Welfare Reform – Universal Credit 2013

Welfare Reform – Universal Credit 2013
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit which will replace the following benefits in pilot areas of the UK including Sandwell and Birmingham from April 2013 and will be rolled out Nationally by October 2013:

• child tax credit
• housing benefit
• income related employment and support allowance
• income based jobseeker’s allowance
• income support
• parts of the social fund
• working tax credit

According to Disability Rights UK.org, Universal Credit will not replace:

• attendance allowance
• bereavement benefits
• carer’s allowance
• child benefit
• contributory employment and support allowance
• contributory jobseeker’s allowance
• council tax benefit
• disability living allowance
• industrial injuries disablement benefit
• maternity allowance
• parts of the social fund
• pension credit
• personal independence payment
• statutory maternity pay
• statutory sick pay
• war pensions

From April 2013, if you make a new claim for any of the above you may receive UC instead of working tax credit, child tax credit, employment support allowance, housing benefit and jobseeker’s allowance.

To claim UC you must be present in the UK, resident in the UK and have the right to reside in the UK. You might have a right to reside under United Kingdom rules, EC law or because you are a British citizen. You must also be 18 or over, under the state pension credit age and not be in education (some situations exempt eg. if you have dependent children).

Under universal credit you will be awarded a UC credit maximum amount based on your income and other family circumstances. If you have savings/capital over £16,000 you cannot get UC. All the benefits will be made in a single monthly payment. Not only that but you will need to make your claim online as the system will be mainly computer based. Disability Rights UK.org gives detail information on Benefit caps/limit on the amount of some benefits working age households can get and what benefits are exempt from the cap. Follow this link http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/f55.htm to get the facts on Universal Credit.

The benefit cap will mainly affect larger households and people in high rent areas. There will be a maximum of £350 a week for single person and £500 for a single parent or couple. Some people will lose benefit they are currently getting above the cap.

How will Universal Credit affect your housing benefit?
As of April 2013, Universal Credit changes to housing benefit will affect you if you are
• Of working age – below the qualifying age for Pension Credit
• A council or housing association tenant
• Under occupying your home – What this means is if your home is larger than your household size, your housing benefit will be reduced and you will have to pay towards your rent.

How do you know if you are under occupying your home?
The rules will allow 1 bedroom for:
• Two children under 10
• Two children of the same sex
• Over 16s
• Any other child (this will not apply to a child whose main home is elsewhere)
• Carer(s) providing overnight care
• A couple

Under Welfare Reform – Universal Credit 2013, your housing benefit will be cut by 14% if you are under occupying by 1 bedroom and 25% if you are under occupying by 2 or more bedrooms.

Will you be able to afford your rent?
If you will not be able to afford the rent, you should consider moving to a smaller privately rented home or smaller council or housing association home.

For more information on under occupation or housing benefit cuts, please contact your local council.

Categories: Property News