Welfare Reform

1. What Benefits will the Universal Credit Replace?

The Universal Credit will replace:-

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

It does not include:-

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
2. What will replace DLA?

DLA will be replaced with Personal Independent Payments and everyone on DLA will be re-assessed.

3. Who will get the Universal Credit?

The Universal Credit can be awarded to a single person or to a couple jointly where one or both are under pension age.

Entitlement to the Universal Credit will also depend upon savings and earnings. It will not be payable if either is above a a certain limit - which we think will be about £16,000 for savings.

4. How does this affect Pensioners?

If you are a pensioner living on your own, or if your spouse is also a pensioner, your pension credit will be changed to take into consideration your rent.

But, if you are a couple and one of you is of 'working age', then you will have to claim Universal Credit.

5. What is Working Age?

Working Age means that you are too young to get your state pension.  When Universal Credit is introduced in October 2013, working age will be everyone younger than 61.

6. When will it start?

It will start in three phases.

  • The first phase will run from October 2013 to April 2014 and will cover new claimants, and existing claimants, whose circumstances change during that time.
  • The second phase will run from April 2014 to the end of 2015 and see existing claimants transferred across.
  • The third phase will run from the two years period to the end of 2017 when the remainder of claimants will be transferred over.

By the end of the third phase, every local Council will have clsoed all Housing Benefit offices.

7. How do I apply for Universal Credit?

You will have to apply on-line for Universal Credit.

8. How will Universal Credit be paid?

For most households Universal Credit will be paid in arrears as a single monthly payment into a bank account.  Where a couple make a joint claim they will have to decide who receives the single payment.

9. I have heard about a Bedroom Tax. What is that

At the moment if you are on full housing benefit it covers all your rent charge irrespective of the size of house or how many people stay there. However, from April next year, if you are of working age the level of rent benefit you get will reduce if your home is under occupied.
If you under occupy by 1 bedroom then 14% will be deducted from the money you get to cover your rent payments, this deduction will increase to 25% if you under occupy by 2+ bedrooms.

This means that you WILL NOT receive enough money to cover your rent in full!!

Under the new regulations, same gender children are required to share until they are 16 and mixed gender children have to share until they are 10. Meaning, for example, if you get housing benefit, have two sons (or two daughters) aged 12 and 14 by next April, who each has his/her own bedroom, then, under the new regulations, you will be deemed to be under occupying by one bedroom and your monthly housing benefit payment will be cut 14%. That will continue right up until your elder child turns 16 - the age at which regulations state that he/she is entitled to his/her own bedroom.

Separated parents who share the care of their children and who may have been allocated an extra bedroom for this will be affected too.
Foster carers will be affected because foster children are not counted as part of the household for benefit purposes.

10. What is the Non-Dependent Deduction?

As of April 2011, if the tenant has a non-dependent living with them (someone who is over 18) then their Housing Benefit will be reduced with the reduction being calculated based on the employment status and income of the non-dependent.  There are also a number of exemptions to the change laid out meaning that, in certain circumstances, the deduction will not be applied

11. At the moment Housing Benefit pay my rent directly to WDH. Will that change under Universal Credit?

In most cases yes, it will.  The rent element will form part of the monthly Universal Credit payment paid directly to you, the tenant.  It will then be up to you to pay your rent to us.

12. Will there be a cap on how much a household can receive in benefits?

From April 2013 benefits will be capped at £26,000 per annum for a couple or single parent and £18,000 per annum for a single person.

The Benefits Cap is designed to ensure that no workless family receives more in benefits than the average working household earnings - an estimated £26,000. It is planned that the Cap will take account of out of works benefits and other benefits such as Housing Benefit , Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit.

13. And what is Wishaw and District Housing going to do about it?

We are

  • Considering what benefits advice we may be able to provide
  • Identifying which households we think will be affected by the 'Bedroom Tax'
  • Assessing ways that make it easier for tenants to pay rent
  • Reviewing our Allocation Policy
  • Working closely with North Lanarkshire Council who are running a campaign called Your Money aiming to keep North Lanarkshire residents up to date with the changes