Changes to welfare benefits
There have been a number of
major changes to the Welfare Benefit Scheme since April 2013. The
following information highlights the main changes and how they may
affect you. We have listed contacts at Waltham Forest Housing
and other organisations that can offer advice and support.
Further changed have been announced since the July 2015
We have provided an explanation of the key
- Universal Credit
- Benefit Cap
- Size Criteria.
Universal Credit (UC) is a new type of
financial support for people of working age who are looking for
work or on a low income. It was introduced to Waltham Forest in May
2015 starting with new single claimants who previously would have
been eligible for Jobseekers Allowance, including those with
existing Housing Benefit and Tax Credit claims.
For more information including details of how
to make a claim online please visit the Gov.uk
website or telephone 0800 055 6688 to make a claim in
person. This process can take up to several weeks to get the
In April 2013, the Government introduced an
upper limit, a ‘cap’, to the total amount of benefits that
most households can get. This is £500 a week for families and
£350 for single households and the capped amount includes
Housing Benefit and Child benefit.
Households receiving Working Tax Credit and
Disability Living Allowance will be exempt from the cap, as will
income from contributory benefits that are paid to people who have
made enough National Insurance contributions. This means that you
should not be able to get more from claiming benefits than you
would be able to earn by working.
If you want to calculate if your family will
be affected, visit the Gov.uk webpages on the Benefit
If you think that you may be affected, please
contact Income Maximisation team on 020 8496 4197 to find out
Size criteria/under occupation
The government decided that, if you and your
partner are of working age, your Housing Benefit entitlement may be
reduced if you are living in a property which is bigger than you
The changes may affect you if you have more
bedrooms than the Housing Benefit rules say that you require. In
deciding if you have ‘too many’ rooms Housing Benefit rules state
- A child of 16 or under will be expected
to share with another child of the same gender; and
- A child of 10 or under will be expected to
share with one other child aged 10 or under, regardless of
Some examples of households who could be
affected are :
- A single person or a couple living in a 2
- A couple with one child living in a 3 bedroom
- A couple with a 2 girls, both under the age
of 16, living in a 3 bedroom property.
What can you do?
There are several options. For instance
- You may want to move to a more smaller
- You may want to take a lodger in to your
spare room. Download the
'Taking in a lodger' leaflet to find out whether this is
suitable for you.
- You may decide to make up the shortfall.
All of these are important decisions
If you would like more information about
moving to a smaller property or the other options in dealing with
the size criteria, please contact the Income Maximisation team on
020 8496 4197 or email email@example.com
If you have any concerns about being able to
pay your rent it is very important that you contact our Income
Maximisation Team and speak to an advisor as soon as possible. We
will offer you as much help as we can. To contact the team call 020
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