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition that stops you from working (this is called ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’)
  • get Universal Credit because you care for someone with a disability
  • get Universal Credit and you and your partner earn more than £542 a month combined, after tax and National Insurance contributions
  • if you, your partner or any children under 18 living with you get any of the following – Carers Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (with the support component) and Attendance Allowance. The full list is available on gov.uk

If you wish to check exactly how much the benefit cap could affect you please Click here for Benefit cap calculator or get in touch with the Tenancy Sustainment Team who can help you calculate this.

 

Discretionary Housing Payments are short term financial payments assessed by the Local Authority and can be considered to help with:

  • shortfalls in rent – for customers receiving either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs
  • rent in advance payments
  • help with moving costs
  • a deposit to help secure rented accommodation
  • rent arrears which may be preventing you from moving to a more suitable property

Each case is assessed on its individual merits looking at the finances and personal circumstances of each applicant. If you wish to make a claim please click here.

If you would like to speak to a Tenancy Sustainment Advisor about any of the above please see our Tenancy Sustainment Team page on how you can get in touch.