Benefit changes

The government is making changes to the way benefits are calculated and received, and some changes have happened already. Find out about how you may be affected by the government's benefit changes and what can you do about it.

If you're living with us and have questions about the benefits you currently receive, we can offer advice and support.

Benefit cap

What is the benefit cap?

The benefit cap limits the amount of money that most working-age people can claim. It is set at £350 per week for single people and £500 per week for lone parents and couples with or without children.

The benefit cap has been reduced to £296 per week for single people and £442 per week for lone parents and couples with or without children. The maximum amount a family can claim in benefits if they are not working is now £442 per week. Lower limits will apply outside of London.

Any amount you receive above the benefit cap will be deducted from your Housing Benefit.

Visit Gov.uk for more information.

Will it affect me?

The benefit cap will not apply to you if anyone in your household is entitled to working tax credit or is receiving any of these benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment.
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits
  • Employment Support Allowance (support element)
  • War Pensions, War Widow's Pension or War Widower's Pension
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment.

For more information on whether your benefits will be affected you can use the Government’s benefit cap calculator or contact your housing officer.

What can I do?

  • Look at finding work or increasing your hours. The benefit cap won’t apply if you work enough hours to be entitled to Working Tax Credit.
  • Contact your local council. You may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment or get help from the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme.
  • If you are having problems paying your rent, contact your housing officer [link to find your housing officer] as soon as possible.

Spare room subsidy ('bedroom tax')

What is it?

The removal of the spare room subsidy or ‘bedroom tax’ is a change to Housing Benefit for working age people.

This means that the amount households receive is now linked to the number of bedrooms and people in your home. If you have one spare bedroom, your Housing Benefit will be cut by 14% of the rent you pay every week. If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you will lose 25%.

If your benefit is cut you will have to pay the difference between your housing benefit and your rent.

Will it affect me?

You can work out whether this will affect you by either using the Citizens Advice bedroom calculator or contacting your housing officer.

What can I do?

  • Look at finding work or increasing your hours.
  • Move to a smaller home.
  • Consider getting a lodger to fill the extra room. This can affect your benefit levels so speak to your Housing Officer for more information.
  • Contact your local council. You may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment or get help from the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme.
  • If you are having problems paying your rent, contact your housing officer [link to find your housing officer] as soon as possible.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

What is it?

PIP is a new benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for all working age people (16-64 years). PIP looks at what people are able to do, rather than what people are not able to do. Some people who were entitled to DLA may not be entitled to PIP.

For more information read the Citizens Advice guide or contact your housing officer.

When will it affect me?

Those claiming for the first time will need to apply for PIP instead of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). People already receiving DLA will need to apply for PIP when their award ends or when they are invited to by DWP.

For more information you can use the Government’s PIP checker or contact your housing officer.