Welfare Reform

Welfare Reform means that many people who currently claim benefits will be affected in some way. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the following advice and information.

Bedroom tax

From April 2013, if you live in a council or housing association home and you have one or more ‘spare’ bedrooms your housing benefit may be reduced.

You won’t be affected if:

  • you live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit, or if
  • you or your partner are old enough to receive pension credits. Pension credit age is currently 61 years and 6 months

Find more information on this leaflet: Housing benefit changes – advice and information for tenants web version

Benefit cap

From April 2013, the overall amount of benefit you can receive will be capped.

The Government will add up how much money you get from a range of benefits, including: housing benefit, jobseeker’s allowance, income support, employment support allowance, child benefit, child tax credit and carer’s allowance.

The maximum amount you will be able to receive is:

  • £500 per week for single parents
  • £500 per week for couples with or without children
  • £350 per week for single people without children.

This will not apply to you if:

  • you get pension credit or working tax credit
  • a member of your household is claiming disability living allowance, attendance allowance, industrial injuries benefits or the support element of employment support allowance.

Get more information about the cap on benefits by calling the Government’s information line on 0845 605 7064.

Changes to council tax benefit

From April 2013 Council Tax Benefit will be replaced by Council Tax Support.

According to Liverpool Council, under the new scheme, working age households will pay at least 8.5 per cent of their Council Tax bill. This includes working age claimants that currently pay no Council Tax as they are in receipt of benefits such as:

  • Income Support.
  • Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based).
  • Employment Support Allowance (Income Related)

Pension age customers will not be affected by this reduction and will receive a similar level of support as they received under the Council Tax Benefit scheme. The current pension age is just over 61 for both men and women.

To qualify for Council Tax Support, you must be:

  • On a low income.
  • The person responsible for paying the Council Tax.

Council Tax Support is calculated in the same way as Council Tax Benefit, by looking at your income, savings and household circumstances.

How to apply for Council Tax Support

If you are applying for help with your council tax for the first time, you will have to complete a claim form, from your council. They can be downloaded here:

Liverpool City Council Benefits and Council Tax Support Form

Wirral Council Benefits and Council Tax Support Form

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP’s)

Those suffering financial hardship because their Housing Benefit does not meet the full value of their rent, may be able to get a discretionary payment from the government to help.

The Government has set limits on how much Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) can be paid out in any financial year. These payments are made from a separate fund with a limited budget and are awarded as a short-term measure to help claimants experiencing difficult circumstances.

Find out how to apply for these DHP’s and to download the application form for either Liverpool City Council or The Wirral HERE.