In March 2012 the Welfare Reform Act introduced a number of changes to the benefits and tax credits system, which will be brought in over a number of years.
If you receive benefits or tax credits these changes will probably affect you. You will be told if and when your payments will change, but you may want to find out more in advance to help you to prepare.
Whatever you do - don't ignore the problem!
Ask for advice and consider all your options.
What are the main changes?
A number of major changes to the benefits and tax credit system may affect the amount of money you receive and how this is paid. These include:
Changes to Housing Benefit rules for people living in privately rented accommodation.
- Changes to Housing Benefit for working age Council / Housing Association tenants whose current home is bigger that they need, according to Housing Benefit rules. Use the calculator to check whether you will be affected by this change.
- The Benefit Cap - a limit on the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive. Use the calculator to find out if the cap will apply to you.
- Changes to Council Tax Benefit.
- The replacement of some parts of the DWPs Social Fund (such as Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans) with local arrangements.
- The replacement of Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments for eligible working age people.
- Changes to Tax Credits
- Changes to the Pension Credit qualifying age. A calculator is available to help you find out when you will qualify.
- The introduction of Universal Credit as a single payment to replace a range of benefits (including Housing Benefit) currently received by people who are looking for work or on a low income.
- Jobseekers Allowance sanctions.
Where can I get advice?
If you live in Cardiff and have been told that your Housing Benefit will be cut (for instance because you are a working-age Council or Housing Association tenant and your home is bigger than you need) contact the Council's Housing EnquiriesTeam on 029 2053 7111 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org for advice about your options.
Whether or not your benefits have been affected by the changes, you may want to find out whether there is anything you can do to increase your income. Use the online Benefits Advisor for instant information or, if you would prefer to talk to somebody on the phone or face to face, contact a Cardiff advice agency or national organisation for help. There are also helplines available for queries about most benefits and tax credits.
Further information on ways to reduce your bills and deal with debts can also be found on this website.