Welfare Benefit Changes

The government has made changes to the rules for some benefits. This is called welfare reform.

In this section we’ll:

  • Help you understand some of the things that have changed, or are changing
  • Help you work out what it means to you
  • Help you get advice and support, if you need it.

What are the changes so far?

The two big changes brought in so far affect:

  • People who get paid between £350 and £500 in total in benefits each week (this change is called the ‘benefits cap’)


  • People who are on housing benefit and who also have a spare bedroom (this change is the under-occupancy charge, which has also been called the ‘bedroom tax’)

What are the future changes?

The future changes will affect many more people who receive benefits. It won’t affect the amount of money they get, but it will change the way they’re paid.

  • The people who will be affected include people who receive income support, housing benefit and working and family tax credits.
  • In the future, they will get just one single payment of all their benefits once a month; this payment is called universal credit.
  • The single payment will all be paid (including any help they get with their rent) straight into a bank, building society or Post Office account.
  • It’s already started in for some areas. And will be rolled out through the rest of the country.
  • If you receive any of these benefits, you’ll be told when it’s going to start where you live. But you may not know until much nearer the time.


  • More about the benefits cap

  • Do you have a spare room? 

  • Other useful things to know