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National welfare benefit changes

The Welfare Benefits system is changing. Existing benefits have changed and new benefits are being introduced.  
Housing Benefit - Under Occupancy (Spare Room Subsidy)
The amount of Housing Benefit paid to working age tenants who live in council or housing association properties is now reduced where they have more bedrooms than the family needs under the new regulations.
Anyone who has reached the age at which they are eligible to claim Pension Credit is not affected.
Other exceptions to the Under Occupancy (Spare Room Subsidy):
* An additional bedroom is allowed for foster children, including approved foster carers who are waiting for a child to be placed with them,
* Those serving in the armed forces who return to their parents home during their leave, are allowed an additional bedroom,
* An additional bedroom may also be allowed for disabled children who because of their disability are unable to share a bedroom,
* Customers with adult children who are away at University but continue to live with their parents and intend to return home will be allowed an additional bedroom. The temporary absence must not be for more than 52 weeks.
For more information, please see the leaflets in the documents area. If you are affected by this change it is important you speak to your housing office or landlord as soon as possible.

Benefits Cap
There is now a national benefits cap on the amount of benefits a single person or family can receive. The cap limits the total amount that a family can receive in benefits to £500 per week and £350 per week for a single person.
For more information please visit the Department for Work and Pensions website or see the leaflets in the document area.
If you are affected by this change it is important you speak to your housing office or landlord as soon as possible. 
PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
All new claims for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), from people aged between 16 and 64 will now be treated as a claim for Personal Independence Payment.
Claims from children under 16 and people over 64 will continue as Disability Living Allowance.
People aged between 16 and 64 who are already getting DLA will move eventually move to PIP
From October 2013 the following people will be invited to claim PIP:
* Claimants on fixed period DLA awards for renewal
* Young people turning 16.
* DLA claimants reporting a change in their condition
From October 2015 The DWP will begin selecting existing DLA claimants, and inform them about what they should do to claim PIP.
Universal Credit
A single monthly payment of benefits called Universal Credit is being introduced in pilot areas. Universal Credit will eventually replace the following means tested benefits for everyone; Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits.
In preparation for Universal Credit you will need to have a bank account and set up arrangements to pay your bills.
For further information please visit the Department for Work and Pensions website.  
There are other welfare benefit changes not mentioned here, to discover more about these please see the Welfare Reform booklet in the downloads section
Local Welfare Support Scheme
To help those in serious need, Leeds City Council has a Local Welfare Support Scheme.  The scheme is based on providing support to people through direct awards of goods and services.  For more information about the scheme see the Local Welfare Support Scheme leaflet in the downloads section.