Welfare Reform | Benefit Changes Timetable

Welfare Reform | Benefit Changes Timetable

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Benefit changes 2013

April 2013

Appeals process changes

Change: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is revising its appeals process for the benefits it administers, and child maintenance cases. The aim is to make sure more appeals against DWP decisions are resolved without being referred to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

Changes will be introduced from April 2013 for Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment cases and from October 2013 for all other DWP administered benefits and child maintenance cases.

For more information on the appeals process changes please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/appls-process-changesl/

Benefit cap

As part of the Welfare Reform Act, from April 15 2013, the Government is introducing a cap on the amount of benefits a working-age household can receive, capped at the level of the average earnings of a working family.

This will be trialled in four London boroughs – Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey – from April with national roll out over the summer of 2013.

For more information on the benefits cap please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/benefit-cap/

Benefits and tax credit rates

Most benefit rates will only be uprated by 1% each April until 2015, as announced by George Osborne, the Chancellor, in his Autumn Statement 2012.

List of benefits rates for 2013-2014 via the Parliament UK website (link opens in new window PDF – file size 92.43kb)

Tax and tax credit rates/thresholds for 2013-2014 via the HM Revenue and Customs website (link opens in a new window PDF – file size 100.73kb)

Council Tax Benefit

Change: Council Tax Benefit is to be replaced by localised support for Council Tax.

Local authorities will set up new schemes to support people in their own areas within a 10% reduced budget.

This will only affect people of working-age who currently receive Council Tax Benefit.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payment

Change: The Government is to start replacing DLA with a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people of working age.

This will involve the introduction of ‘objective assessments’ to decide eligibility. The stated intention is to target support on those most in need through this new benefit. The government is hoping for a 20% reduction in expenditure by 2017 by bringing in this process.

From 8 April 2013 the first stage of PIP will start with people who live in the north-east and north-west of England who are claiming for the first time.

If you do not live in one of these areas you will still be able to claim DLA until June 2013.

For more information on the Personal Independence Payment please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/disability/personal-independence-payment/

Housing Benefit (HB)

Changes:

Bedroom size criteria

  • In England, Wales and Scotland size criteria will apply in the social rented sector (e.g. council and housing association properties) replicating the size criteria that applies to Housing Benefit claimants in the private rented sector under the Local Housing Allowance rules. This means that people living in houses larger than they need (under-occupiers) will have to move to somewhere smaller or make up the difference in rent because their Housing Benefit will be reduced. There will be:
    • A 14% cut in the eligible rent used to calculate your Housing Benefit if you under-occupy by one bedroom
    • A 25% cut in the eligible rent used to calculate your Housing Benefit if you under-occupy by two or more bedrooms
  • In Northern Ireland, bedroom size criteria is also expected to apply from April 2013. However this remains subject to approval by the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Northern Ireland Executive. Until then, current arrangements will remain in place. See NI Direct website for more information on potential changes to Housing Benefit from 2013.

For more information on the removal of the Housing Benefit Spare Room Subsidy please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/size-criteria-social-rented/

Local Housing Allowance rates

  • LHA rates will be increased in line with the Consumer Price Index instead of the market rents in each area. The connection with actual rents will be lost.

Social Fund

Changes:

  • Crisis Loans when waiting for benefit claims to be processed, and Budgeting Loans are to be replaced by a national ‘payment on account’ system.
  • Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants are to be abolished. A budget will be passed to Local Authorities in England and the devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will decide whether to set up their own local welfare provision schemes.

England

Local Authorities may or may not introduce their own system of assistance – there is no requirement for them to do so.

Scotland

The Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) has been created to administer Community Care Grants (CCGs) and Crisis Grants (CGs) in Scotland. An additional £9 million will be allocated to this.

Wales

The Discretionary Assistance Fund has been set up to administer welfare provision in Wales.

Northern Ireland

The Welfare Reform Bill is not yet law in Northern Ireland. If it becomes law, there will be changes to the Social Fund in Northern Ireland.

For more information on the Social Fund Reform please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/local-authority-staff/social-fund-reform/

Tax Credits

Change: Any rise in income of £5,000 or more during the award year will be taken into account when finalizing your Tax Credit award. Previously only income rises of £10,000 or more were taken into account.

Universal Credit

The current system of working-age benefits and Tax Credits is to be replaced by a new benefit called Universal Credit. In April 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions, working with HM Revenue and Customs and selected local councils, will launch its Pathfinder project to introduce Universal Credit to claimants within certain areas of the North-West of England.

This “pathfinder” stage aims to ensure that Universal Credit is ready to go live across the rest of Great Britain later in 2013 and Northern Ireland in 2014.

Universal Credit Explained in full.

[UPDATE] Problems persuading DWP to switch UC housing cost payments to the landlord

[UPDATE] Universal Credit pilots scaled back

The DWP now says this pilot programme will start only in one area in April – Ashton-under-Lyne – from the 29th April.

The other three job centres – in Wigan, Warrington and Oldham – will not now start handing out Universal Credit until July.

Originally the national launch of Universal Credit was meant to be rolled out in October 2013 but had to be abandoned.

Six more areas, Hammersmith in London, Inverness, Rugby, Harrogate, Bath and Shotton will be moved onto UC between October and the spring of 2014.

June 2013

Personal Independence Payment

Change: All new working age claimants will have to claim Personal Independence Payment instead of Disability Living Allowance.

For more information on the Personal Independence Payment please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/disability/personal-independence-payment/

July 2013

Universal Credit pilot programmes will begin in Wigan, Warrington and Oldham.

October 2013

Appeals process changes

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is revising its appeals process for the benefits it administers, and child maintenance cases. The aim is to make sure more appeals against DWP decisions are resolved without being referred to Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

The revised approach will focus on:

  • Preventing disputes
  • Reducing the escalation of disputes
  • Resolving disputes
  • Learning from disputes.

The following changes will help to deliver these objectives:

Mandatory reconsideration

When a person receives a decision from DWP that they dispute, they will have to request that the Department conducts a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before being allowed to lodge an appeal. This reform aims to resolve more disputes at an earlier stage and help ensure that people receive their correct entitlement earlier.

Direct lodgement

People who want to appeal after mandatory reconsideration will need to send their appeal directly to HMCTS. This change will align the appeals process for the Social Security and child maintenance jurisdiction with the other major tribunal jurisdictions within HMCTS. It will allow DWP to focus on its key role as a party to appeals.

Time limits

The introduction of the changes is an opportunity to introduce time-limiting on appeals responses. DWP is currently in discussions with the Tribunal Procedure Committee as to what these limits
might be.

For more information on the appeals process changes please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/appls-process-changesl/

Personal Independence Payment

From October 2013 some people receiving DLA will have to claim PIP instead. This will apply to you if:

Benefits changes 2014

March 2014

Incapacity benefits

The transfer of existing claimants on incapacity benefits (i.e. Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Income Support on disability grounds) to Employment and Support Allowance should be completed by the end of March 2014.

For more information on Incapacity Benefits please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/ib-reassessing-claims/

April 2014

Universal Credit

Universal Credit to be introduced in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Social Security Minister, Nelson McCausland, and the Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, have agreed changes about the way Universal Credit is paid in Northern Ireland to protect the most vulnerable and reflect Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances.

The changes agreed are:

  • Housing cost element of Universal Credit paid direct to landlords rather than customer
  • Payment of Universal Credit may be split between two people in the household
  • Payment of Universal Credit may be payable twice each month.For more information on the introduction to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland please view http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/introduction-to-universal-credit

Benefit changes 2015

Date to be confirmed

Independent Living Fund

The Independent Living Fund (ILF) – which provides money to help people with disabilities live an independent life in the community – is to close in 2015.

Funding will be incorporated into local social care arrangements – through local councils in England and the devolved governments in Scotland and Wales. People who already have ILF care packages will have to transfer to new local arrangements.

For more information on the Independent Living Fund please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/ilf/

October 2015

Personal Independence Payment

Change: Claimants of working age receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will be invited to claim Personal Independence Payment instead.

For more information on the Personal Independence Payment please view http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/disability/personal-independence-payment/

Benefit changes 2020

October 2020

State Pension Age

Proposed Change: The Pensions Bill has been amended after concerns that some women would have to wait for up to an extra 2 years to collect their pensions.

The proposed rise in the state pension age to 66 by 2020 is to be delayed by six months, from April 2020 to October 2020 capping the increase at a maximum of 18 months.

State Pension age timetables http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/spa-timetable.pdf

Author: News @ Tenant Referencing

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