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National welfare benefit changes

This page provides information about:
  • how the Welfare Benefits system is changing
  • new benefits that are being introduced 
  • what benefits have changed

PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
PIP has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people who are aged between 16 and 64. These people cannot make a new claim for DLA. Children under 16 will continue to claim DLA and new claimants aged 65 or over will claim Attendance Allowance.

People aged over 16 who are already getting DLA will eventually move to PIP. This will not apply to people who were aged 65 on 8 April 2013. These will stay on DLA.

Some people in receipt of DLA in certain parts of the country have already been invited to claim PIP. These are:
  • claimants on fixed period DLA awards due for a renewal
  • young people turning 16
  • DLA claimants reporting a change in their condition
  • DLA claimants wanting to claim PIP
This now applies to Leeds and from 23 February 2015 the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) has begun selecting existing DLA claimants and writing to tell them about what they should do to claim PIP.

Universal Credit​
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
Universal Credit brings all these benefits & tax credits together in a single monthly payment. In preparation for Universal Credit you will need to have a bank account and set up arrangements to pay your bills such as rent. For further information please visit the Department for Work and Pensions website from the external links section on this page.

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 Documents section.
If you are struggling to pay your rent, council tax & other bills as a result of these changes Stepchange, a charity for debt management, will be able to help you (see the external links section on this page).

There are other welfare benefit changes described below and in the Welfare Reform booklet in the Documents section.

Click to expandBenefits 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.  ​

Click to expandHousing 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.  

If you are struggling to pay the rent as a result of Under Occupancy, you  may be entitled 
to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. For more information, please see the leaflet and FAQ’s in the documents section.

If you are affected by this change it is important you speak to your housing office or landlord as soon as possible.

Click to expandI was on Universal Credit at my old address

If you are already receiving Universal Credit you will stay on it even though you have now moved to a non-Universal Credit area. You will not be entitled to claim Housing Benefit from your new local authority.

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