How benefits are changing
Universal Credit was introduced in Powys from 10th October 2018. This means we will no longer be able to accept new Housing Benefit claims from 10th October 2018 for working age people.
There are some exceptions:
- if you live in Supported Accommodation
- if you live in Temporary Accomodation
- if you are entitled to receive a Severe Disability Premium (see below for more details)
- If one of you is pension age but the other is working age. These are called "mixed age couple".
You can currently chose whether to claim Universal Credit OR Pension Credit and Housing Benefit (more details below)
From 01/2/2019 people with more than 3 children can now claim Universal Credit.
Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment, and Council Tax Benefit has been replaced by local Council Tax Reduction Schemes. There are also changes to Housing Benefit and the Social Fund and an overall cap has been introduced to the amount you can get in benefits.
If you receive Universal Credit and another benefit such as Child Benefit/Personal Independence Payment/Carers Allowance or what is classed as "unearned income" then you may receive an incorrect Council Tax Bill. Your bill may show a reduced entitlement to Council Tax Reduction. We are working to correct this and new bills will be issued in the week 1/4/2019 showing your corrected Council Tax Reduction if applicable.
However, the regulations for Welsh authorities have required that no disregards are applied to any earned incomes for Council Tax Reduction claims in which the claimant or partner has Universal Credit income. Up until now anyone receiving Universal Credit and working was getting an additional disregard off their earnings.
Powys County Council will be implementing this regulation from 1st April 2019. If you receive Universal Credit and also work then you may be entitled to less Council Tax Reduction from 1st April 2019.
Universal Credit is a new type of financial support for people of working age who are looking for work or on a low income. It's being introduced gradually between April 2013 and 2023.
It will be a simpler, single monthly payment for people in or out of work, which merges together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now. These are:
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
Universal Credit will be a single, monthly payment into a bank account you choose.
If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment - you'll then pay your landlord yourself. If you and your partner are both eligible, you will get one monthly payment for the household.
Universal Credit will generally be managed online. You make your claim online, then check on your payments and updates through your online account.
There are no limits on how many hours a week you can work if you're claiming Universal Credit. Instead, the amount you'll get will gradually reduce as you earn more, so you won't lose all your benefits at once.
Get an estimate of how much Universal Credit you'll be entitled to by using the benefit calculator from entitledto.co.uk which will estimate all your entitlements including Universal Credit.
Severe Disability Premium
The Severe Disability Premium (SDP) is an extra amount which should be included in the assessment for some claimants with care needs (depending on their circumstances) when their Income Related ESA, Income Based JSA, Income Support or Housing Benefit is assessed.
Entitlement to the SDP is based on 3 factors:
- Receiving a 'qualifying' disability benefit ie daily living component of Personal Independence Payment, mid or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, Armed Forces Independence Payment, constant Attendance Allowance (or Attendance Allowance),
- Not living with non-disabled partner or non-disabled non-dependant ie who is not getting a 'qualifying' disability benefit, and
- Nobody getting paid* Carer's Allowance or has the Carer Element# included in an award of UC for looking after the claimant.
This is a very complicated rule please seek further advice if required.
Mixed Age Couples:
Generally, a 'mixed age' couple will be better off on the legacy benefit system ie claiming Pension Credit, Housing Benefit etc.
This is because:
- When working out how much a mixed age couple needs to live on - it is over £100 per week less under Universal Credit.
- The younger member may be subject to work search conditions under Universal Credit.
- Unlike the legacy benefit rules - which work from the older member's age, these 'mixed age' couples on Universal Credit will be subject to the Universal Credit rules - therefore subject to the social housing Bedroom Tax and Benefit Cap when their Universal Credit claim is assessed.
- On Pension Credit and / or HB, they may be entitled to premiums they are not entitled to under UC eh the severe disability premium.
- They may lose support linked to Pension Credit such as cheaper utilities, maximum Council Tax Support (for people on Guarantee Pension Credit) etc.