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Changes to your benefits

The Government has introduced a number of changes to the benefits system. These may affect the payments you receive. Find out the most recent updates to a number of benefits below.

Am I entitled to support?

If you are not sure if you are eligible for these benefits or if the changes will affect you, you can visit the Entitled To, Citizens Advice Bureau or contact us. We're here to help!

You can also check what benefits you are potentially entitled to, by using the following benefits calculator.

Benefits calculator

  • Bedroom Tax

    The bedroom tax only applies to people of working age. If you have a spare bedroom, your Housing Benefit will be reduced by:

    • 14% of your rent if you have one spare bedroom
    • 25% of your rent if you have two or more spare bedrooms

    The following occupants are expected to share a bedroom:

    • An adult couple
    • 2 children under the age of 16 of the same sex
    • 2 children under the age of 10 (regardless of sex)

    The following can have their own bedroom:

    • A single adult over the age of 16
    • A child that would normally share a room but the shared bedrooms are already taken e.g. you have three children and two already share
    • Children who cant share because of a disability or medical condition
    • A non-resident carer for you or your partner (but only if they must stay overnight)

    One spare bedroom is allowed for:

    • An approved foster carer who is between placements but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
    • A newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time
    • Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces will not be counted as spare if they are away and intend to return home

    If you have a shortfall in your rent you could consider:

    • Downsizing or home-swapping to a different sized property
    • Applying to your council for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

    We might be able to help you downsize if you are affected by the bedroom tax. Please contact us on 0300 373 3000.

  • Benefit cap

    The Benefit Cap is the limit to the total amount of benefits that most people between 16 and 64 can receive.

    From 7 November, the weekly Benefit Cap was reduced for working age tenants, meaning some of you will receive fewer benefits to help pay your rent.

    Who is affected?

    If you live in London and are of working age:

    For a couple, with or without children, and single people with children, the cap will be reduced to £442.31.

    For single people without children, the cap will be reduced to £296.35.

    If you live in Hertford and other out of London properties and are of working age:

    For a couple, with or without children, and single people with children, the cap will be reduced to £384.62.

    For single people without children, the cap will be reduced to £257.69.

    Further caps for those who have not been capped before will start in January 2017.

    Benefits that are not included in the Benefit Cap

    You are not affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

    • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
    • Armed Forces Independence Payment
    • Attendance Allowance
    • Carer’s Allowance
    • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
    • Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
    • Guardian’s Allowance
    • Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
    • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
    • Universal Credit payments towards carer’s costs or for ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’
    • War pensions
    • War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension

    You can find out if the benefits cap affects you by using the Benefits Cap calculator.

  • Council Tax Support

    Council Tax Benefit has become Council Tax Support.

    If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, please visit your local council’s website for more information about the support available to you.

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) changing to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

    Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is ending for people who were born after 8 April 1948. You will receive a letter inviting you to apply for the new benefit Personal Independence Payment.

    Your DLA will continue if you were born on or before 8 April 1948 or if it's for a child up to the age of 16 years old.

  • Non-dependant deductions

    A non-dependant is someone who normally lives with you on a non-commercial basis such as an adult son, daughter, relative or friend.

    The amount of housing benefit and/or Council Tax Support that you receive is likely to reduce if you have a non-dependant person living in your home.

    Some housing benefit claimants may be exempt:

    • A person who is registered blind
    • A person who is receiving Attendance Allowance, or the care component of Personal Independence Payment

    Some non-dependants are exempt:

    • A person who is receiving Pension Credit
    • A person who is under 18
    • A person who is under 25 who is receiving Income Support or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
    • A person who is under 25 who is in the assessment phase of income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • A prisoner
    • A student (only exempt from non-dependant deductions in housing Benefit, and only if the claimant and any partner are under 65. Non-dependant deductions will apply in the summer holiday if the student takes up paid work)
    • A person who has been in hospital for 52 weeks or more
  • Universal Credit

    Visit our page on Universal Credit

    You can also download our leaflet on Universal Credit by clicking on the image below.

  • Useful contacts at Network Homes

    Please contact us when you make a claim for Universal Credit or another benefit or if you have any questions about changes to your benefits. Our teams are here to help!

    Team

    Contact details

    Welfare Benefit Advice Team
    If you need assistance with benefit claims and information on help you may be entitled to.

    Email. welfareadvisors@networkhomes.org.uk 
    Phone. 0300 373 3000.

    Worksmart Team
    If you need help getting ready for work or finding employment.

    Email. Worksmart@networkhomes.org.uk

    Income Team
    If you need help managing your rent payments.
    Phone. 0300 373 3000

    Tenancy Sustainment team (Hertford)
    If you need help to sustain your tenancy or need some additional support.

    Email. youmatter@networkhomes.org.uk 
    Phone. 0300 373 3000.