Changes to Benefits

The Welfare Reform Act has brought significant changes to those claiming welfare benefits across the UK since it was passed in 2012.

It has been the biggest change to the welfare system for over 60 years and it has introduced a wide range of reforms that aim to make the benefits and tax credits systems fairer and simpler.

What is the purpose of these changes?

  • To encourage a back to work culture
  • To promote personal financial responsibility
  • To ensure that people are better off working, than on benefits
  • To discourage and reduce benefit fraud

What does it mean?

The Welfare Reform Act introduces:

  • Universal Credit
  • Direct payment of housing benefit to tenants
  • Changes to non-dependant deductions
  • New rules on under-occupation
  • New rules on shared accommodation

How will it work?

  • Currently your benefits are paid by three different agencies, Department for Work and Pensions, Brent Council and HM Revenue and Customs
  • Your housing benefit is currently paid directly to the council
  • Universal credit covers most existing benefits and will be paid directly to you monthly in arrears.

What further changes have/will there be?

Since 2016 -It will no longer be possible to make a new claim for the six existing benefits

  • Housing Benefit,
  • JSA (Income Based),
  • ESA (income Related),
  • Income Support,
  • Working Tax Credit,
  • Child Tax Credit,

Universal Credit will have to be claimed instead.

  • Since 2016 and during 2017, those still in receipt of the six benefits listed above will be transferred onto Universal Credit.

What you should do next?

  • Set up direct debits for rent payments
  • Notify the DWP and Brent Council immediately of any change in circumstances. The Financial Inclusion Team can assist if necessary.
  • Set up budgeting plans with utility companies
  • Ring Brent Council’s customer services before taking in any documents as they operate an appointment system
  • Set up a bank account from which rent and other bills can be paid
  • Obtain information about the under-occupation incentive scheme if you want to move to a smaller property.