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Changes to benefits

If you want to know more about the bedroom tax and other changes to your benefits. Take a look at the film we've produced with Wiltshire Money on YouTube by clicking here and then read the rest of this page.  

Housing benefit - bedroom tax

If you are under pension age and have one 'spare' bedroom your housing benefit will be cut.  This has been called the ‘bedroom tax’ in the press and already happens if you rent a home from a private landlord.  For more information about the bedroom tax and to see if you're affected, please read National Housing Federation's leaflet 'What you need to know about changes to housing benefit'

If you're affected, you will need to pay us the rent for the difference between your housing benefit award and your rent.  We understand that these changes will come as a shock for some people and you may be worried about how you will manage the extra rent payments. 

Some tenants may consider that moving to a smaller home (down-sizing) may be the best option for them. Other tenants will want to pay the extra. We are here to help and explain the options to you. We can provide you with help and advice on:

  • swapping your home for a smaller one
  • helping you with budgeting so you can pay your rent.

For more information about these options, please read our leaflet 'Help available with the bedroom tax' or contact us on 01225 715 715 /

Please remember that if you fall behind with your rent, our payment advisers will work very hard to help you manage your rent payments. But, at the end of the day, you will be responsible for paying your rent and your home could be at risk if you do not pay. 

DWP Benefit Cap

The Welfare Reform and Work Act (2016) introduces some changes to the benefit cap. These changes, which will take effect in autumn 2016, include changes to the benefit cap levels to £23,000 a year for couples with or without children and lone parents and £15,410 for single people without children in Greater London, and £20,000 and £13,400 respectively for those groups elsewhere in Great Britain. They also include additional exemptions for recipients of Guardian’s Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimants who receive payments towards carer’s costs.

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

Working tax credit

Changes to tax credits happened from 6 April 2012. These included a lower income limit for Child Tax Credit. For couples (but not single people) with children, there are new working hours rules for Working Tax Credit. How far payments can be backdated has also changed.

Why welfare reform?

The government says that many people on benefits perceive the financial risks of moving into work as just too great. For some groups the gains to work, particularly at low hours, are small, and any gain can easily be wiped out altogether by in-work costs such as transport. The government has identified two key problems with the current system:

  • work incentives are poor, and
  • the system is too complex.

So, they are reforming the system to help people to move into and progress in work, while supporting the most vulnerable.

In making the changes the government aims to make it fairer, more affordable and better able to tackle poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency. They are committed to overhaul the benefit system to promote work and personal responsibility.

There are lots of ways to find a job, start your own business and get help back into work.

What should I do now?

Think about how you are going to pay your rent. Direct debit is the best way to make sure you never forget and take the worry away.

Open a bank account if you do not have one. There are also basic bank accounts from high street banks. Credit unions will offer you budgeting accounts where they will mange your bill payments for you.

Help and advice

We want to help anyone who might be affected by the benefit changes so please call us on 01225 715 715 for advice if you have any concerns about how they may affect you.

this page was last updated: 04/08/2016 17:25:00


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