Cap on the Maximum Benefit you can receive from April 2013
From April 2013 many people in the UK will see dramatic changes in the welfare benefit payments they receive as the Government puts a limit on the maximum benefit that working age people can claim.
The majority of benefits are included in these sweeping cuts, as well as housing benefit. The following will be the maximum benefit that you can claim:
Single people (individuals) - £350
Families with children - £500
Regardless of previous assessments that may state that your needs are greater, you will not be able to claim or receive more money than indicated above. However, some tenants will be exempt, in particular those in receipt of working tax credits.
If you are receiving more benefits than the new rules allow, your housing benefit will be reduced by the relevant amount to bring you down to the limit. This will mean that you will have to pay the balance of your rent from money that is set aside for your service bills and food. We suggest that you sit down with a pen and paper to calculate where you can make savings so that you are prepared for when the new regulations come into effect.
Tenants with larger families will possibly be affected far more than individuals, especially if they are living in areas where rents are very high and it is necessary to have a larger home to accommodate your children.
Cuts in Council Tax Benefit
Many people may be affected by new rules for council tax benefits that are also coming into force in April 2013, particularly those with families.
A new system will begin called Council Tax Support which will eliminate the existing system under which people are paid council tax benefit, reductions, discounts and exemptions.
What is the Purpose of these New Rules?
The Government believes that my implementing the reductions in welfare benefits tenants who are currently living in housing association or council housing will move out into downsized accommodation.
Unfortunately it is unlikely that there will be sufficient homes available that match the size limits laid down by the Government so your only recourse may be to look for local tenants who want to exchange. Alternatively it may be necessary for you to completely move away from the area in which you currently reside in order to match Government guidelines.
What can I do?
To avoid losing your home, you should put paying the rent at the top of your priority list and then study your budget to find ways of reducing your costs. This may be your opportunity to go “green” and look at ways to reduce your carbon footprint through energy efficiency. You may also be able to get some assistance for heating.
Tenants who rent from private landlords and are in receipt of benefits, regularly have to make up the shortfall in benefits, as they usually have much higher rents to pay.
Certain people may qualify to receive DHP (discretionary housing payment) to supplements their housing benefit payment.