Benefit changes

Find out more about how changes to the welfare system may affect you

Benefit changes
As you may be aware, the Government has been making changes to the welfare system since April 2013.

These changes continue and are commonly known as 'welfare reform'. If you receive Housing Benefit, Job Seeker's Allowance, Income Support, Disability Living Allowance or a range of other benefits, this will affect you. This section will tell you everything you need to know. The Welfare Reform and Work Act (2016) introduced some changes to the benefit cap and took effect in autumn 2016. It includes additional exemptions for recipients of Guardian’s Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimants who receive payments towards carer’s costs.

Get tailor made advice from the Money Advice service
Is Universal Credit is being rolled out in your area? Search by postcode
Find out more about the benefit cap

Need some financial advice? We can help.

Our money advisers are benefit system experts, as the case studies below show. If you need help, then talk to us.

Mr & Mrs Smith* had their benefits capped at £20,000/year in November 2016. Their housing benefit was reduced to 50p/week and Mr Smith had a back injury so his mobility was poor. Mrs Smith was also paying for her prescriptions. One of Accord’s Money Advisers made applications to Watersure on the Smith’s behalf and applied for a warm home bonus to assist them in the short term. The adviser also spoke to ESA to ensure that the Smiths were on Income-based ESA, and obtained a letter from the DWP giving both names so that Mrs Smith did not have to pay for prescriptions any more. A refund was granted of their charges which had accumulated to nearly £300. Our adviser also applied for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and completed the application for them. This was granted at the daily rate of living and mobility, which increased their income with an additional £76.90. The Smiths also had their housing benefit paid at the full amount, and they received a back payment of over £1,500. The family admit that they had no idea about the benefit system because they had always been in work.

Tom*, 62, had been found fit for work by the ESA assessment. Tom had been off work for some time and also struggled with some mobility issues. He explained that he had tried to apply for Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) and was referred to Universal Credit, then back to JSA. Our money advisers telephone the rapid reclaim line for JSA on Tom’s behalf. They explained that Tom could in fact apply for either JSA or UC, given his age. He decided on JSA as he was familiar with it, so we arranged for a meeting with a job centre coach to get his claim started and in pay. We also pointed Tom in the right direction for getting help writing a CV and applying for jobs. Tom has now had housing benefit paid for the period of nil income and his JSA is in pay.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Find what you need