If you claim benefits – it is likely that you will be affected by the changes introduced by the government in April 2013. Please see more information on the changes below:
Removal of the spare room subsidy (the “Bedroom Tax”)
The first change is that the Government is changing the rules about how many bedrooms you are entitled to. If you claim Housing Benefit and have more bedrooms than you are entitled to, you will lose money. You can find out more about the new rules on the removal of the spare room subsidy (the “Bedroom Tax”) page.
The next change is the Benefit Cap. Benefits will be capped at:
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re in a couple, whether your children live with you or not;
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re single and your children live with you;
- £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you’re single and you don’t have children, or your children don’t live with you.
Any Housing Benefit you get will be included in that amount. If the total amount of benefit you get, including Housing Benefits, comes to more than the cap, your Housing Benefit will go down. You will have to make up the difference from your other income or benefits.
Finally there is Universal Credit, where the Government will bring together a number of different benefits into a single payment.
All your money, including housing benefit, will be paid straight to you by Direct Payments so it will be your responsibility to manage your money and pay your rent.
When do the changes start?
The first changes to bedroom rules and benefit caps were introduced in April 2013.
Universal Credit for single applicants has now been rolled out to many areas. The second tranche – for all households who have a change of circumstances or new claim – is rolling out now. Of the Local Authority areas which bpha covers, changes are being made in Daventry from Autumn 2016 and other areas are currently awaiting their roll out dates from the DWP.