Welfare Reform information

Finances

Housing Benefit changes – this may affect you!

Benefit Cap 

The Welfare Reform and Work Act (2016) introduce some changes to the benefit cap. These changes, came into effect in  2016, and include changes to the benefit cap levels to:

  • £20,000 for couples with or without children
  • £13,400 for single people without children

The benefit cap amount is different if you live in Greater London.  There are exemptions for recipients of certain benefits such as:

  • Personal independence payments
  • Disability living allowance
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit claimants who receive payments towards carer’s costs.

If you need more information on the Benefit Cap or who to contact for more information please see our Benefit Cap page.

For more information about the benefit cap changes please visit www.Gov.UK/benefit-cap

Under occupancy guide - Quickly find out if you may be affected by the Welfare Reform.

Universal CreditImage of a laptop promoting universal credit

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. It will replace some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now.

In time more and more working age claimants will move onto Universal Credit. There may be some changes you need to make to ensure you are ready.

Are you Universal Credit ready?

  • Can you make and manage a claim online?
  • Have you got a bank account?
  • Can you manage being paid all your benefits in one lump sum monthly in arrears? (This will include any help with housing costs you may receive. You will be responsible for paying your rent yourself)

Universal Credit in Cornwall

If you need to make a new claim for benefits or have a major change of circumstances you will now need to make a claim for Universal credit.

With some changes of circumstances you can stay on your existing benefits and may be better off to do so. Please seek advice from your Inclusion Advisor to determine what you need to be claiming.

Waiting for your payments

You may have to wait a period of time for your first payment. It is important that you are prepared and can continue to pay your priority bills while you wait. All Universal Credit payments will be paid one month in arrears.

How do I apply?

Before applying please visit the Universal Credit pages on the gov.uk website. Here, you can find out:

  • if you are eligible
  • how much you can expect to receive and
  • how it is paid

Apply for Universal Credit online

What happens next?

The DWP should ring you and book a Claimant Commitment interview with you. This appointment will be over the phone. If you do not hear from them within five days then it would be worth:

  • ringing them or
  • writing a note on your journal to say you have not heard about your initial appointment

At your appointment:

  • Tell the advisor that you are a Council tenant and you have rent to pay
  • Tell your advisor if you have financial difficulties, including any rent arrears
  • Make it clear if you have any issues or disabilities that may affect your ability to meet your claimant commitment
  • If you cannot afford to wait for your first payment, you can ask for an Advanced Payment. This will come out of your Universal Credit payments over the next 12 months

If you claim Housing Benefit

Under Universal Credit an amount for housing costs will be included in the Universal Credit payment you receive. This means that you will be responsible for paying your rent out of your Universal Credit payment.

Get support if you need it:

Download our handy guide of the 5 key things to remember

If you are a Council tenant, please use the contact details on this page to speak to us or send a private message through our Facebook Page.

For more information and support, contact us on 0300 1234 161 and ask for an Inclusion Advisor or contact the Money Advice Service.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have published several videos and information for help and information on Universal Credit.

Discretionary Housing Payments

The DWP has produced a factsheet for claimants of Housing Benefit.  It explains what Discretionary Housing Payments are and how to claim.

Other benefit changes

We will update our web site with these changes as they are confirmed.