The government has made big changes to the welfare system, for people of working age (if you are pension age, then you won't be affected by most of these changes). The aim is to make the system simpler and to make sure that there is a minimum standard of living for everyone by incentivising people back into work. 

Bedroom tax (under occupation in social housing)

Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if your home is considered to be too big. This may apply to you if you have one or more bedrooms than you need, you will not be affected by this if you are of pension age. 

If this applies to you, your Housing Benefit entitlement will be reduced by 14% for one spare bedroom, or 25% for two or more spare bedrooms.

Read our  pdf bedroom tax information sheet (205 KB) to find out how these changes will affect you.

Benefit Cap

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have the sole responsibility for calculating whether a benefit cap will apply to you. The council administers the cap by reducing your Housing Benefit payments. The council has no discretion whether or not to apply the cap.

The cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit that people of working age can receive. The benefit cap means that working age claimants will be paid no more in benefits than the average of the net earned income of working households, even if their full entitlement would otherwise be higher. 

For more information on the Benefit Cap including who it does and does not affect along with a Benefit Cap calculator, refer to GOV.UK.

Changes to benefits for mixed-aged couples

Single people who claim benefits move from working-age benefits to pension age benefits, once they reach State Pension age.

People who were part of a mixed-aged couple could previously choose which means-tested benefits to claim once the older partner of the couple reached State Pension age.

From the 15 May 2019, a mixed aged couple that claims both working-age and State Pension benefits, the pensioner partner will not be subject to work-based conditions.

If you are in a mixed age couple and already in receipt of Pension Credit or pension-age Housing Benefit, you will remain unaffected.

Further information about this change is available on GOV.UK.

Council Tax Reduction scheme

In some circumstances, you may be eligible for a Council Tax reduction. If you are on a low income or if you claim benefits, you might be eligible for a Council Tax bill reduction (also known as Council Tax Support) of up to 100%. 

Apply for Council Tax Support

You can find out more in our  pdf Council Tax Reduction scheme (1.26 MB) fact sheet.

Universal Credit

A benefit payment system which is gradually being introduced to replace six existing benefits for working-age people, merging them into one payment. This monthly payment replaces a range of means-tested benefits including tax credits, housing benefits and job seekers allowance.

Useful links

  • Platform Housing Group - find out more about how the welfare reforms
  • Age UK - for more information on benefits for older people
  • DWP - further information on housing benefit changes
  • GOV.UK - for the latest information about changes to the housing benefit system