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Changes to Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Over the past few years there have been changes to the welfare system. This page tells you about further changes that are being proposed. When further guidance and legislation is released, we will update this page.

Universal Credit

It has been announced that Housing Benefit will become part of the new Universal Credit that will be introduced from late 2013/early 2014. This means that for some people housing costs will be paid as part of the Universal Credit instead of as a separate benefit. These changes are under consultation and we do not yet have any further information. We will update this website when we have more details.

Changes to the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from April 2013

Social Sector Size Criteria

This change concerns a reduction in benefit for those working age tenants in council owned or registered social landlord owned homes, who have a larger house than the Government says that they need. This change is to bring social housing restrictions in line with that already existing in the private sector.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will be increased in line with the Consumer Prices Index

This change means that we will no longer review your claim on the anniversary of your LHA award. Instead the changes will be made once a year, in April for everyone and there will be a new method of working out the LHA rate.

Restriction of benefits to the 'benefit cap'

This change affects working age claimants and puts a cap on the maximum level of income that you can receive from benefits. Some benefits will however be exempt from the cap. Housing Benefit is the benefit that will be reduced when someone's benefit income reaches the cap level. The cap is most likely to affect larger families and will not include those families in receipt of Working Tax Credit or Disability Living Allowance.

Council Tax Benefit is to be abolished

It will be replaced by a local scheme run by the council. The new scheme will be called Council Tax Reduction.

From October 2013 Housing Benefit will become part of the Universal Credit scheme for working age claimants

This new benefit will be administered by DWP and will replace out-of-work income-related benefits and tax credits to help people move into work. This means that claims for Housing Benefit will no longer be administered by the local authority. It will take approximately four years for the Housing Benefit scheme to move to Universal Credit for working age claimants.

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