Benefit changes

Our Money Matters Team are here to answer any questions you may have about benefit changes and money management.

So if you’re concerned about anything or would like some friendly advice, please contact them via email contactus@amicushorizon.org.uk or call 0800 121 60 60.

You may have heard lots of information about changes to benefits.

But what does it mean for you?

We’ve put together a handy list with some of the changes which have been introduced since April.

You’ll see some of the changes have already been made, and some are set to be introduced.

Benefit cap - are you affected?

If you are aged 16 to 64, there is a limit on the total amount of benefit you can get. This is called the Benefit Cap.

Changes to the Benefit cap will come in as of 7 November 2016. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have sent letters to everyone who may lose benefit payments under the new rules. For more information about the benefit cap please click here.

If you are keen to find out more about the changes or to find out how we can help please contact us. We can help you manage the change by looking at employability skills and can assist with applications for Discretionary Housing Payment requests and grants.

 

The rules for backdating Housing Benefit have now changed

The rules for backdating Housing Benefit have now changed.

From 1 April 2016, the maximum time a claim can be backdated is four weeks (for working age claimants).

We know from experience it can be difficult for some residents to make a timely claim for Housing Benefit.

And previously our Money Matters Team had great success in getting up to six months backdated.

But now they’ll only be able to ask for a maximum of four weeks backdated due to the rule change.

If you need help with Housing Benefit, please speak to your Income Officer who will work with the Money Matters Team.

You can contact us on 0800 121 60 60 or email contactus@amicushorizon.org.uk

You can find out further information on the changes here.

The amount you earn before paying tax

The amount you earn before paying tax (Personal Tax Allowance) has increased from £10,600 to £11,000.

The new State Pension - rules and changes explained

The State Pension changed on 6 April 2016. If you reach State Pension age on or after that date you’ll get the new State Pension under the new rules.

You can find out more through the Money Advice Service’s handy guide.

Freeze on working age benefits

The government introduced a four year freeze to working age benefits whilst still protecting pensioners, and benefits related to the extra costs of disability.

New National Living Wage

The new National Living Wage was introduced in April 2016, starting at £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and above. This will rise to £9 an hour by 2020.

Reduction in Income Rise Disregard in Tax Credits

The amount by which a tax credit claimant’s income can increase in-year compared to their previous year’s income before their award is adjusted has been reduced from £5,000 to £2,500.

Universal Credit - childcare element

Your Universal Credit will include a child element if you are responsible for a child or ‘qualifying young person’ who normally lives with you.

You will receive a higher amount for your first or only child, and a lower rate for each of your other children.

You can find out more information about this here.

To find out what a qualifying young person is click here.

Cut to in-work Tax Credits

The income threshold limit - the level of earnings at which a household’s tax credits and Universal Credit award starts to be withdrawn for every extra pound earned - reduced from £6,420 to £3,850.

Removing Housing Benefit Family Premium

Housing Benefit Family Premium has been withdrawn for new claims.

Housing Benefit and Pension Credit payments - travelling abroad

If you're in receipt of Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit the government has announced that they will end payments for those claimants who travel outside of Great Britain for longer than four weeks (with no gap).

If this happens you will need to make a new claim on your return.