What's New in Housing and Council Tax Benefit
APRIL 2013 KEY CHANGES
Council Tax Benefit is being abolished
and replaced with a new localised Council Tax Reduction Scheme
Introduction of the Size Criteria in Social Housing
(known as 'Bedroom Tax')
2013 the Government plans to apply Size Criteria for all social
housing. The Size Criteria rule means that working age
customers whose landlord is a Registered Social Landlord and who
have more bedrooms in their property than they need will have their
Housing Benefit Reduced.
the restrictions in the private rented sector, the number of
bedrooms allowed will be dependent on the number of people living
in the household. One bedroom will be allowed for each of the
- Every adult couple
(married or unmarried)
- Any other adult aged 16
- Any two children of the
same sex aged under 16
- Any two children aged
- Any other child (other
than a foster child or a child whose main home is elsewhere)
- A carer or team of
carers, who does not live with the customer, but provides overnight
care for them or their partner.
If you have more bedrooms than
the Size Criteria allows, the eligible rent used to calculate your
Housing Benefit entitlement will be reduced by:
you have 1 extra bedroom or
you have 2 or more extra bedrooms
The Size Criteria will not
affect the following customers:
- Shared ownership
- Customers who have
reached the qualifying age for state pension credit
- Tenants in Temporary
Accommodation (placed though Housing Options)
- Tenants in supported
exempt accommodation, where care support and/or supervision is
provided by your landlord as part of your conditions to stay.
If you believe you are in one
of these groups but have been advised you will be affected by the
Size Criteria, please contact Customer Services (01234 718097).
Disabled customers are
not automatically excluded from the Size
Carers are not exempt, as under the current rules,
both the presence of the children being fostered and the income for
their care are disregarded for Housing Benefit purposes.
the Size Criteria your Housing Benefit will be reduced, your
options are to:
the Council if an exemption (see above) applies
- Pay the
shortfall between your Housing Benefit and the rent that is
- Move or
apply for a transfer to a smaller property
someone else move into the property
for a Discretionary Housing Payment
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Transfer of elements of the
Social Fund from Jobcentre Plus to Local Authorities
The Social Fund will be abolished on 31 March 2013 and funding
to provide a similar service has been allocated to local
authorities. Bedford is in the process of deciding how this
will be administered and what we can offer. You can make comments
on this new Local Welfare Provision at the consultation at:
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Introduction of a Benefit Cap
The Benefit Cap restricts a customer’s total income from
benefits to £500.00 per week for a couple or family, and £350.00
per week for a single person. Aimed solely at working age
customers who are not in work, it will add together income from out
of work benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit,
Child Benefit and Housing Benefit. If the total exceeds
either £500.00 or £350.00 per week, the customer’s Housing Benefit
will be reduced pound for pound until either the cap is reached or
there is only a residual £0.50 of Housing Benefit entitlement.
If anyone in the household is entitled to Disability Living
Allowance or the Support Component of Employment and Support
Allowance, they will be exempt from the cap.
In Bedford it is estimated that the Benefit Cap will affect
approximately 100 households, many being larger households with 5
or more children.
The main way to avoid the cap is to enter into work and be
entitled to Working Tax Credit.
The Benefit Cap is being piloted in London from April 2013 and
is planned to be rolled out nationally over the summer/autumn.
The Jobcentre Plus will be writing to families they believe
will be affected by the cap and encouraging them to take steps to
getting back into work.
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Personal Independence Payments
replacing Disability Living Allowance
From 8 April 2013 Personal Independence
Payments (PIP) will replace Disability Living Allowance for people
aged 16 to 64 with a health condition or disability.
PIP helps with some of the additional costs
caused by ill-health or disability. You may need an
assessment to work out the level of PIP you will get.
not based on your condition but on how your condition affects
As with Disability Living Allowance,
be disregarded for the purpose of Housing Benefit and Council Tax
Support . To find out more about PIP and how it may
affect you go to:
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