Welfare Reform Update
Removal of Family Premium for HB
From the 1st of May 2016 the family premium will be removed for new HB claims. This will also apply to people who have a break in their claim, and have to make a fresh claim.
This will not have an impact for changes such as change of address or where income has changed for a claimant.
Backdating of Housing Benefit Claims
From the 1st of April 2016 the maximum backdate for Housing Benefit will be reduced from 6 months to 1 month. As previously continuous good cause will need to be shown to receive the backdate (Pensioners remain at three months).
Temporary Absence from Great Britain
From the 30th of May 2016 the period of time that people who are temporarily absent from outside Great Britain can claim Housing Benefit will be amended. In the main the current 13 weeks has been reduced to 4 weeks, however for different circumstances there are different timescales.
Working Age Benefit Freeze
From April 2016 there has been a four year freeze in working age benefits and tax credits, including LHA rates.
Universal Credit Work Allowance
From April 2016 the amount that you can earn before your UC is impacted is changing. For non-disabled claimants without children then every pound of income will reduce the UC award. Similarly for those with childcare costs the amount you can earn without losing UC will be £192 per month.
Where a claimant has had their JSA claim sanctioned there has been reiteration that this should not cancel the Housing Benefit claim. There is no need for a new claim as a sanction is not treated as a disallowance.
In Autumn 2016 the Benefit Cap will be reduced from £500 to £385 per week for families and couples, and from £350 to £258 for singles. While this will not impact as many households as the under occupancy changes the impact on these households could be much more significant with some losing all their Housing Benefit. The DWP are currently writing to all households who may be affected, and are going to pass on a list to each Local Authority so that the effects can be mitigated.
Restrictions for families with 2 or more children
For any children born after the 6th of April 2017, for households where there are two or more children there will be restrictions in dependant premiums in Housing Benefit, Universal Credit as well as Child Benefit.
UC Housing Support Restrictions
From April 2017 new claimants who are under 21 and unemployed will not be automatically entitled to the Housing Element of Universal Credit. They would not be entitled to claim DHP as a result of this. It is envisaged that UC claimants in specified accommodation would still be able to claim Housing Benefit.
LHA rates in the Social Sector
From April 2018, the LHA rules will be extended and Housing Benefit will be capped at the LHA rate for social sector tenancies when there is a change after April 2018. This will include those subject to the under 35 shared room rate.
The advertising cycle over the Christmas period wil run from 26th December 2015 until 6th January 2016.
3 Bed House – 8 months (56 properties offered)
2 Bed House – 13 months (53 properties offered)
2 GFF – 6 months
2 UFF – 9 months
1 GFF – 7 months
1 UFF – 8 months
Bungalow – 2 years 3 months
Bedsit – 2 months
I hope you find this information useful however, should you have any queries please telephone 0800 953 0213
We are always aiming to improve our service to customers and have therefore worked to deliver an improved website. We hope all our customers find the new system easy to use, however, should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us 0800 655 6785.