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 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, 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

There is a 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.

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

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 three months.

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 four weeks. 

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.

Changes affecting Local Council Tax Support

Restriction on allowances for children
An allowance has always been payable for each child in a household. 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, 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 three months.

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. 

Contact us

If you are unsure whether you are affected, contact us.

0191 433 4646
benefitenquiries@gateshead.gov.uk

If you are a tenant of The Gateshead Housing Company:

0191 433 5811 (east and south Gateshead) or 0191 433 2685 (central, inner west and west Gateshead)

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