If you’re on benefits, changes are coming in 2013

posted by in Debt, Welfare Benefits

Need to find out more about benefit changes? Visit our main website to read more about all the benefit changes in 2013. If you need financial help as a result of your benefits going down, visit Debt Remedy.

The changes could leave you with less cash

The changes could leave you with less cash

There are some big changes to housing and other benefits that will come into effect in April 2013.

If you receive housing benefit to help you pay your rent it’s important that you understand these changes to see if you’ll be affected and what you should do.

Let us take you through the changes so you can start to plan now.

Do you have ‘spare’ bedrooms?

If you live in a council or housing association home and you have one or more ‘spare’ bedrooms, you’ll receive less housing benefit from April 2013.

Under the new rules you’re allocated one bedroom for:

  • Each adult couple
  • Any other person aged 16 or over
  • Two children of the same gender under the age of 16
  • Two children under the age of 10 regardless of their gender
  • Any other child
  • A carer (who doesn’t normally live with you) if you or your partner need overnight care.

For example, if you live in a three-bedroomed house and have a 12 year old daughter and 15 year old son, you won’t have any spare bedrooms. But, if you have 2 sons aged 12 and 15 and you live in a three-bedroomed house, your council will say you have one spare bedroom.

If you have a spare bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% of the rent you pay every week. If you have two or more spare bedrooms you’ll lose 25%.

You won’t be affected if you or your partner are old enough to receive pension credits (currently 61 years and 6 months).

2013 benefit caps

From April 2013 the overall amount of benefits you can receive will be limited. This could affect you even if you don’t have any spare bedrooms.

If you receive more than one benefit, they’ll be added up to calculate a total. This includes housing benefit, jobseeker’s allowance, employment support allowance, child benefit, child tax credit and carer’s allowance.

It won’t apply to you if you receive pension credit, working tax credit or if someone in the household is claiming disability living allowance, attendance allowance or the support element of employment support allowance.

If your total is more than the maximum amount allowed, your housing benefit will be reduced to bring it under the threshold.

The maximum you can receive will be:

  • £500 per week if you’re a single parent
  • £500 per week if you’re a couple with or without children
  • £350 per week if you’re single without children

Changes to council tax benefit

Local councils run their own schemes; these differ from one area to the next. Some councils may have a reduced amount of funding available from April 2013, which could mean that your support is cut.

What should you do if you think you might be affected?

It’s best to get advice now rather than waiting until the changes come in. Here are some practical steps you can take now:

  • Use our benefits checker to ensure you’re getting all of the benefits you’re entitled to
  • Get more information by calling the Government’s DWP helpline on 0845 605 7064
  • Seek benefit advice from gov.uk or turn2us.org.uk
  • Contact your local council to find out what cuts are being made in your area
  • Speak to your housing provider to see if you can transfer to a smaller home

If the changes mean you’ll struggle with unsecured debts contact us for help and advice. We can also look at your entitlement to make sure you’re claiming everything you can.

Pavan Gata-Aura is a qualified debt advisor with 6 years of experience. She enjoys spending time with her two children, fundraising for charities, has spent time volunteering in Africa and takes part in organised races.

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Tags Debt Welfare Benefits
  • mel

    My partner has his own flat and the dwp pay £180 towards his rent and he then pays the £120 himself. If i move in would they pay anything towards the rent for myself??

    • http://www.stepchange.org MoneyAware

      Hi there

      It’s hard to say how the DWP will deal with the payment as we don’t know enough about your situation. If you yourself are on benefits, they may continue to pay some of your partner’s rent. If you are working, they are likely to expect you to contribute.

      It might be worth going through our online benefits checker to see where you stand.

      Hope this helps

      Best regards

      Rachel

  • cristina laos

    HI, IM WORKING 16 HOURS A WEEK AND HAVE A CHILD (IM SEPARATED). I BEENG LIVIN IN A STUDIO FLAT WITH MY CHILD FOR 7 YEARS AND ITS BEEN HARD FOR ME TO FIND A 2 BED FLAT WHERE THE LANDLORD CAN ACCEPT DSS. I CURRENTLY RECIBE HOUSING BENEFIT £ 319,87 MOST OF THE TIME AND SOME OTHER TIMES £250. I NORMALLY PAY £50 OR SOMETHIMES MORE FROM MY WAGES FOR THE RENT , I NOW I HAVE FOUND THIS FLAT IN £1100PCM AND ONLY TO PAY GAS BILL . MAY QUESTION IS HOW MUCH HOUSING WILL HELP ME ? IST A RIGHT DESITION TO MOVE TO THIS PLACE? ( I BEEN LOOKING FOR A FLAT FOR A LONG TIME AND THIS IS THE FIRTS WHIT OUT BILLS, THE FIRST LANDLORD WHO ACCEPT DSS, BUT THERE IS OTHER FLATS IN MY AREA WHITH PRICES OF £300 OR MORE A WEEK THAT ACCEP DSS BUT IM WORRIE IF IS GOING TO BE TOO MUCH AND THEN HOUSING WOULD NOT HELP ME . SHOULD I MOVE TO THE OTHER FLAT?

    • http://moneyaware.co.uk StepChange MoneyAware

      Hi there,

      I’m afraid we can’t give a definitive answer on this as it all depends from one landlord to another. You should be able to find out from the benefits office just how much of your rent they are able to cover. The key thing is that always ensure your priority living expenses are paid. If you have things such as loans, credit cards, overdrafts, catalogues or storecards, these are non-priority and you can look to reducing the payments on these if you absolutely have to in order to make ends meet.

      It might also be worth trying our benefits checker after you’ve spoken to your benefit office to ensure you’re getting everything you’re entitled to: http://www.stepchange.org/Howwecanhelpyou/Benefitscheck.aspx

      Hope this helps

      Best regards

      Rachel

  • jani

    Hi I receive DLA with low rates of carer and housing benefit for single bedroom flat. I want to move my adult son with me so that he can help me with chorus. He is also full time employed. Will he have to contribute in payment of the house rent or any sort if he moves in with me? If so than how much? We are plan to adjust in same single room flat?
    Would be glad to hear ur expert advice…ta

    • moneyaware

      Hi Jani

      If your son is full-time employed and he moves in with you he will probably need to contribute to the household costs in some way.

      The best people to speak to regarding this would be your local authority who can be more specific about what he would be expected to pay and if he would be entitled to any carer’s allowance.

      Best regards

      Rachel

  • kimbob

    hi im currently in receipt of dla and esa i live in a 2bedroom home and have to pay the bedroom tax i receieve housing benefit, if i were to move my older brother who is currently homeless into my home will i have to pay any extra rent he himself is on jsa and would the council pay towards his room that he would rent

    • moneyaware

      Hi,
      Thank you for your question.

      Your brother would be classed as a non-dependent and the housing department will decide whether to apply a non-dependent deduction from your housing benefit.

      Because you are on DLA they may not want to apply a deduction but this is dependent on whether you get the care element of DLA or not. If you do it’s likely you’ll get full housing benefit.

      If you only get the mobility element then you’ll get a £13.40 a week deduction which might be higher than the 14% bedroom tax deduction. This will increase if your brother finds a job.

      Your brother cannot claim housing benefit or Council Tax support as he will be treated as a non-dependent and so any housing costs or board he pays you will have to come out of his JSA.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks,
      Jess

  • tee

    Hi im currently claiming housing benefit and maternity allowance im curently pregnant due soon and only recieving 350 pm from.maternity allowance and 25pound per week for housing benefit . Now my rent is 450 pm and if u total up what i get im literally having to spend my maternity allowance all of it on rent im not happy about this atall how am i supposed to pay bills feed myself bring up my child im a single parent have no other kids first child and this is what im earning i cannot afford anything i have gas electric and water bills overdue borrowed money from family and frienda and im soon going to go into debt! Im afraid of actually stressing out so bad that i wont be able to look after myslf or my child is there any other help i can get any benefits i can claim im off work for maternity leave and couldnt get maternity pay so thats why im.getting maternity allowance its all stressing me out and i know il be able to get child benefit and child tax credits but yet that wont be enought to afford to support my child or pay any bills HELP!

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us

      We have a benefits checker you can use to identify any additional benefits you’re entitled to: http://www.stepchange.org/Howwecanhelpyou/Benefitscheck.aspx

      Because you mentioned dealing with some understandable stress in preparation for your baby’s arrival, it might be worth getting in touch with your local surestart centre. They can provide advice and support for mums to be and all through the early years of motherhood:

      https://www.gov.uk/find-sure-start-childrens-centre

      If you’re dealing with unsecured debt such as loans, credit cards, overdrafts, catalogues and store cards, we can help you get these under control so you can focus on higher priority household bills. Our online advice tool Debt Remedy can give you a solution in just 20 minutes: http://www.stepchange.org/debtremedy.aspx?domain=www.MoneyAware.co.uk

      Hope this helps. Please write again if you have further questions.

      Best regards

      Rachel

  • cymay

    Hi i am claiming maternity allowance which is less money than my wages it hasnt affected my tax credits but has altered my housing benefit and council tax benefit to me having to find an extra 90.00 a month but i dont understand how niw im getting less money they want me to pay more and as a single mother 90.00 is a lot of money for me to have to find does anyone know why this is happening

    • moneyaware

      Hi cymay,

      Benefits can get very complicated, so it’s hard for me to comment without knowing your full situation.

      As a general rule though, I’d expect housing benefit and council tax benefit to go up when your income goes down, so it sounds like something’s gone wrong.

      I’d recommend asking for your claim to be looked at again and asking why your entitlement has been reduced.

      Kind regards

      James

  • tony

    me and my wife are on full benefits housing council tax income support carers for my 9 year old son who is on disability living allowance we have aspare room for which we pay bedroomtax our 18 year old who works wants to move in will we lose our benefits if so by how much

    • moneyaware

      Hi Tony,

      Give us a call on 0800 138 1111 – we have a dedicated benefits team who should be able to give some advice.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

      Mat

  • karen

    Hi I am 54 and worked all my adult life.. I have brought up 3 children one is still living at home but at present at university in a different city. in June he will re start to live here permanently. I have lived in my 3 bedroomed council property for 20 years I have always paid full rent and poll tax never claimed any benefits. due to Ill health i may have to think about leaving my job with my disabilities I would find it difficult to get new employment. I have applied for PIP and waiting for the paperwork. I do not wish to leave my property I have put a lot of money into the house and this is my home. I am worried how much benefit I could get.. At one time it used to be Social Security and now its Job seekers allowance etc I am really really lost with all this benefit. so I would be looking at a single person up to june then my no doubt university educated son will struggle to get any employment. I am classed as disabled will I have enough money to live on.. I spent all my savings on sending my son to university so my bank balance is now practically nil…. if any one can help I would really appreciate the help…

    • http://moneyaware.co.uk StepChange MoneyAware

      Hi Karen and thanks for your question.

      Have you had a full benefits entitlement check? Our free checker could be a good place to start as you can enter your expected circumstances and it will tell you what you are entitled to and give you advice on where and how to claim: http://www.stepchange.org/Howwecanhelpyou/Benefitscheck.aspx.

      I hope this helps,
      Pavan

    • C Pryce

      I do sympathise Karen – I am in a very similar position. I raised my son as a single mum since he’s 9 wks old with no maintenance, no help. I worked 2 jobs to cover the bills etc. Then I developed severe arthritis and it got to the point a year ago where I was told I couldnt work anymore it was damaging my joints, so I had to claim DLA etc. Very shameful in my eyes, I hate it. However, we had a small legacy from my parents which went to my son to fund university, first car, leaving home etc. Of course now he’s at Uni its not a problem as he is classed as a non-dependent adult on the student exemption. But I am worried half to death about what we will do when he graduates… Will his savings reduce my benefits and HB? Will he find a job quickly enough to avoid rent arrears? Like you, my savings are now down to literally a small ‘emergency’ fund – I cannot afford to spend them on rent. Whenever I ask Council/etc for advice they tel me its an ‘unusual’situation. I thought these politicians were supposed to be encouraging the children of ‘ordinary’ families to go to Uni, why are they making it so hard for us?!? Not just the current Govt – the last Labour lot were just as bad bringing in bedroom tax for private tenants – loads of us have to rent privately because they dont build council houses anymore!

    • moneyaware

      Hi Karen,

      I’m really sorry that we didn’t answer this question sooner, I’m not sure if there was a technical hiccup somewhere.

      If you still need help with benefits then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ve got a dedicated welfare benefits team who would be happy to talk to you about your situation.

      We’ll also be able to speak to you about any debts or help you if you’ve fallen behind with any of your household bills.

      You can find details of how to get in touch with us at http://www.stepchange.org/contactus.aspx.

      Hope this helps, once again sorry for not replying sooner.

      Rory

  • moneyaware

    Hi there,

    If your brother and his new wife are living together then it’s important that they update their benefit claims.

    It wouldn’t be a case of her having her benefits stopped, it would be more that they would be assessed together and their entitlement as a couple would be worked out.

    Benefits can get very complicated, so I don’t have enough information to say what the best thing to claim would be. I’d recommend they have a benefits check.

    Our online benefits checker is useful for situations like this: http://www.stepchange.org/Howwecanhelpyou/Benefitscheck.aspx/.

    Kind regards

    James

  • Chris

    Hi There,

    I am currently a 24 year old man still living at home with my parents who receive benefits. Because of my earnings the local council are saying my mum and dad don’t receive full housing benefit. I am not on the tenancy agreement so is this legal? also if i move out, would my parents be liable for any arrears or does the arrears cease as soon as i move out? is there any way around this so i don’t have to pay it? what are the possible consequences if i don’t pay it? thanks chris

    • moneyaware

      Hi Chris,

      Housing benefits are assessed on the household composition. It doesn’t matter if you are on the tenancy or not.

      Have a check a run through our benefits checker for more advice http://www.stepchange.org/Howwecanhelpyou/Benefitscheck.aspx

      If you moved out and your parents had arrears they would need to repay them, but their benefits may increase in line with this.

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

      Mat

  • susie

    susie
    I live in my own house and I am retired, and living on my pension,I pay no Council tax as I receive Pension credits, my daughter would like to stay with me as she has left her home and she will be on JSA, will this affect my Council
    Tax and Pension Cedits? thanks

    • http://moneyaware.co.uk StepChange MoneyAware

      Hi there Susie,

      We can have a look at your situation for you and see if there are any changes to your entitlement you need to be aware of before your daughter moves in. Please give our Helpline a call and they will be able to put you in touch with our Welfare Benefits team (please note that they will need to go through your budget with you which will take about 20 minutes). Our Helpline number is 0800 138 1111 free from all phones inc. mobiles.

      Best regards

      Rachel

  • julie

    can u plz tell me how much housing benefits im entitled to ? my 2 sons live with me and their over the age of 16

  • jackie

    Could Any One Tell Me When U Are Paying Bedroom Tax Can They Add D L A In With It Thank U

    • moneyaware

      Hi Jackie

      ‘Bedroom tax’ is a reduction of the housing benefit you are getting, so this would not affect your Disability Living Allowance claim.

      Hope this helps

      Kind regards

      Rachel

  • moneyaware

    Hi Jackie,

    I’m having some difficulty understanding the situation fully.

    As Rachel mentioned, bedroom tax is a separate type of reduction on your housing benefit and this shouldn’t be affected by any other types of income or benefits you receive.

    If you have any concerns or questions then you could speak to your local housing authority or the benefits office who should be able to answer your question in more detail for you.

    Thanks

    Rory