Tenants Association

AHP Tenants Association

More information will be available on this page shortly.

Welfare Reform

The Government will be making major changes to the benefit system now that the Welfare Reform Act has become law.

We feel it is important to keep you up to date with the changes and how they might affect you. Over the next 10 months we will be contacting residents who are likely to be affected by these changes to explain what this means and what help and support is available.

It is important that households affected by the reforms understand that any shortfall between Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and the rent due for the property they live in will have to be met by them.

This article outlines some of the changes which will happen in 2012 and 2013.

Most of the changes arising from welfare reform will happen from 2013 onwards.

From April 2012

Non-dependant Deductions

A non-dependant is someone who is aged 18 or over who is not your partner and who lives with you for example a grown up son or daughter.

The amount of Housing Benefit you receive can be reduced if a non-dependant lives with you. This is called a ‘non-dependant deduction’. This is because it is assumed that they will contribute towards your rent regardless of whether this actually happens.

The amount varies because it depends on their income.

For an example, an 18 year old non-dependant who lives with you, who in paid work, earning a Gross income of less than £124.00 each week will be expected to contribute £11.45 each week towards the rent from April 2012.

This means your Housing Benefit will reduce by £11.45 because of the non-dependant deduction.

Non-dependants are not expected to make a contribution if you are registered blind or receive Attendance Allowance of the care component of Disability Living Allowance.

If you are worried you might be affected by this, please contact us.

From April 2013

Under Occupancy This will affect tenants of working age who claim Housing benefit and who are considered to have at least 1 spare bedroom.

The current working age for men is 16 to 65 and for women it ranges from 16 to between 60 and 65 for those born between April 1950 and December 1953. The amount of Housing Benefit you receive will be reduced if the property you live in is considered too big for your household.

1 bedroom is allowed for:

  • Every adult couple
  • Every adult aged 16 or over
  • Any 2 children regardless of sex under age 10
  • Any 2 children of the same sex under age 16
  • Any other child
  • A non-resident carer who regularly provides overnight care to you or your partner if you or your partner are disabled

Housing Benefit will be cut by 14% if you have 1 spare bedroom and 25% if you have 2 spare bedrooms or more.

Benefit Cap

This will affect out of work families

The Welfare Reform Act gives the Government the power to cap the total amount of benefit (including Housing benefit) which a household can receive. The cap is likely to be £500 per week for lone parents and couples with or without children, and £350 per week for single people without children.

If a member of the household is claiming certain benefits (including Disability Living Allowance) then the benefit cap will not affect the household. War widows and widowers are also not included.

From October 2013

Introduction of Universal Credit

This will affect people of working age

Universal Credit will be a single benefit which will replace Housing Benefit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Universal Credit will not include Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or Personal Independence Payments.
Universal Credit will be paid once a month as a lump sum direct to the person claiming it. When a couple makes a joint claim they will have to decide who receives the payment.

Residents who receive help towards their housing costs as part of Universal Credit will be expected to pay rent to AHP themselves.

However the Government has announced that the vulnerable tenants will still be able to have their housing costs paid directly to their landlord but the definition of ‘vulnerable’ has not yet been agreed.

Pensioners will not be affected by Universal Credit so residents who are of State Pension age will continue to have their housing costs paid directly to AHP.

Example 1

Jane is aged 35. She is single and has 3 children, Mark aged 14, Emily aged 11 and David aged 6. Jane lives in a 4 bedroom house. Her rent is £65 a week. Now
Jane gets full housing benefit of £65 a week.

April 2013

Jane is allowed 3 bedrooms:

  • 1 bedroom for herself
  • 1 bedroom for Emily
  • 1 bedroom for Mark and David

This means that Jane’s Housing Benefit will be cut by 14% because she is considered to have 1 spare bedroom. Jane will get housing benefit of £55.90 a week. She will have to pay the shortfall of £9.10.

Example 2

Tom and Kate are both aged 42. They live in a 3 bedroom house. Their rent is £75 a week.

April 2012

Tom and Kate get full housing benefit of £75 a week.

April 2013

Tom and Kate are allowed 1 bedroom for themselves.

This means that Tom and Kate’s Housing Benefit will be cut by 25% because they are considered to have 2 spare bedrooms.

Tom and Kate will get housing benefit of £56.25 a week. Tom and Kate will have to pay the shortfall of £18.75 a week rent.

More links will be added here over time.

If you have any concerns about how these changes may affect you please contact your Housing Officer or our specialist Advisor Carol Henderson on 01224 548000.