The Government has introduced a number of changes to the benefits system. These may affect the payments you receive.
The bedroom tax only applies to people of working age. If you have a spare bedroom, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by:
- 14% of your rent if you have one spare bedroom
- 25% of your rent if you have two or more spare bedrooms
The following occupants are expected to share a bedroom:
- An adult couple
- 2 children under the age of 16 of the same sex
- 2 children under the age of 10 (regardless of sex)
The following can have their own bedroom:
- A single adult over the age of 16
- A child that would normally share a room but the shared bedrooms are already taken e.g. you have three children and two already share
- Children who can't share because of a disability or medical condition
- A non-resident carer for you or your partner (but only if they must stay overnight)
One spare bedroom is allowed for:
- An approved foster carer who is between placements but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
- A newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time
- Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces will not be counted as spare if they are away and intend to return home
If you have a shortfall in your rent, you could consider the following options:
- Downsizing or home-swapping to a different sized property.
- Applying to your council for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).
Please contact SW9 Community Housing on 0207 326 3700 or use our contact us form if you would like to discuss the options of downsizing or DHP.
The Benefit Cap is the limit to the total amount of benefits that most people between 16 and 64 can receive.
The level of the cap is:
- £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
- £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them
- £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them
You are not affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household receives any of the following benefits:
- Working Tax Credit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefit
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you get the support component
- War Widow or War Widower’s Pension
- War pension
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
You can find out if the cap affects you by using the Benefits Cap calculator.
Council Tax Support
Council Tax Benefit has become Council Tax Support.
If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, please visit Lambeth Council’s website for more information about the support available to you.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) changing to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is ending for people who were born after 8 April 1948. You will receive a letter inviting you to apply for the new benefit Personal Independence Payment.
Your DLA will continue if you were born on or before 8 April 1948.
A non-dependant is someone who normally lives with you on a non-commercial basis such as an adult son, daughter, relative or friend.
The amount of Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support that you receive is likely to reduce if you have a non-dependant person living in your home.
Some housing benefit claimants may be exempt:
- A person who is registered blind
- A person who is receiving Attendance Allowance, or the care component of Personal Independence Payment
Some non-dependants are exempt:
- A person who is receiving Pension Credit
- A person who is under 18
- A person who is under 25 who is receiving Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- A person who is under 25 who is in the assessment phase of income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- A prisoner
- A student (only exempt from non-dependant deductions in housing Benefit, and only if the claimant and any partner are under 65. Non-dependant deductions will apply in the summer holiday if the student takes up paid work)
- A person who has been in hospital for 52 weeks or more
The Government has begun to roll out Universal Credit for people of working age. This is a new single monthly payment combining benefits for people who are looking for work or are on a low income.
Please contact our Housing Office on 0207 326 3700 as soon as you have been advised to apply for Universal Credit.
Universal Credit replaces:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Income Support
Your benefits may end before your Universal Credit starts. You may be able to get an advance on your first Universal Credit payment if:
- You have recently been receiving another benefit
- You are in urgent financial need
How to apply and how Universal Credit is paid
You can only apply for Universal Credit online and it is only available in certain areas.
Your payment will be paid directly to you in arrears on a monthly basis and you will be in charge of budgeting your money and paying your rent. It can take up to 12 weeks before payments are made.
To receive Universal Credit you will need to set up a bank account. If you need advice regarding setting up a bank account please contact the Housing Office on 0207 326 3700.
If you live with a partner and you both claim Universal Credit you will receive a single payment that covers you both.
Who can claim Universal Credit?
The monthly payment covers everyone in a family who qualifies for support.
This may be:
- A person claiming for themselves alone
- A person claiming for themselves and their child or children
- A couple making a joint claim for themselves
- A couple making a joint claim for themselves and their child or children
- Children over 18 living with their parents or siblings can claim Universal Credit in their own right
You must also satisfy certain financial conditions. Your entitlement will depend on both your income and savings. You cannot claim Universal Credit if your income or savings are above a certain limit.
If you can’t manage the single monthly payment, you may be eligible for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (where the housing part of your benefits will come direct to us and the income part will go direct to you). Your Universal Credit Agent (Job Centre Plus) will consider a number of factors to decide if you qualify.