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Welfare Reforms

The Vale Council invites its customers to attend the Council Offices for help with Welfare Reform advice in relation to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. 

 

You can check to see if you are entitled to any other benefits online at either Turn2Us or Your Benefits are changingor call 0300 303 1073 for links to independent advice.

  

From April 2017 the following changes are coming in:

  • Housing Benefit and Child Tax Credits are restricted to two children. Existing claims with three or more children will not be affected by this change, unless a child joins the household in the future. Please note that Housing Benefit will follow decisions made by Tax Credits – if a child is not included in the Child Tax Credits assessment, they will not be included in the Housing Benefit assessment. This change does not however affect the bedroom calculation.
  • Additional bedrooms can be allowed in certain cases if you and your partner are unable to share a bedroom due to disability and if a non-dependant or child requires overnight care.
  • Many young people between the ages of 18 and 21 are unable to claim either Housing Benefit or help with housing costs through Universal Credit.
  • The Work Related Activity Component in Employment Support Allowance has ended for new claims. Customers may still be placed in the Work Related Activity Group but will not receive additional income.

 

Welfare reform

Welfare Reform

Are you affected?

I am a Council Tax payer. Will I qualify for the Council Tax Reduction Scheme?

All Council Tax payers -  April 2013

How will I manage when Universal Credit starts in the Vale?

Working age Benefit claimants - 

February 2017

Am I in a property affected by the Accommodation Cap?

Council and Housing Association

working age tenants -  April 2013

Will the Benefit Cap affect me? 

All working age tenants - 

September 2013

Will I be able to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)?

All HB claimants - April 2013

How am I affected by  Non Dependant Deductions?

All Benefit claimants - April 2013

How will I be affected by the Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?

Private tenants - April 2013

Will I qualify for Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment?

Working age claimants - April 2012

How do I apply and do I qualify for the Social Fund?

All DWP claimants - April 2013

Housing Benefit backdates limited to one month

All HB claimants -  April 2016

End of the Family premium for new Housing Benefit claims

All HB claimants with children - May 2016

Restriction of Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit to two children

All CTC and HB claimants - April 2017

Restriction of housing costs through Universal Credit/Housing Benefit for 18-22 year oldS

All UC/HB claimants aged 18 to 21  - April 2017

End of Work Related Activity Group in ESA

All ESA/HB claimants - April 2017

Addtional bedrooms allowed for certain households with disabled members

All HB claimants - April 2017

  

Council Tax Reduction (CTR) 

For 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18, the Welsh Government have made new CTR regulations which replicate the previous regulations and with the same discretions available to the Council.

 

The Council has decided after consultation that it would adopt the National Scheme with the following discretions

  • the Council should continue to allow extended payments up to a maximum of four weeks
  • the Council should continue to disregard War Widow and War Disablement pensions in assessing income
  • that the Council should continue to allow backdated benefit for a period of up to 26 weeks
  • that the council should adopt the minimum requirements specified in the regulations when issuing notification of decisions

 

This will significantly improve the financial position for those vulnerable households who would have faced increases in their council tax bills, as well as those who would have had to contribute to their council tax bills for the first time.

 

Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Universal Credit

Universal Credit was rolled out in the Vale of Glamorgan from February 2016 and replaces a number of means-tested benefits for single working-age claimants. Key aspects of Universal Credit include:

  • Apply Online: It is expected that most claimants will apply online
  • Paid Direct Monthly in Arrears: Benefit will be paid direct to the claimant, monthly in arrears
  • Single Monthly Payment: Universal Credit will be paid via a single monthly payment, a change for most recipients who will be used to working on a basis of fortnightly payments.
  • Direct Payments: Most working-age claimants will receive the Housing Benefit component of Universal Credit paid as part of their monthly payment. For some people, described as ‘vulnerable’ it is accepted that direct payment is not appropriate, and there will be a mechanism within Universal Credit to facilitate the payment of the benefit directly to the landlord.
  • Tougher penalties for benefit fraud: A tougher approach to benefit fraud and error by introducing a range of harsher penalties for serious offences. 

 

Universal Credit

Accommodation Cap

Commonly referred to as ‘bedroom tax’, from April 2013, Council and Housing Association tenants under pension age who have one or more ‘spare’ bedrooms will have their Housing Benefit reduced.

 

The number of bedrooms to which a household is entitled is based on the age and number of occupants. In some occasions, an additional bedroom can be awarded if certain conditions are met.

 

If anyone in your household requires regular overnight care from someone who does not usually live with you; if you and your partner or your children cannot share a bedroom due to disability; or if you have foster children, please contact the Benefits office:

 

Accommodation Cap

Benefit Cap

From April 2013, a limit was introduced on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive. The limit was lowered in November 2016. The Benefit Cap is applied by reducing Housing Benefit payments.

 

Benefit Cap

Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments are additional payments to assist people in receipt of Housing Benefit who are experiencing financial hardship and are unable to make up the difference between their Housing Benefit award and their rental liability.

 

Discretionary Housing Payments 

Non Dependent Deductions

If you have an adult who is not your partner living in your home, they are expected to contribute to the running costs of the home, including any rental or Council Tax charges. This will mean there will be a reduction in the amount of housing benefit you can claim.

 

Non Dependant Deductions

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a flat rate allowance based on the size of the household and area in which a person lives and is used to calculate the maximum amount of Housing Benefit that can be awarded for tenants in privately rented accommodation.

 

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payments

Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for working-age claimants between the ages of 16 to 64.

 

Customers receiving DLA are being contacted via letter from the Department for Works and Pensions to make a new claim for PIP.

Social Fund

The Social Fund has been abolished from April 2013, however the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will continue to manage short term advances and hardship payments.

 

Social Fund

 

 

Council Tax Section

Civic Offices

Holton Road

Barry

CF63 4RU 

  • 01446 709564

 

 

Benefit Section

Civic Offices

Holton Road

Barry

CF63 4RU 

  • 01446 709244

 

 

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