Hounslow Council


Benefits

Major changes to the benefits system

Major changes to the benefits system came into effect from 1 April.

These are:

  • a cap on the total benefit that can be received by people of a working age

  • reductions in housing benefit for people with spare rooms and/or people living with other adults receiving an income

  • a personal independence payment, involving a medical assessment to replace disability living allowance

  • a universal credit, paid directly to claimants each month to replace several different welfare to work benefits; and

  • no more council tax benefits

It means thousands of Hounslow’s residents will be worse off, many of them single parents and families with children.

Around 500 households will be affected by the benefit cap and four in five of these people will lose from a few pence up to £150 per week, one in six between £150 and £300 per week and one in 25 will lose over £300 per week.

Some 15,000 people on benefits will now have to pay part of their council tax. The new universal credit will be paid monthly and directly to claimants instead of weekly, with rent paid directly to landlords. People not used to regularly paying their own rent or having to manage large sums of money will have to budget very carefully or may risk losing their home.

The council and its partners are working to make sure families and individuals understand their options and get the advice and help they need.

If you're concerned that you may be affected by these welfare reforms, contact Hounslow Homes or Hounslow’s Citizen Advice Bureau.

Find out how you are affected by using our welfare reform calculator.

Benefit cap

Later this year, a limit will be put on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called a benefit cap.

Universal credit

The new universal credit will provide support for people both in and out of work merging a number of benefits into one.

Changes to council tax benefit

The government has announced that council tax benefit is to be removed from April 2013. Councils are required to provide a local scheme, called council tax support.

Housing benefit reduced - extra bedrooms

Do you live in council accommodation or other social housing and have extra bedrooms in your house? Your housing benefit could now be reduced.