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.

  • Some, but not all, disabled or sick people will be affected. Check with us to find out if you may be affected
  • If you talk to us, we can help check you’re getting the right benefits, find out what your options are and help you improve your chances of getting a new or better paid job
  • Other options could be paying the extra rent yourself, taking in a lodger or maybe even moving to a smaller home
  • Contact our housing service team 0208 221 4000 email info@localspace.co.uk if you would like to know more.
  • The Government has cut the amount of housing benefit people will get if they are considered to have a ‘spare’ bedroom. If you have one spare bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% a week. If you have two or more spare bedrooms your housing benefit will be cut by 25% a week. It could apply to you if:
  • You receive housing benefit, even if it’s a small amount, and you have a home that’s too big for the number of people living there (this is according to the Government’s rules)
  • You are 16 to 61 years old. People old enough to get the state pension won’t be affected
  • It won’t apply to you if:
  • You don’t receive housing benefit. If you pay all your rent yourself, you won’t have to pay extra even if you have a spare bedroom
  • You live in a one-bedroom flat or bedsit
  • You don’t have more bedrooms in your home than your household needs (according to the Government’s rules)
  • You or your partner receive any pension credits
  • A benefits cap means there will be a limit on the total amount of money you will be paid if you’re of working age and on certain benefits
  • To begin with, the cap will only affect you if you’re getting housing benefit and you could get less money towards your rent
  • A single adult can claim up to £350 a week in benefits
  • Couples (with or without children) and single parents with children can claim no more than £500 a week
  • If you don’t get housing benefit, your benefits won’t be capped
  • You can read more about this on the Citizens Advice Bureau site here

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