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Welfare Reform Changes from April 2013. What are the key aspects of welfare reform? Under Occupation (April 2013) Benefit Cap (April 2013) Social Fund.

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Presentation on theme: "Welfare Reform Changes from April 2013. What are the key aspects of welfare reform? Under Occupation (April 2013) Benefit Cap (April 2013) Social Fund."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welfare Reform Changes from April 2013

2 What are the key aspects of welfare reform? Under Occupation (April 2013) Benefit Cap (April 2013) Social Fund Reform (April 2013) Local support for Council Tax (April 2013) Personal Independent Payment (June 2013) Universal Credit (October 2013) Introduction………

3  There will be restrictions on the size of property Housing Benefit will pay for, based on who lives in the property.  If someone is assessed as having more bedrooms in their accommodation than is necessary according to the new rules, they will be considered to be under-occupying that property.  From April 2013 claimants assessed as under-occupying their property will be subject to a percentage reduction to their eligible rent and service charges. Background…..

4 every adult coupleany other adult aged 16 or overany two children of the same sex aged under 16any two children aged under 10any other childa carer Summary of changes… The new rules allow one bedroom for:

5 Summary of changes… Due to a court of appeal judgement – those whose children are said to be unable to share a bedroom because of severe disabilities will be able to claim HB for an extra room from the date of the judgement (15/05/12). However it will remain for LAs to assess individual circumstances of the claimant and their family to decide whether their disabilities are genuinely such that it is inappropriate for the children to be expected to share a room. Will involve looking at the nature and severity of the disability as well as the care required during the night and regularity of disturbance to the child who would normally be expected to share a room. Bedroom size – DWP will not be defining what they mean by a bedroom in the legislation and there is no definition of a minimum bedroom size set out in regulations. It will be up to the landlord to accurately describe the property in line with the actual rent charged.

6 Summary of changes… Rates of reduction The reduction will apply to the total eligible rent including any eligible service charges 14% Reduction 25% Reduction Under occupation by 1 bedroom Under occupation by 2 bedrooms or more +

7 A room for foster children will not be included. A household that has an extra bedroom for a foster child will be treated as under-occupying. Extra 30 million allocated to Discretionary Housing Payment Fund (DHP). Foster carers…

8 All occupants will be taken into account for the purposes of establishing under-occupation. Once the make up of the entire household has been established the normal formula for deciding the appropriate number of bedrooms will be applied. If under-occupancy is established the standard 14% or 25% reduction will be applied to the whole eligible rent which then be apportioned between the joint tenants. Joint tenants…

9 Boarders and lodgers will be taken into account when assessing the make up of the household for the purposes of determining how many rooms are required. In the case of a couple, their child and a lodger living together in a three bedroom house, the claimant would not be considered to be under-occupying and no reduction would be applied to their Housing Benefit. Boarders & lodgers…

10 Where parents who don’t live together have shared care of their children, the children are only treated as living with the parent that is treated as responsible for them and provides their main home. If a child or young person spends equal amounts of time in different households, or there is a question as to whom they normally live with, they will be treated as living with the person who is receiving Child Benefit for them. Shared care…

11 Cases not subject to a restriction…….. Shared ownership: The size criteria rules will not apply to shared ownership cases. This is where the claimant part owns the property under a shared ownership lease, usually with a HA. The claimant may well have a mortgage on their share of the property while renting the rest. Non-mainstream accommodation: These rent liabilities include mooring charges for house boats and site charges for caravans and mobile homes as well as various ‘excluded tenancies’, that are not with a ‘registered HA’. Temporary accommodation: Any claimant who is accepted as homeless under homelessness legislation of the Housing Act 1996 and placed in temporary accommodation by the LA because they are homeless or to prevent homelessness. Supported ‘exempt’ accommodation: The size criteria rules will not be applied to those in supported ‘exempt’ accommodation defined for HB purposes as accommodation provided by a non-met county council in England, a HA, a registered charity or voluntary org where that body or a person acting on its behalf also provides the claimant with care, support or supervision.

12 Protection rules.. 13 weeks – no claim previous 52 weeks 12 months – following a bereavement

13 What are we doing to identify and support those potentially affected by the under occupancy benefit reductions? Created Welfare Reform Action Plan & Communication Strategy Working closely with all our RSLs and support & advice agencies Identified who’s affected in Shropshire & by what % Identified who’s vulnerable and & in adapted accommodation Currently notifying tenants - those that are in adapted accommodation or vulnerable are being visited by our welfare officers Produced under occupation leaflet Developed Welfare Reform training package

14 The story so far… Total number of affected tenants 2126 Number identified as under-occupying by 1 bedroom and therefore attracting the 14% reduction 1692 Number identified as under-occupying by > 1 bedroom and therefore attracting the 25% reduction 434

15 What options are available to people to meet any shortfall? Consider moving Take a boarder / lodger Family members contribute more Move into work / increase hours Discretionary Housing Payments

16 Part 2 – Overall Benefit Cap Background Summary of changes Exemptions Questions

17 From April 2013 a cap will be introduced on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive. The cap is designed to prevent households (including dependants but excluding non- dependants) where no one is working from receiving more benefit income than the average weekly income for working families. Background…..

18 The cap applies to the following benefits: Jobseeker’s Allowance Income Support Employment & Support Allowance (where there is no entitlement to the Support component) Housing Benefit Child Benefit Child Tax Credit Universal Credit (once it has commenced) Other benefits including Carer’s Allowance and Maternity Allowance. Summary of changes…

19 The cap will be set at: £350 £500 Summary of changes… Couples (with or without dependant children) and single parents Single adults with no children

20 There will be some households exempt from the cap: Where someone starts work & begins receiving Working Tax Credit. Where someone is receiving War Widows/Widowers Pension, Disability Living Allowance (to be replaced by Personal Independence Payment), Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or Employment & Support Allowance with the Support component. 39 weeks grace period – for those who have been in continuous employment for the previous 12 months and who lose their job through no fault of their own. Exemptions…

21 Social Fund Reforms… Current provisionProvision from April 2013Administration from 2013 Cold Weather Payments As now. Universal Credit will become a qualifying benefit. DWP Funeral Payments As now. Universal Credit will become a qualifying benefit. DWP Sure Start Maternity Grants As now. Universal Credit will become a qualifying benefit. DWP Winter Fuel PaymentsAs now.DWP Budgeting Loans As now for existing income-related benefits. Budgeting Advances available to eligible Universal Credit recipients. DWP Community Care Grants Abolished. Replaced with locally- based provision. LA Crisis Loan Alignment Payments Replaced with Short Term Advances. The new system will also replace interim payments of benefit so there is a single system of payments. DWP Crisis Loans for general living expenses Abolished. Replaced with locally- based provision. LA

22 From April 2013 Council Tax Benefit is being replaced with local support. Councils across the country are required to develop their own scheme to help people on low incomes pay their Council Tax bills. The new schemes will receive less funding from Central Government than the existing Council Tax Benefit arrangement. Shropshire’s 3 proposed schemes……. The proposal went to cabinet 17 th October 2012, Option 3 is now in public consultation until Local support for Council Tax… Options 1) The Default scheme – current Council Tax Benefit rules apply 2) All working age having their award cut by 20% 3) Remove Second Adult Rebate Increase value of non-dependent deductions Remove Child Benefit & earnings disregards Reduce capital upper limit to £10,000

23 Contact details…… Damian Carter Tel:


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