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

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,
  • you would like to receive employment support

Please contact our Benefits team on telephone number 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 Council Tax Hardship 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 going online at Derby Direct to You

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 DHP page.

Local Assistance Scheme 

This is 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 Local Assistance Scheme.   

Personal Independence Payments (PIP)

PIP started to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64 from 8th 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 enquiries.benefits@derby.gcsx.gov.uk  or calling telephone number: 01332 255122.

We can then make sure you are receiving the right amount of benefit.

Universal Credit (UC)

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit that is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It is being introduced gradually around the country at the moment.

UC will eventually replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

At this time, your eligibility to claim UC depends on where you live and your personal circumstances.

More information


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