The UK Government has made major changes to the welfare benefit system, commonly known as Welfare Reform. Some of the benefit changes have already happened and others are due to happen soon.
From October 2013, a number of different benefits will be abolished and replaced by a single award called Universal Credit. At this time, your eligiblity to claim Universal Credit depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. Initially the national rollout will be limited to single claimants. Universal Credit is to be introduced in Glasgow from June 2015.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued some guides giving details about Universal Credit and how it works.
Universal credit will replace the following benefits
|•||income-based jobseeker's allowance
|•||income-related employment and support allowance
|•||child tax credits|
|•||working tax credits|
You can still apply for the following benefits (until they are replaced by Universal Credit)
To apply for a benefit you will need to contact your local Job Centre Plus, phone the Helpline or apply online - contact details are available at Direct Gov.
The Citizens Advice Bureau Advice Guide provides detailed information about tax credits for:
|•||people in work|
|•||people looking for work|
Many low-income households currently qualify for some help through the housing benefit scheme. From April 2013 working age people renting a property from the Council or a Housing Association may find their housing benefit is reduced if they are deemed to have an extra bedroom. Click here for more information about the Social Sector Size Criteria regulations, known as the Bedroom Tax.
For further information on Housing Benefit click here
Click here for more information on Universal Credit
Universal Credit will NOT replace Pension Credit. However, when Universal Credit is introduced, if either member in a couple is under qualifying age for Pension Credit then the couple will be treated as ‘working age’ and expected to claim Universal Credit. Due to the abolition of Housing Benefit, the Department of Work and Pension is updating Pension Credit to enable pensioners to claim for their housing costs (including rent) as part of their Pension Credit claim.
If you are on any of the benefits mentioned above you will be notified of any changes that affect you. If you receive a letter and would like help to understand what it means to you or what your options are then please contact GAIN, Glasgow’s Advice & Information Network
For free advice click here to search our database of advice centres across Glasgow or call the GAIN Helpline on 0808 801 1011. Calls are free from land-lines and mobile numbers.