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April 2011 Changes to Housing and Council Tax Benefits James Hurd, Policy and Benefits Training Officer, Benefits and Community Welfare Service.

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Presentation on theme: "April 2011 Changes to Housing and Council Tax Benefits James Hurd, Policy and Benefits Training Officer, Benefits and Community Welfare Service."— Presentation transcript:

1 April 2011 Changes to Housing and Council Tax Benefits James Hurd, Policy and Benefits Training Officer, Benefits and Community Welfare Service

2 Lots of Change! Changes to rates of Non-dependant deductions, Changes to LHA: –Lower amounts, but protection for existing claims –Removal of top ups –Greater freedom to pay L/L direct – Allowance to take into account an extra bedroom in LHA for non residential carer Removal of baby premium, both in HB & CTC End of Worker’s Registration Scheme for A8 nationals from 30 th April 2011.

3 Non Dependant Deductions Rates of deduction left unchanged since 2001, June 2010 budget announced this freeze will be lifted AND rates of deduction will increase to make up for gap in increases over next three years Income bands slowly increased each year – this to continue New figures now released show considerable increase to be applied from 5 th April 2011

4 New HB rates are: Min deduction applied or Aged 18+ and in remunerative work - gross inc less than £ (was £120): deduction was £7.40 now £9.40 increase £2.00 gross income between £ and £ was £17.00 now £21.55 increase £4.55 gross income between £ and £ was £23.35 now £29.60 increase £6.25 gross income between £ and £ was £38.20 now £48.45 increase £10.25 gross income between £ and £ was £43.50 now £55.20 increase £11.70 gross income over £ was £47.75 now £60.60 increase £12.85

5 New CTB rates Minimum deduction applied or Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work - gross income less than £ deduction: was £2.30 now £2.85 increase £0.55 gross income between £ and £ was £4.60 now £5.70 increase £1.10 gross income between £ and £ was £5.80 now £7.20increase £1.40 gross income over £ was £6.95 now £8.60 increase £1.65 This will mean that the combined increase in both HB and CTB of a maximum non-dependant deduction will jump from £54.70 to £69.20, taking some customers out of benefit completely.

6 Change to LHA amounts Local Housing Allowance figures currently based on the “medium” rent (50 th Percentile) June 2010 budget announced that this would be changed to 30 th Percentile from The five bed rate will no longer be applied to new claims from April 2011 Also any excess LHA over rent paid will be removed from new claims from April Transitional protection for existing claims

7 Transitional Protection All existing claims will be unaffected until they come to their “anniversary date” this is when their LHA rate is due to be reviewed. At this point, any top up over rent will stop. The new (reduced) LHA rate will not be applied for 9 months. This protection will be lost if customer moves or there is a change in H/H As some anniversary dates will not be until March 2012 this system will still be with us until December 2012

8 30th Percentile Local Housing Allowances – Bedford Borough Council Mar-11 LHA Category Bedford Shortfall between two current systemnew systemSchemes weeklymonthlyweeklymonthlyweeklymonthly Shared Room Rate Bedroom Rate Bedroom Rate Bedroom Rate Bedroom Rate Bedroom Rate

9 Direct Payments to L/L’s LHA was intended to be paid direct to the customer This has been weakened over time to allow more claims to be paid to landlords direct when it can be proved to be customers interest (safeguard policy) From April this will be further weakened with a clause to allow us to pay to “assist the customer in securing or retaining a tenancy” We are taking this to mean that if the customer and landlord request direct payments and it would help them avoid homelessness then we can pay landlord

10 Additional bedroom for non- residential carers Up to now LHA has made no provision for exceptional circumstances where extra space might be required. This new rule allows for an extra room to be provided within the LHA regs if: 1.There is need for overnight care and 2.Care is occasionally provided and 3.There is a spare bedroom for them to stay overnight in Published guidance stipulates the normal criteria (DLA care at either med or high rates or AA and an award of Career’s Allowance) but then goes on to give us the freedom to satisfy ourselves that the customers meet these criteria! Only fixed criteria appears to be the existence of the spare room.

11 Removal of the “baby premium” From 1 st April, the additional £10.50 added to the Family Premium when there is a child under one, will be removed. It will also be removed from all CTC claims at the same point. Therefore if we are notified of the change in CTC this should have no effect on the claim. However, some customer are not getting CTC or who fail to tell us of the amended award will lose out.

12 What we are going to do We will run scans of our caseload to see who will be effected and when. We will be sending summary information about the changes to all customers via payment methods and annual award letters. Undertaking mail shots of selected groups of tenants who are most effected by these changes. We will be speaking at landlord forum events to explain the changes and how it will effect their tenants.

13 Universal Credit Update The government white paper “Universal Credit: Welfare that works” proposes that Housing Benefit form a ‘housing costs element’ of Universal Credit for working age claimants and Pension Credit for pensioners. This is to be administered by Department of Work and Pensions and not by LA’s, though we may have role to play. Welfare Reform Bill now going though parliament – more details will emerge as it is debated. Due to get Royal Assent by Nov DWP seem to still be confident of a start date for new claims by October 2013, but how they will cope with issues over payment direction and actual rent calculations required for Housing Assoiations and other tenancy issues is still not clear. No dates in the Bill, so timetable quite open.

14 Breaking News! The Workers Registration Scheme, for A8 nationals who want to work in the UK, will cease to operate from end of 30 th April 2011 While we have received no guidance on this, this will mean that from this date A8 nationals can be treated like any other EU national. We will confirm this once firm guidance is received.


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