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Welfare Reform

If you have 1 or more bedrooms than you need, your Housing Benefit entitlement will be reduced by 14% for one room and by 25% for 2 or more bedrooms.

To find-out how the Welfare Reforms may affect you, take a look at our Under-Occupancy Housing Benefit Calculator which can be found HERE

Bedroom Tax

New rules are being introduced by the Government in April 2013 regarding the size of the property you need.

If you are seen as living in a property that is too big for you, your Housing Benefit WILL be reduced. This means that you will have to pay the difference between the Housing Benefit you are given and the rent you need to pay.

It is not just people with spare bedrooms who this affects. The rules assume that couples and single adults need their own bedroom. For children who live in the property full-time:

  • two boys or two girls aged under 16 will be assumed to share a bedroom
  • as will a boy & girl under 10.
  • exceptions may be made if you need an extra bedroom due to disabilities, a foster child or a child who does not live full-time in the property.

If you have 1 or more bedrooms than you need, your Housing Benefit entitlement will be reduced by 14% for one room and by 25% for 2 or more bedrooms.

 

Need further support?

Use the Housing Benefit Under-Occupancy Calculator to work out how many bedrooms you are allowed and how much your Housing Benefit will drop because of the Bedroom Tax.

If you decide to move to a smaller home you will need to:

  • apply to the Association’s Transfer & Exchange Scheme
  • register with the Choice Based Lettings Scheme via Birmingham City Council
  • register at www.homeswapper.co.uk

Other places to get support:

To find out more about your benefits and to get help and support contact the Benefits advisor service on

 

Benefits Cap

From April 2013 the government are going to impose a cap on the total amount of welfare benefits people of working age can receive.

The limit is likely to be a maximum of:

  • £500 a week for lone parents and couples with or without children, &
  • £350 a week for single people

Changes to the benefit cap

The government has announced reductions to the benefit cap.  These changes will take effect in Autumn 2016.

The total amount a household will be able to claim in benefits is:

  • £442.31 a week in London
  • £384.62 a week outside London

The total amount a single person will be able to claim in benefits is :

  • £296.35 a week in London
  • £257.69 a week outside London

 

Benefits included in the cap Benefits not included in the cap
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Carers Allowance
  • Widowed Parents Allowance and so on
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Disability Living Allowance/Industrial Injuries Benefits/PIP
  • War widow/widowers benefit.

To calculate if the Benefit cap will apply to you, visit www.gov.uk

Universal Credit

Universal Credit begins for new claimants from October 2013 and replaces a number of benefits and Housing Benefit with one single monthly payment. Existing claimants will be transferred to Universal Credit over a four year period.

The benefit Universal Credit replaces: Benefits excluded from Universal Credit are:
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment & Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Contribution Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Contributory Employment & Support Allowance
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Carers Allowance
  • Bereavement Benefits
  • Statutory Maternity Pay & Maternity Allowance.

Housing Benefit will no longer be paid direct to St Peter’s, but straight to the person claiming it. Universal Credit will be paid directly into a bank account monthly in arrears. The easiest way to pay the rent is by Direct Debit/Standing Order. Remember, your home is at risk if you do not pay your rent.

Non-Dependant Deductions

Do you get Housing Benefit to help you pay for your rent?

Do you have someone living with you aged 18 or over, other than your partner?

Someone who lives with you who is aged 18 or over and who is not a joint tenant or boarder and not your partner is called a non-dependant. This could be:

  • A grown-up son or daughter
  • A parent
  • A friend
  • Another relative who lives with you.

If you have a non-dependant living in your home, your Housing Benefit is reduced by a certain amount each week. This is called a non-dependant deduction.

 

THINGS YOU CAN DO:

  1. Check how much is currently being deducted – look at your latest HB Award letter or ring the HB office.
  2. Check that the current deduction(s) is/are correct – use the table below or contact us if you need help.
  3. If you think the deduction is wrong, contact the HB office
  4. Explain to the person(s) living with you how much they need to be contributing. But remember as a tenant, you are responsible to pay this and any rent that is due.
  5. If you have someone who turns 18 in the next 12 months, start to talk to them now to let them know how much they may have to pay towards the rent.
Aged 18 or over & working 16 hours or more Aged 18 or over & not working 16 hours or more
What is the GROSS weekly income of the person living in your home? Amount deducted from your weekly HB will be: What is the income of the person living with you in your home? Amount deducted from HB
Less than £133.00 £14.65 Aged 18-24 and on:

  • Income Support, or
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, or
  • Assessment phase of Income related Employment & Support Allowance.
  • Universal Credit and has no ‘earned income’
Nil
Between £133.00 & £194.99 £33.65
Between £195.00 & £252.99 £46.20
Between £253.00 & £337.99 £75.60
Between £338.00 & £419.99 £86.10 On Pension Credit, a student, or on a training allowance Nil
£420.00 or more £94.50 All other non-dependants aged 18 or over not working 16 hours or more a week, regardless of their income. £14.65
Non-dependants aged 18 or over and not in remunerative work

  • Work Based Training Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit / Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
  • Aged 25+ on Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance or 18+ on main phase
  • Contribution Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Statutory Maternity Pay

 

£14.65

This table shows how much your HB award is reduced due to the non-dependant living with you. Your HB award may be reduced for other reasons as well.

NO DEDUCTION should apply where: The non-dependant is aged under 18 (regardless of their income); or if you or your partner are in receipt of Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (care component at any rate), Personal Independence Payment (daily living component at any rate), Armed Forces Independence Payment or registered blind; or if the non-dependant is only staying with you for a short period; or is on remand or in prison; or in Armed Forces whilst on operations.

Please contact us if you think you’ll be affected by any of the changes above. The changes are happening, so it’s better to seek help and advice now rather than get into difficulty later.

Universal Credit – Non-Dependant Deductions

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, non-dependant deductions are now known as Housing Costs Contributions

A deduction will be made from your housing costs element for rent payments for each non-dependant in your household. This is called a housing costs contribution.
A housing cost contribution is a fixed amount of £69.37 per month for each non-dependant.

Certain claimants are exempt from this. No deduction will be made for housing costs contributions for a single person or couple with a non-dependant where one or both of the claimants are:

There will also be no deduction made for housing costs contributions if the non-dependant is:

  • under 21 years old
  • in receipt of state pension credit
  • in receipt of the care component of Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate
  • in receipt of Attendance Allowance
  • in receipt of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • entitled to a payment of one of the disability benefits mentioned but not receiving it for one of the set allowed reasons
  • in receipt of carer’s allowance
  • a prisoner
  • responsible for a child under 5 years old

Discretionary Housing Payments

What is a discretionary housing payment (DHP)?

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are for people who need extra help with their rent when Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance or Universal Credit doesn’t cover the full amount.

If you are suffering financial hardship or your tenancy is at risk, you may be able to a DHP to help.

There are restrictions on how much money can be paid out in any financial year as the payments are made from a limited fund and are made as a short term measure for those experiencing difficult circumstances.

Who can get extra help?

To get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) you must be:

  • receiving Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance or Universal Credit (including the housing element)
  • reside in Birmingham and be claiming from Birmingham City Council
  • be able to demonstrate financial need

In certain circumstances a DHP may be paid to cover a rent deposit, rent in advance or removal expenses. To be eligible for this, as well as meeting the above criteria there must be a valid reason to move. In addition, the property must be affordable and any deposit amount must be reasonable.

A DHP may be paid if:

  • someone in the household has needs associated with disability or ill health
  • the accommodation has been adapted because of disability
  • someone in the household has a relevant medical need
  • it is not possible or practical for someone to look for alternative accommodation

This is not an exhaustive list and does not cover all circumstances in which a DHP may be paid.

A DHP will not be paid for the following:

  • water, meals, fuel or other ineligible charges included in your rent
  • shortfall in housing benefit due to an overpayment being recovered
  • rent that is clearly excessive
  • increase in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • shortfall caused by certain sanctions and reductions in benefit

How can I claim?

Applications for DHP can be made online or the forms can be downloaded at www.birmingham.gov.uk

Complete the sections relevant to your request giving as much detail as possible about your situation.  You will be asked for details about your income and outgoings. You should also provide any information about your circumstances that makes things difficult for you financially.

If I don’t get it, can I appeal?

As these payments are discretionary, there is no formal right of appeal. However, you may request reconsideration within one month of the date of the notification letter. A decision may be looked at again if there is new information, if your circumstances change or the council consider it appropriate.

Please contact the housing office if you would like any further information.

 

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