Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
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Changes
Below we have listed the key welfare benefit changes that took effect from April 2017 - for the full list of changes in 2017 click here


Bedroom Tax/LHA Size Criteria changes

Following on from the Supreme Court decisions in November 2016, the government have announced that from 1 April 2017 an extra bedroom can be awarded to disabled couples who cannot share a room and to disabled children or non-dependants who need an overnight carer.  More here.

Housing Benefit

  • No Work Related Activity Component in HB assessment unless Work Related Activity Component in HB claimant's (or partners) Employment and Support Allowance award - see below.
  • No extra Child Allowance Housing Benefit claimants in respect of a child born on or after April 2017 if there are already two or more Child Premiums included in the award (with exceptions) - click here.

 

    Universal Credit

    • No new Limited Capability for Work Element for new or existing claims from April 2017 - unless been getting a LCWRA element since before 3rd April 2017 - click here.
    • The Universal Credit taper rate on claimant's earnings reduced from 65% to 63% as per regulations which came into force on the 10th April 2017.
    • From April 2017, the earnings threshold that excludes claimants from the benefit cap increased from the flat rate of £430 a month to £520 a month (the monthly equivalent of 16hrs a week x the living wage). More on UC and the benefit cap here.
    • The higher first Child Element will not be given to claimants whose first child is born after 6th April 2017 (this is a change from the original plans which was that the higher first child element was to be abolished for all new claims to Universal Credit made on or after 6th April 2017).
    • No extra Child Element for existing Universal Credit claimants in respect of a child born on or after 6th April 2017 if there are already two or more Child Elements included in the award - the 'two child limit'.
    • Families with three or more children cannot make a new claim for Universal Credit - they are directed to claim 'legacy benefits' instead - even in the 'Full'/Digital areas - click here.
    • No automatic entitlement to the Housing Costs Element for those claimants aged 18-21 who are on Universal Credit under the Digital Service - click here.
    • New ‘Youth Obligation’ for 18 to 21 year olds on Universal Credit in full digital UC areas - more on this here.
    • Full conditionality for lone parents and primary carers who are on Universal Credit when youngest child turns 3; youngest child aged 2 expected to attend work focused interviews & undertake work preparation; youngest child aged one expected to attend work focused interviews - click here.


    Tax Credits
    • No Family Element for Child Tax Credit in respect of a child born on or after 6th April 2017.  The Child Tax Credit (Amendment) Regulations were laid before parliament on 15th March 2017 and come into force on 6th April. 
    • No extra Child Element for Child Tax Credit claimants in respect of a child born on or after 6th April 2017 if there are already two or more Child Elements included in the award (unless excluded) - the 'two child limit'.

    Employment and Support Allowance
    • No Work Related Activity Component included in an ESA award where the claimants limited capacity for work started on or after 3rd April 2017 - click here.  Claimants therefore placed within the Work Related Activity Group will generally paid the same amount of benefit as a Jobseeker.

    Bereavement Benefits
    • A new Bereavement Support Payment for deaths on or after 6th April 2017 to replace the previous system - that helps with the more immediate costs of bereavement i.e. a lump sum will be available with small on-going time limited monthly payments. This is a major change click here for more information on what's happening.