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Making homes, helping people. AmicusHorizon. Universal Credit. From October 2013, the Government will introduce ‘Universal Credit’ for people of working age. What’s ‘Universal Credit’?

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Making homes, helping people

AmicusHorizon

Universal Credit

  • From October 2013, the Government will introduce ‘Universal Credit’ for people of working age.

  • What’s ‘Universal Credit’?

  • It’s a new type of benefit bringing together the main ‘out of work benefits’. It’ll affect anyone who claims or who will claim:

  • Housing Benefit

  • Income Support

  • Job Seekers Allowance

  • Employment and Support Allowance

  • Child Benefit

  • Child Tax Credit

  • Universal Credit will be a single monthly payment and paid direct to you, like a salary. You’ll then need to forward your rent to us, preferably in the form ofa direct debit. To set up a direct debit, contact us on 0800 121 60 60.

  • What can you do?

  • If you don’t have one already, open up a bank account, building society or Credit Union account

  • Set up a direct debit now so you’re in the routine of paying rent at the same time each month

  • Improve your computer skills as it’s likely you’ll need to use the internet to manage your claims. We can help with arranging a computer course

  • If you’re worried, please contact us and we’ll offer advice and help.


Under occupation

From April 2013, the Government will reduce housing benefit for people of ‘working age’ with spare bedrooms in their homes.

What does ‘spare’ bedroom (under-occupying) mean?

It’s having more bedrooms than the Government says are necessary. If you receive housing benefit and have a spare room, you’ll lose some housing benefit.

The new rules allow one bedroom for:

A couple

A person who is 16 or older

Two children (same gender) until their 16th birthday

Two children (any gender) until their 10th birthday

Any other child

Householder (or partner) needs overnight care

You’re not allowed an extra room if:

Couples sleep apart because of a medical condition

Children come to stay at weekends

You care for foster children

How much will I lose?

14% of housing benefit if you’ve one bedroom more than you need

25% if you’ve two (or more) bedrooms than you need

If you’re a single person or a couple living in a 2-bedroom home, you’re under-occupying.

If you’re a single person (or a couple) with one child living in a 3-bedroom home, you’re under-occupying.

What can I do?

Move to a smaller home. Apply for a transfer or mutual exchange

Take in a non-dependant (e.g. a grown up son or daughter)

Apply for a discretionary housing payment

Finding a job completely changes your ability to pay rent

Look closely at your financial budget.

Remember we’re help to help.


Benefit Cap

  • From April 2013, the Government are capping the total benefit a working age household are entitled to. A household is a single person or a couple and the children they’re responsible for. It doesn’t include non-dependants (e.g. grown up children, relatives or friends who live with you in your home).

  • We’ll provide clear information about the reforms so you understand how the changes affect you. And we’ll work with you to find solutions.

  • How much is the cap?

  • £500 a week for couples (with or without children) and single parents (£26,000 a year).

  • £350 a week for single adults (£18,200 a year).

  • What benefits will be taken into account when working out the cap?

  • Bereavement Allowance

  • Carers Allowance

  • Child Benefit

  • Child Tax Credit

  • Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Guardians Allowance

  • Housing Benefit

  • Incapacity Benefit

  • Income Support

  • Jobseekers Allowance

  • Maternity Allowance

  • Severe Disablement Allowance

  • Widows pension.

  • What benefits will be exempt from the cap?

  • Disability living allowance and its replacement Personal Independence Payment

  • Working tax credits (this depends on the amount of hours you work)

  • Attendance Allowance

  • Support component of ESA

  • War Widow/Widower’s pension

  • Industrial Injuries Benefit

  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

  • War Pension Scheme Payments


Non-dependant deductions

In April 2011, the Government started to increase the amount non-dependants pay towards rent. This applies to people on housing benefit with anyone living with them over the age of 18 (other than their partner).

What’s a non-dependant?

People who share your home (but don’t depend on you for financial support) are known as ‘non-dependants’ – e.g. grown up sons or daughters, relatives or friends.

Non dependants aren’t able to claim Housing Benefit for any payments they make for their keep.

Will it affect me?

If a non-dependant shares your home, it may well affect the amount of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit you get.

How will it affect my Housing Benefit/ Council Tax Benefit?

Deductions are made from your Housing Benefit/Council Tax

Benefit for non-dependants aged over 18 who normally live with you. There are different levels of deduction (we can explain these to you).

If the non-dependant works fewer than 16 hours a week, the lowest deduction applies. If the non-dependant does paid work (for 16 hours or more a week), the deduction depends on their income.

What can you do?

Make sure the non-dependant pays towards the household bills. Explain what could happen if they don’t pay towards the household e.g. rent arrears, legal action

Look closely at your household budget

Apply for a discretionary housing payment.


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