This is a summary of the most recent changes introduced by the Welfare Reform Act 2012. More detailed information on this can be found at www.gov.uk
Find out how you are affected by some of these changes using our welfare reform calculator
The Government has announced that for new claims received after the 1 April 2016 the maximum period of backdating will reduce from six months to four weeks. This will only affect those of working age and is in line with the backdating rules for Universal Credit claims.
The Government has announced that the family premium (currently £17.45 per week) will no longer be included in the calculation of Housing Benefit for new claims received on or after the 1 May 2016. If you are currently in receipt of Housing Benefit and have a child for the first time on or after the 1 May 2016 you will also not have the family premium included in your Housing Benefit calculation.
Additionally, if you currently receive Housing Benefit and you stop having responsibility for any children or young people, then you will not have the family premium again if you later become responsible for such a person in the future. For example, if a dependent child leaves your household to live with another parent for a period of time and is removed from your claim and they subsequently return to your household, you will not regain the family premium in the calculation of your Housing Benefit.
Previously you were able to be absent from your home for up to 13 weeks and your Housing Benefit was not affected. From 28th July 2016 if you leave Great Britain for a period of more than 4 weeks, your Housing Benefit will cease on the day you depart.
We have produced this table to illustrate the differences that now exist between temporary absences within GB and outside of GB
Circumstances of absence
|Within Great Britain||Outside Great Britain|
|A person detained on remand pending trial or sentence upon conviction or as a condition of bail to reside in a dwelling other than their home||
|A person in a hospital or similar institution as a patient||52 weeks||26 weeks|
|A person, their partner or dependent child undergoing medical treatment, medically approved convalescence in accommodation other than residential accommodation||52 weeks||26 weeks|
|A training course||52 weeks||4 weeks|
|A person who is absent and undertaking medically approved care of a person residing in GB or elsewhere||52 weeks||4 weeks|
|A person who is caring for child whose parent or guardian is temporarily absent from the home of that parent or guardian and receiving medically approved care or medical treatment||52 weeks||4 weeks|
|A person who is receiving medically approved care provided in accommodation other than residential accommodation||52 weeks||26 weeks|
|An eligible student||52 weeks||4 weeks|
|A person who is receiving care in residential accommodation and is not staying on a trial basis to ascertain if the accommodation suits his needs||52 weeks||4 weeks|
|A person who has left their home through fear of violence||52 weeks||26 weeks|
|A person who enters residential accommodation on a trial basis to ascertain if it meets their needs with the intention of returning home||52 weeks||4 weeks|
A person who is absent from GB in connection with the death of their partner or a child for whom he or his partner is responsible, the persons close relative, a close relative of the persons partner or a close relative of a child or young person for whom the person or persons partner is responsible
|4 weeks plus additional 4 weeks if the Decision Maker considers it unreasonable for the claimant to return home within the first 4 weeks|
A member of Her Majesty's forces posted overseas
|13 weeks||26 weeks|
|13 weeks||26 weeks|
Continental shelf worker
|13 weeks||26 weeks|
Any other temporary absence e.g. holiday
|13 weeks||4 weeks|
If you are intending to be away from your home for a period of time and you are unsure how this will affect your Housing Benefit, please contact us on 01329 824646 and speak to a member of the Benefits team who will advise yo
A limit is currently put on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. The cap is currently set at £26,000 per year for couples and lone parents and £18,200 per year for single people without children. From Autumn 2016 the cap is reducing to £384.62 a week (£20,000 a year) for couples with or without children and lone parents, and £257.69 a week (£13,400 a year) for single people without children. There are some exemptions from being affected by the Benefit Cap which can be found on The benefit cap - Gov UK
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have various ways to help customers:
Visit The benefit cap - Gov UK to find out more information on the benefit cap, including calculators to show how much benefit you can get and advice on other benefits you can claim
Call the helpline to find out general information about the changes, and about the help you can get, on the following numbers:
Benefit cap helpline telephone: 0345 605 7064
Textphone: 0345 608 8551
There are various organisations you can contact to try to help you manage your reduction in income. See Jobcentre Plus to find ways of looking for work or increasing your hours of work. Shelter offer confidential housing, welfare benefits and debt advice. The free national helpline is 0800 8004444, which is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.
If you are a Fareham Council tenant and you are affected by the benefit cap you can contact your Housing Officer direct for further advice. You can ring 01329 236100 and ask for Tenancy Services.
Universal Credit is introduced to the Fareham area from the 28 November 2018 and the new benefit that you will claim if you are of working age. Universal Credit replaces:
Only a small number of people will continue to have their housing costs met via Housing Benefit alongside their Universal Credit claim:
Currently couples can choose whether to claim pension age benefits or working age benefits if one member of the couple has reached state pension age and the younger member is below state pension age. From the 15 May 2019 this rule changes in that you cannot claim pension age benefits until the younger member reaches state pension age. This change only applies to new claims however existing claimants may be affected if they have a future change in circumstances that results in their Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit ending.
It is important to find out if you are entitled to Pension Credit or Pension Age Housing Benefit as claims can be backdated for up to three months. The difference in the amount of money you receive between Pension Age benefits and Work Age benefits is substantial.
If you reach state pension age after 1 April 2021 you will now be entitled to a lower pensioner applicable amout in the calculation of your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. For couples (both must be of pension age) this rate is £270.30. For singles this is £177.10.