Other benefit changes

A number of changes to benefits have been introduced by the government in recent years.

  • Personal Independence Payments – Personal Independence Payments have replaced Disability Living Allowance from 8 April 2013.
  • Local welfare provision – Local welfare provision has been introduced to replace Community Care grants and other crisis loans previously administered by the Department of Work and Pensions.
  • Council Tax support – Council Tax support has replaced Council Tax Benefit from 1 April 2013.

Under occupancy or the ‘bedroom tax’

In April 2013, the government introduced new rules about housing benefit if you have a spare bedroom.

How will this affect you?

If you claim Housing Benefit, live in a council or housing association house and the council decides you have a spare room, you may receive less Housing Benefit.

Exemptions to this tax are listed on the Shelter website.

Going abroad?

If you go abroad for more than four weeks, you won’t be entitled to Housing Benefit. So if you’re planning on leaving the country, for any amount of time, you must tell your local benefits office when you’re leaving and when you plan to return. If you don’t tell them, it might even be considered benefit fraud.

There are some exceptions to the four-week limit, including:

  • if you’re in the armed forces
  • if you’re fleeing domestic violence
  • if you’re doing some approved training
  • if you’re receiving or providing approved medical care.

For more information, get in touch with your local authorities’ benefits department.