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Benefit changes April 2013

The government is making lots of changes to the benefit system this year:

You can now make your claim for housing benefit online. The housing benefit claim form  is a secure form which you can save and come back to it at a later time. If you need help with the form please contact our Customer Services team on 01295 227002 during normal office hours.

Benefit cap - maximum benefit levels for households

From 15 July 2013, there will be a maximum weekly amount for the amount of benefits that a household can receive. If the total weekly benefit amount is more than the cap level then housing benefit will be reduced.

More about benefits cap  

New size criteria for homes rented from housing associations

From April 2013, families renting housing association properties will be assessed on the number of bedrooms that they have. If they are considered to have more bedrooms in their home than they need, then their housing benefit will be reduced. 

More about size criteria  

Local housing allowance rates for 2013

From April 2013, local housing allowance rates for claimants renting in the private housing sector will be set once a year in April. For many claimants the rates for April 2013 have been frozen at the rates set in April 2012.

More about local housing allowance rates for 2013  

Replacement of council tax benefit

From April 2013, council tax benefit is being abolished. Instead each council will have to have its own local scheme for supporting council tax payers on a low income.

Find out more about council tax benefit (council tax reduction scheme) 

Budgeting Loans

Budgeting loans are now administered by the DWP.Budgeting Loans

More about replacement of social fund  

Replacement of disability living allowance

Disability living allowance for working age claimants is being replaced by a new benefit called personal independence payments.

Find out more about personal independent payments   

Universal credit

From October 2013, jobseekers allowance, income support, employment support allowance, working tax credit, child tax credit and housing benefit are being replaced by a new benefit called universal credit.

Find out more about universal credit    

Civil penalty 

Civil penalties have been introduced to help tackle the losses that result from errors made by customers in their benefit claims. Annually the UK losses £1.3 billion through overpaid benefits, as a result of customer errors. The aim is to reinforce the message that customers are personally responsible for keeping their claim records correct and to change customer behaviours towards overpaid benefits. It should be stressed that these penalties do not apply to cases of fraud, which are dealt with separately.

For further information see the pdf Civil penalty guide (209kb).


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