You may have seen or heard recently in the news the UK Government are planning major changes to the welfare system. These changes are likely to have an impact on most people of WORKING AGE (pensioners will NOT be affected by the vast majority of these changes) who receive benefits.

Some changes have already taken place with the majority of changes set to be introduced next year.

Within this page and further guidance on the Blackwood website, we aim to bring you up to date news of the latest developments and how these will affect you.

Which benefits will be affected?

Almost all benefits will be affected by these changes. Job seekers allowance, Housing benefit, Child tax credits, Income support, Incapacity benefit, Disability living allowance and Social Funds. 

Which change is likely to have the greatest impact?

This depends on individual circumstances, however the ‘migration’ from your current benefit award to ‘Universal Credit’ (please click on Universal Credit tab for further details) or the ‘Bedroom Tax’ i.e. having a spare bedroom (please click on Bedroom Tax tab for further details) will have the greatest impact for most people

What will happen to my benefits?

The changes to the benefits system has a number of objectives such as encouraging more people to get back into work. One aim of the Reforms is to reduce the amount of money the Government spends on benefits each year: as such, many if not most people will face a reduction in benefit income. Taking this into consideration it will be important for those receiving benefits to budget their income.


When will these changes take place?

Some changes are already underway. With more changes expected between April 2013 and October 2013 and in the months that follow.  For an idea of what changes are expected and when these will happen please view document here.

What can I do to prepare for these changes?

There are a number of key steps to take to ensure you are prepared for the changes: knowing what benefit you receive, being aware of the income and age of anyone living within your home and ensuring you have a  bank account for your benefit payments to be paid into, are some of the initial steps we would advise taking.

We understand however, taking these steps and knowing exactly how the changes will affect you can be both a challenging and daunting experience. If you feel you need any help or information please post your questions and one of our members will be able to advise you. Alternatively please contact your local money advice service and/or Citizens Advice Bureau.

The links below on the Blackwood site (our parent charity) give further information on each of these specific areas:

 

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this is affecting us badly as it must be for thousands of other disabled households, the extra we have to pay amounts to 15% of our income, so we now starve or lose our home, what a choice.

We have to sleep in seperate bedrooms because of my conditions but they wont accept this and I stil need to pay, our housing provider does not have enough one bedroom places to move everybody, and even if they did where would I keep all the equipment I need to help my mobility needs.

paying this will take my benefits to below what the government says we need to live on so does that not make this an illegal tax?

Would you like to hear how this works in practice?

I took out a Pensions Mortgage, as a repayment vehicle for my Mortgage.

Now that I have been required to  access this, to keep a roof over my head,  I  no longer qualify for Income Support or Incapacity Benefit. Having taken the time to make provision, I am worse off.

The Government refuses to look at my repayment vehicle as that: something which is coming in to go straight out again. They are counting it as Income. 

They are putting it in the same box as an Occupational pension, and no matter how much I contest this - that is what they state it is.

How can "What you need to live on" be properly assessed when you only see Income and Expenditure is not included?

This comes at a particularly bad time, as my husband is very ill, and I believe that the heating Bills will not only be through the ceiling, but through the roof (if we still have one!)

These need to be collated and written up as full case studies, so that Government can understand the consequences of its actions. By causing poverty, homelessness and dependence the country will not become richer.

That occurs through empowering and encouraging full citizenship.

Hi Anne, Linda,

The first step I would take is to write my local MP (if necessary turn up at the local constituency surgery) and copy all correspondence to Ian Duncan Smith (a letter addressed to him at "House of Commons, London" will reach him.

The government did announce yesterday that they are "looking again" at how some of their planned reforms (read "changes") to the benefits system will be executed in practice. I sense there is an open door if you are quick enough to stick your foot in, so to speak.

You may also want to contact local disability rights groups (each local authority has to have a "disability rights" team) as well as organisations such as Age UK and any relevant to your particular medical condition (eg; in my case that might include the Stroke Association, Different Strokes) to see if a more powerful voice can be put forward in concert with others.

I wouldn't do one or the other of these - I would do them ALL.

You each have my full sympathy and best wishes.

Thanks for your reply George, I hope this information helps others. I have taken all the steps you said but await a reply from my MP or the house of commons.

Linda I sympathise with your situation, it does not help anyone with medical issues be they physical or mental to have this extra stress put on them, What fools this government are that think an extra bedroom is a luxury, and as for the money they say we need to live on what a farce as you say they take no account of what goes out.

Hoping that with all the letters etc to all the relevant people that there will be a change to these archaic laws and let us have a decent standard of living

This dispatches program may be of interest to those concerned with the changes in welfare reform... http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od

An interesting report - sadly trelling us what we already know. I hope it gets a wider audience.

Thanks for the link, Anne.

universal credit has been attacked by govt. watchdog and given a red light rating suggesting it's on the verge of collapse costing hundreds of millions it's years late and still doesn't work

THE MANAGEMENT OF THE PROJECT HAS BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF UTTERLY INCOMPETENT

Further to my post last year about bedroom tax, this info will only be good for people living in Scotland, We are supposed to believe that our scottish government has abolished this unfair tax for all scottish resident affected by it, well the truth is the extra money has been given to the discretionary housing payment folk, so if you dont apply for DHP then you will still be paying it, I advise everyone to apply as it is now automatically given to scottish residents under the new legislation for the year 2014/2015. Should be abolished forever for all UK residents, hope this helps someone out there 

JOIN YAHOO GROUP BRITISH DISABLED ALLIANCE NOT FOR PROFIT FREE CAMPAIGNING GRUP

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