Disability Law Service

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The Disability Law Service is no longer funded to provide advice on Welfare Benefit issues, you can however use the information resources in this website to assist with your issue please refer to our factsheets and the information below.

Alternatively contact: http://legaladviserfinder.justice.gov.uk/

Welfare Benefits Changes coming into force 2010 - 2015

Please find below a list of some of the changes that the government are bringing into force over the coming years.

Please note that this page will be updated as changes come into effect and the government provides further information. If you feel that any of the changes will affect you, and you need further information then please contact your local benefits office for clarification.

Housing Benefit, April 2011

Under reforms, housing benefit will be capped as of April 2011, and under the new rules no one can be paid more than £400 per week. There will be current housing benefit payment 'protection' of 9 months, which should allow people time to take measures, which may include finding alternative accommodation.

When the 9 month protection ends in January 2012 the effects of the cap will become apparent and individuals may be able to request Discretionary Housing Payments. This will not affect anyone who moved into their current property before the 7th April 2008 unless you live in one of the following areas Argyll and Bute, Blackpool, Brighton and Hove, Conwy, Coventry, East Riding of Yorkshire, Edinburgh, Guildford, Leeds, Lewisham, North East Lincolnshire, Norwich, Pembrokeshire, St Helens, Salford, South Norfolk, Teignbridge and Wandsworth.

The cap is as follows:

There is an additional reform which allow a household an extra bedroom, within the size criteria, where a disabled customer or their partner (with a long term health condition), has a need for overnight care that is provided by a non-resident carer.

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Housing Benefit, April 2012
As of April 2012, under the Welfare Reform Bill 2010 the single room rate which currently applies to those the age of 25 will increase to the age of 35. There will be exceptions to this for a variety of people.

Housing Benefit, April 2013
Working Age claimants will have their Housing Benefit restricted for under occupying a property if they are in receipt of Jobseekers allowance.

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Working Tax Credit, April 2011
Couples must work 24 hours a week and one must work at least 16 hours rather than 16 hours in total to be able to receive WTC.

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Pension Credit Saving Credit, April 2011 – April 2015
The maximum amount of Pension Credit Savings Credit is frozen for 4 years which means there will not be the yearly April uplift.

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Employment Support Allowance Contributory, April 2012
The youth version of ESA is no longer available for new claimants from April 2012,

Secondly claimants with an award of ESA will see the awards limited to one year of the benefit from April 2012. If a person has been in receipt of ESA before April 2012 for a year or more then they will see there awards end immediately. This is not the case for those whom qualify for the ESA Support group.

Please read our factsheets:

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Disability Living Allowance, October 2012
Under the Welfare reform bill 2010 from October 2012 the mobility component is removed for those in care homes as far as statute goes. It is reported that the DWP will not put this into practice until March 2013.

Please read our DLA factsheets:

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Household benefit Cap, April 2013
Households of claimants of benefit will see the total amount they receive capped at £500 per week if they are a couple and £350 per week if they are single. This will not be enforced for households were a member of the household is in receipt of DLA or Attendance Allowance.

Until the introduction of Universal Credit the cap will apply to the main income related benefits including the following:

Jobseekers Allowance
Income support
Employment and Support Allowance
Housing Benefit
Council tax benefit
Child benefit
Carers Allowance
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

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Universal Credit, October 2013
Under the welfare reform bill 2010 universal credit will replace a variety of benefits including the following for new claimants:

Before October 2013 
Working tax credit                                                                   
Child tax credit
Employment Support Allowance (income based)
Jobseekers Allowance (income based)                                      Universal credit
Housing benefit
Council tax benefit

From October 2013
Universal credit

Claimants whom are already receiving the above benefits will continue to receive them and will then be slowly transferred. The above system is to be run via a single computer system which will connect with the Inland Revenue systems.

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Personal Independence Payments – 2013/2014
Disability Living Allowance will be replaced around 2013/2014 for Adults by Personal Independence Payments ‘PIP’ under the Welfare Reform Bill 2010. PIP will again be made up of two components as with Disability Living Allowance ‘DLA’. To be eligible for PIP a person will have to have suffered from a disability for 6 months instead of 3 months and they will have to show that they will have the disability for a further 6 months.

Under PIP it will be extremely rare for anyone to be given an indefinite award of PIP unlike DLA.

To view our response to the DWP's consultation on PIP click here.

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If you need to talk to a legal adviser about your problems that you have with disability related benefits please call our advice line, 020 7791 9800.