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Changes to benefits

 

Changes affecting Housing Benefit

Restriction on allowances for children
An allowance has always been payable for each child in a household. From April 2017 the government has restricted this, so an allowance is only payable for the first two children in a household. This will only apply to anyone making a new claim from April 2017 onwards, or to anyone who already has two or more children but has a further child. There are some exceptions where more than two children are included in any Child Tax Credit award. If this applies, we would need to see evidence of the award letter. 

Benefit cap
From 7 November 2016, there is a new cap on the maximum amount someone of working age can receive in benefits. This includes Housing Benefit. The cap is £385 a week for couples and lone parents and £257 a week for single people. If the total benefit you receive is more than these amounts, your Housing Benefit will be reduced. Depending on how much income you have above the cap, your Housing Benefit could be reduced to only 50p per week.

This does not apply to anyone receiving Working Tax Credit, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Constant Attendance Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (income related or contributory if receiving the support component), a war pension, Carers Allowance (or payments towards carers in Universal Credit) or Guardian’s Allowance.

The Department of Works and Pensions has already written to anyone who could be affected and will tell us when to apply the cap.

If you already have your Housing Benefit capped, you will have been sent a letter to tell you how the new cap amount affects you.

Otherwise, the new cap will be applied to Gateshead residents who are affected from 5 December onwards.

If you are affected by the cap, then you could apply for a Discretionary Housing payment.

Backdating
Those of working age will only be able to ask for Housing Benefit to be backdated for a maximum period of one month from the date they request it. For those of pension age this remains unchanged at 3 months. This applies from 1 April 2016.

Temporary absence
In most cases, anyone who is temporarily absent because they are going abroad will only get their housing benefit paid if their absence is likely to be less than 4 weeks. This applies from 1 May 2016.

Families with children
Previously support for families with children was based on an allowance for each child and a small extra allowance because they were a family. This small extra allowance is being removed for any new claims and anyone who has a first child. This applies from 1 May 2016

Changes affecting Local Council Tax Support

Restriction on allowances for children
An allowance has always been payable for each child in a household. From April 2017 the government has restricted this, so an allowance is only payable for the first two children in a household. This will only apply to anyone making a new claim from April 2017 onwards, or to anyone who already has two or more children but has a further child. There are some exceptions where more than two children are included in any Child Tax Credit award. If this applies, we would need to see evidence of the award letter. 

Backdating
Those of working age will only be able to ask for Local Council Tax Support to be backdated for a maximum period of one month from the date they request it. For those of pension age this remains unchanged at 3 months. This applies from 1 April 2016.

Families with children
Previously support for families with children was based on an allowance for each child and a small extra allowance because they were a family. This small extra allowance is being removed for any new claims and anyone who has a first child. This applies from 1 May 2016.

Contact us

If you are unsure whether you are affected, contact the Benefits Section

Phone: 0191 433 4646 
Email: benefitenquiries@gateshead.gov.uk|

If you are a tenant of The Gateshead Housing Company:

Phone: 0191 433 6150