Welfare Reform is coming in April 2013 – Will you be affected?

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News from Medway Council website

For free advice please contact our Welfare Reform Team using the details at the foot of this page.

Watch a video summary of the welfare reform changes.

Welfare benefit changes information events

  • Do you claim any form of benefit?
  • Does benefit make up part or all of your income?
  • Are there times when you find it hard to make ends meet?

If you answer yes to any or all of the above, find out more at the event below and get advice on changes that may affect you:

  • The Pentagon Centre, Chatham – Saturday, 27 April 2013, 10am to 5pm 

Welfare benefit changes leaflet

Download Welfare Benefit Changes: Important information for Medway Council tenants. To download a pdf you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have it on your computer, please use our advicepage.

We are able to offer advice and guidance on the following areas:

Council Tax Benefit – Size criteria  – The Benefit Cap – Housing Benefit Changes – Universal Credit –Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – Your money

Council Tax Benefit

  • Council Tax Benefit will be abolished from April 2013.
  • All Medway residents including Medway Council tenants will need to pay something.
  • Pensioners will not have to pay

How much will it cost people in Medway?

For band C rate of £1,178 per annum (based on 2012/13 figures) means a payment of £5.67per week or £24.57 per month.

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Size criteria

  • From April 2013 one bedroom will be allowed for each person or couple living as part of a household.
  • Same sex children under 16 will be expected to share a bedroom.
  • Children under 10 regardless of sex will be expected to share a bedroom.
  • 292 Medway Council tenants have more bedrooms than they need.
  • If they have one more room than they need, 14 per cent will be taken from their housing benefit claim.
  • If they have two or more rooms than they need, 25 per cent will be taken from their housing benefit claim.

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The Benefit Cap

  • From April 2013 a limit will be put on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive. This will be known as “The Benefit Cap”
  • The maximum amount a couple can receive is £500 a week for couples (with or without children), and single parents (£26,000 per year); £350 per week for single adults.
  • The Benefit Cap only applies to people of working age, and who are claiming out of work benefits.
  • Those people who are working will not be affected even if their income goes above £500 a week.

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Housing benefit changes

To find out more about Housing benefit changes please go to the National Housing Association leaflet, What you need to know about changes to housing benefit

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Universal Credit

  • Universal Credit will start in October 2013.
  • Universal credit will be a single monthly payment
  • Universal credit will be paid directly to the person making the claim.
  • Universal Credit is set at the same level as the Benefit Cap

Find out more about Universal Credit.

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Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

  • Disabled Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
  • All new claims from June 2013 will be for PIP not DLA.
  • It will affect all eligible claimants between 16 and 65.
  • Existing DLA claimants will be reassessed from October 2015.
  • It will be assessed on a Points based Activity Test that will assess what people can do
  • Find out more about Personal Independence Payment on the DWP site.

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Your money

With all of the Welfare Reform changes you will need to be able to understand the money you have coming in, and the money that you must pay out of the money you have coming in before anything else.

For example, your rent, council tax, electricity, gas, etc. This is known as your “priority expenditure” which means money that you must allocate to these things every week or month.

You will also have to spend money on other things and this is known as “Non Priority” expenditure, for example, food, travel, clothes, TV licence, etc.

For some benefits that you apply, and also for the Welfare Reform Team to be able to assist you, you must provide this information, so it is s a good idea to prepare for this.

Budgeting forms

For further help with your money you may contact the Money Advice Service

Video summary (Please go to Medway Council website)

Help and advice

If you are in debt or having problems with managing your money you can get help and advice from the following

  • National Debtline
    Phone 0808 8084000
  • Stepchange offers free debt advice and management.
    Phone: 0800 138 1111
  • Medway Citizens Advice offers free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on many issues including debt, welfare benefits, housing, domestic abuse and employment.
    Kingsley House, 37-39 Balmoral Road, Gillingham, Kent ME7 4PF
    Phone: 01634 383760

For more information contact us by telephone: 01634 334444 / 0800 408 8080 or by email: welfarereform@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR

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