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Maidstone Borough Council 5 Benefits are changing

Benefits are changing in 2013, and a new Universal Credit will replace many benefits such as

Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit. Some people will receive less financial help from the state than they have had previously.

In this edition of Borough Update, we look at some of the

changes and how they may affect you. We also examine the help and support on offer if you need it.

Benefit changes and how they might affect you

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 will change the benefits system, starting in April 2013.

Key changes

The government is making changes to other benefits:

 Disability Living Allowance will be replaced by Personal Independence Payment from 2013.

 Council Tax Benefit will be abolished in April 2013 and replaced by a system of localised support.

 Pension Credit will be amended from October 2014 to include help with eligible rent and dependent children.

 The Social Fund is being reformed and new local assistance will be provided by Kent County Council.

There will be a cap on benefits to each household to ensure people are better off when in employment.

Child benefit is also changing, and from January 2013 families where one or more parents earns between £50,000 and £60,000 will have their benefit reduced on a sliding scale, and will lose the benefit entirely when earning over £60,000.

One of the biggest changes is the introduction of Universal Credit in the autumn of 2013.

Universal Credit will replace:

 income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Benefit cap The changes to the welfare system will include a benefit cap.

This means the amount that a family can receive in welfare benefits will be limited to £500 per week. A single person will be limited to £350.

There are some exceptions, for example people receiving Disability Living Allowance or Working Tax Credit.

The government has written to everyone who they believe will be affected.

If you are over the limit and claim Housing Benefit, you may find your benefit will be reduced.

The council has written to all those it knows to be affected and social housing landlords might contact their tenants.

If you have received a letter and are concerned, please contact your landlord to discuss it further. The council or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau can also offer advice. See page 7.

 income-related Employment and Support Allowance

 Income Support  Child Tax Credits Working Tax Credits  Housing Benefit

Those already claiming these benefits will be contacted directly about the changes.

Universal Credit will not replace:  Pension Credits  Contributory Job Seeker’s Allowance  Contributory ESA  Disability Living Allowance  Child Benefit

 Bereavement, sick and maternity benefits/payments

 Council Tax Benefit

But some of these benefits will change and some people will receive less help from the state than they have had previously.

The changes to the benefits system are being phased in over the next few years.

The government is introducing the changes to:

 create the right incentives to get more people into work

 protect the most vulnerable in our society

 deliver fairness to those claiming benefit and to the tax payer.

Those affected by changes in benefit will be notified in writing by the relevant authorities.

Anyone concerned about changes should see page 7 for details of where to go for advice.

The welfare reform changes do not affect pensioners. The changes only affect people who are between 18 and 65 years of age receiving state benefits such as child tax credits and working tax credits

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