Welfare Reform - changes to benefits
The government has introduced a number of changes to the way in which many benefits are administered and calculated.
If you receive Housing Benefit, the main areas of change that may affect you are:
- Household Benefit Cap
- Council Tax Hardship (CTH)
- Council Tax Support
- Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)
- Local Assistance Scheme
- Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
- Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS)
- Universal Credit (UC)
Household Benefit Cap
This is a cap on the total amount of out-of-work benefits that can be received by working age claimants. For more information about the Benefits Cap, visit the Government's Benefit Cap page.
If we have contacted you about the Benefits Cap and you have a query or would like further assistance, please use the following information to contact the correct team for help:
Please contact the Department for Work and Pensions if you:
- have a query about the Benefits Cap or disagree with it
- have a query about a benefit that the Department for Work and Pensions pays you
- would like to receive employment support.
Please contact our Benefits Team by telephone on 01332 255122 if you have a query about how your Housing Benefit has been calculated (but not about the Benefits Cap).
Council Tax Hardship (CTH)
CTH payments are a way of helping you if the Council Tax Support you get is not enough to pay your Council Tax bill. Our Benefits team is responsible for the Scheme and will decide whether or not you can get extra help. CTH payments are not the same as Council Tax Support. They are special payments which come from a separate fund.
For more information, see our Single Discretionary Award Scheme page.
Council Tax Support
This is a local scheme that was introduced in April 2013 which replaced Council Tax Benefit for those on a low income who need help paying their Council Tax. You can make a claim by using our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Claim form.
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)
We may be able to help you with a DHP award if you are receiving Housing Benefit, but the amount of benefit you receive is not enough to cover your rent payments and you are struggling to make up the shortfall. For more information, see our Single Discretionary Award Scheme page.
Local Assistance Scheme
This is a local scheme that was introduced in April 2013 which replaced the Community Care Grant and Crisis Fund elements of the Social Fund. For more information, see our Single Discretionary Award Scheme page.
Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
PIP started to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64 years from 8 April 2013. For more information, see the Government's Personal Independence Payments page.
Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS)
This limits the amount of Housing Benefit that can be paid for those who live in social housing and who are under-occupying their home.
For more information on RSRS, see the Department of Work and Pensions Housing Benefit Claimant Factsheet - Removal of Spare Room Subsidy.
In certain circumstances, you may be given some protection from these restrictions, whether you live in social or privately rented housing:
- Approved foster carers are allowed an extra bedroom for the child or children they are fostering, as long as they have fostered a child in the last 12 months or have become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months.
- Adult children who are in the Armed Forces, but who live with their parents when not deployed on operations are treated as living at home (even when away) as long as they intend to return.
- A child who is unable to share his/her bedroom due to the severe disability is allowed their own bedroom.
Anyone receiving Housing Benefit who falls into one of these categories should contact our Benefits Team immediately by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01332 255122.
We can then make sure you are receiving the right amount of benefit.
Universal Credit (UC)
Universal Credit Full Service was introduced in Derby on 11 July 2018.
This affects how most people at working age can claim help with their housing costs.
It means that most working age people will have to make two separate claims for help with their Council Tax and their rent.
People at state pension age
If you are a pensioner you are not affected by Universal Credit. For help with your rent and/or Council Tax, you should claim Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support using our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Claim form.
If you are not sure whether you are at pension age or not, you can use the government's pension age calculator.
People at working age
If you need help with your rent, you can only apply for Housing Benefit if you are in one of the following groups:
- you are at state pension age
- you, or your partner, are at state pension age
- you have three or more dependent children
- you are living in Specified Accommodation (and you need care, support or supervision)
- you have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Council.
If you are in one of these groups you need to make one joint claim with the Council for help with your rent and your Council Tax. Do this online using our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Claim form.
If you are not in one of the above groups you need to make two separate claims: one for help with your Council Tax and one for help with your rent:
(a) For help with your Council Tax you must claim Council Tax Support from the Council by using our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Claim form.
Council Tax Support is our local reduction Scheme to help you pay Council Tax for the home you live in. Both tenants and home owners, including those on low income, benefits and Universal Credit can claim Council Tax Support, as long as you have a liability to pay Council Tax.
We will assess your entitlement to receive help with your Council Tax, as long as you provide the information we ask you for.
If you qualify for help we will reduce your Council Tax bill.
Do not delay making your claim with us, as you could lose out on help with making your Council Tax payments.
(b) For help with your rent, you must apply online to claim Universal Credit from the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP).
The DWP will assess your entitlement to receive help with your rent as part of your Universal Credit claim, as long as you provide the information it asks you for. Do not delay making your claim, as you could lose out on help with making your rent payments.
Universal Credit will not give you any help with your Council Tax so it is very important that you also make a separate claim with the Council, for Council Tax Support, if you have a Council Tax liability.
You can get advice from the Money Advice Service website or visit our Welfare rights and money advice pages for more useful information.