As we approach the new financial year there's some changes to benefits it might be useful to be aware off.
Up until now couples have only ever been allocated 1 bedroom in their Housing Benefit calculation meaning that if you are unable to share with your partner, and have an extra bedroom for that purpose, your claim will be subject to the “bedroom tax”. From 1st April 2017, where one member of the couple is in receipt of certain disability benefits and you are physically unable to share a bedroom, an extra bedroom can be allocated in the Housing Benefit calculation meaning that the bedroom tax might not apply.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Where someone claims Employment and Support Allowance their illness or disability is assessed by the Department for Works and Pensions and depending on how serious it is the claimant is put in one of two groups:
|The Work Related Activity Group||The Support Group|
If you make a new claim for ESA from 3rd April 2017 you will receive no extra benefit if you are put in the work related activity group, currently worth £29.05/week. You will just get the standard rate of ESA which is the same as you’d get on Jobseekers Allowance.
If you are already receiving ESA and receiving the extra benefit for being in the Work Related Activity Group you will not be affected by this change.
|The Support Group is for those claimants with the most serious condition but additional benefit is awarded whichever group you are put into.|
Child Tax Credits
Up until now the level of child tax credits you might be entitled to increases with each child you are responsible for. From April 2017 no extra child tax credits will be awarded for a child born after 6th April 2017 if there are already 2 or more dependent children in the household.
If you already have 2 or more children and are in receipt of child tax credits you won’t lose out but you won’t receive any more if you have another child after 6th April.
If you have currently have 1 child, and have a second after 6th April your tax credits will increase as usual. They wouldn’t increase again, however, if you have a third child.
If you are working and in receipt of Universal Credit (UC) the amount of UC you are entitled to reduces by 65p for every £1 that you earn. From April 2017 this changes to 63p for every £1 that you earn.