Welfare Benefit Reform
Welfare reform changes started in 2013 and more changes are planned for the future.
United Welsh is part of the Gwent Welfare Reform Partnership (GWRP), which was created to highlight the impact of welfare reform in Gwent and influence national, regional and local policies to help tenants deal better with the changes to benefits.
Changes to benefits are rolling out in different areas at different times. The key changes include:
The UK Government is reducing the Benefits Cap for people who receive certain welfare benefits. The cap includes any Housing Benefit or Housing Costs received through Universal Credit, but does not apply to people who get disability benefits.
From November 2016 there has been a reduction in the benefit cap from £23,000 per year to £20,000 per year (£384.62 per week) for couples and families with children, and from £18,200 per year to £14,000 per year (£257.69 per week) for single people.
Local Housing Allowance
From April 2019, the UK Government will restrict the amount of benefit payable towards housing costs to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) level for that area. The LHA is a figure set by the local council, so if a tenant’s total amount of rent and service charges are greater than the LHA, they will have to pay the difference from other benefits or income.
Disability Living Allowance transferring to Personal Independence Payment
PIP is the benefit that will replace DLA and people who are currently in receipt of DLA are gradually being asked to reapply for PIP. The entitlement criteria for PIP is much more stringent than the criteria for claiming DLA.
Changes to Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
At the moment those who claim ESA are required to undertake a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) which will place them in one of two groups; Work Related Activity Component Group (WRAG) or the Support Group. Those on WRAG receive additional support to prepare for and find work.
From April 2017 anyone who makes a new claim for ESA will no longer receive an additional payment for the WRAG, which is worth £29.05 per week. These people will now receive the same amount as those on Job Seekers Allowance but will not be required to be available for work.
Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits and tax credits with one single monthly payment:
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
People will transfer to Universal Credit at different times depending on their individual circumstances.
Read our ‘All you need to know’ booklet for more information on Universal Credit:
The Department of Work and Pensions has also produced the following handy guide: Universal Credit Claimant Housing Guide 31 March 2017.pdf
Speak to our Money Advice team
Tel: 0800 294 0195
Sascha Williams - Senior Money Advisor
Debra Rosser - Money Advisor
Lesley Bevan - Money Advisor
Julie Morris - Neighbourhood Officer (Rents)
Clive James - Neighbourhood Officer (Rents)
Claire Rodgers - Neighbourhood Officer (Rents)
Mark Jones - Neighbourhood Officer (Rents)
Karen Llewellyn - Neighbourhood Officer (Rents)
Yvonne Davies - Universal Credit Project Officer
Julie Little - Project Manager
Karen Thomas - Financial Inclusion Manager
Benefits infographic film