Housing Benefit changes from April 2013. Janine Cox, Revenues & Benefits manager. Size criteria for social tenants. From April 2013 Housing Benefit will be worked out based on how many bedrooms you need for your household size.
Housing Benefit changes from April 2013
Janine Cox, Revenues & Benefits manager
From April 2013 Housing Benefit will be worked out based on how many bedrooms you need for your household size.
Affects working-age households only – if you or your partner are a pensioner this change will not affect you.
Will apply to working-age tenants in Temporary Accommodation
Will not apply to working-age tenants in supported accommodation i.e. hostels
Will not apply to working-age tenants in Sheltered accommodation
HB will be worked out based on the number of bedrooms the household needs, which is:
one bedroom for
every adult couple (same or opposite sex)
any other adult aged 16 or over
any two children under 16 of the same sex
any two children regardless of sex under age 10
any other child
One additional bedroom will be allowed where you or your partner require occasional overnight care
If you have children who cannot share a bedroom because of a health condition or disability we may allow a separate bedroom for them dependant on individual circumstances
Children away at college or university can be considered as part of the household if they return home during holidays.
We will need information from you on in all these circumstances.
Housing Benefit will be reduced by 14% for one spare bedroom, as defined by the criteria
Housing Benefit will be reduced by 25% for twoor more spare bedrooms, as defined by the criteria
The reduction is from your Housing Benefit not your income
If you suffer a bereavement you will receive up to 12 months protection before this change might affect you.
If you could afford your rent so were not claiming Housing Benefit but lose your job the size criteria will not apply for the first 13 weeks of any new claim for Housing Benefit.
We are writing to all those we think will be affected by this change, based on the information we already hold about who lives in your household.
If the information we hold is wrong you must tell us, you may lose benefit if you don’t.
We are working closely with other council departments to ensure tenants know all their available options.
The government is providing extra funding for the DHP fund, especially to help disabledtenants and foster carers.
This is a cash limited fund. Each case will be looked at individually but not all applications can be paid in full.
A DHP cannot cover ineligible services such as heating charges, or overpayment recovery action
A DHP can be used to pay moving costs.
We can pre-agree provisional DHPs before April 2013 so you know in advance if and how you will be affected by the changes when they happen.
From April 2013 the maximum amount of benefits a household can claim will be limited.
Affects working-age benefit claimants only, not pensioners
Total income from benefits is to be capped at £500 per week for couples or lone parents, £350 per week for single people
Benefits included: Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit, and Housing Benefit among others.
The cap won’t apply if you, your partner or any children are in receipt of Working Tax Credits or certain disability benefits.
The cap will be applied through Housing Benefit even though it is the DWP that decide who will be capped and by how much.
The DWP have identified those households likely to be affected and have already written to them with advice.
The list so far contains about 30 council households, we are contacting and visiting these households in person to discuss their options.
From April 2013 the council will be responsible for a new local version of what was council tax benefit (CTB)
The Government is reducing the money available to Councils for this by 10%, for Brighton and Hove this is about £2.5million
The final scheme has not been agreed yet – public consultation has ended, everyone of working age who gets CTB at the moment was written to and invited to take part in the consultation. We expect the final decision to be made by Full Council in December 2012 so information will follow afterwards.
Any scheme which is introduced will have to take account of people who are vulnerable
The proposals we consulted on are:
The Council is putting around £1m towards the scheme but we still need to make further changes
Pensioners will be protected
All people of working age will need to make some council tax payment
No household will be more than £3 per week worse off because of these changes (assuming there are no other changes of circumstances).
A discretionary fund will provide additional help in exceptional circumstances for the most vulnerable
The Severe Mental Impairment exemption is not being changed
Single person discounts are not being affected
Everyone who will be affected will be written to before the change happens
We will communicate with people in different ways, for example we will try to telephone those customers who haven’t had to pay council tax before when we are able to identify those who will be affected
Contact Housing Benefits or your local housing office:
Online: using our change of household form www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/householdchanges or the benefits claim and calculator https://brighton-hoveclaims.teamnetsol.com/
By post: Benefits Services, PO Box 2929, Brighton, BN1 1PS
By telephone: (01273) 292000
See the council’s website www.brighton-hove.gov.uk there are different links to pages about Benefits, Housing, Council Tax
We will be creating an online calculator to see how many bedrooms you are entitled to and how much benefit you might expect
You can contact your Housing office for tenancy advice
The DWP website is www.directgov.gov.uk, there is a factsheet on the benefit cap and an online calculator available