Welfare Benefit Changes

There have been a number of changes to the UK benefits system since 2012 which may affects the benefits you are entitled to or the amount of money you receive. 

In this section we will:

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

What are the Changes?

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new simpler, single monthly payment for people who are on a low income or who are out of work. It replaces the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Benefit Cap

If you’re aged 16 or over and have not yet reached state pension age, there might be a limit on the total amount of benefit income you can get. The maximum amount you can now get in benefit income is:

  • £23,000 a year if you live in London
  • £20,000 a year if you live elsewhere in the UK.

Under Occupancy Charge

This is also referred to as the ‘spare room tax’. Your housing benefit may be cut by:

  • 14% if you are considered to have one spare bedroom
  • 25% if you have two spare bedrooms or more.

Where Can I Find Out More?

The Money Advice Service can help you check whether you are receiving the correct benefit entitlements.

Use the GOV.UK website to find out about how benefits and payments work. You can also use their eligibility calculator to find out what benefits you may be eligible to receive including: Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Heating and Housing Benefits, Carers and Disability Benefits, Family, Child and Bereavement Benefits.