Housing Benefit changes

From 15 May 2019, mixed age couples (where one party of the couple is over Pension Credit qualifying age and the other under that age) will no longer be able to choose whether they claim Universal Credit or Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit. Both parties of a couple will have to reach the Pension Credit qualifying age before they can be entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit.

The definition of mixed age couples includes a polygamous marriage where at least one party to the polygamous marriage has reached the Pension Credit qualifying age and at least one party has not.

From 11 April 2018 the following changes have been made to Universal Credit (UC) and Housing Benefit (HB) claimants;

  • those living in temporary accommodation will no longer have to claim UC for help towards their housing costs, they will be eligible to claim HB
  • a two week transition to UC Housing Payment will be awarded to HB claimants who naturally migrate to UC by awarding an addition two weeks HB entitlement from the date of the HB stop notification.

Following the budget in November 2017 further proposed changes to Universal credit and Housing Benefit were announced. A summary of these changes can be found Icon for word here [20.2KB].

From April 2017 the support for Tax Credits and Universal Credit will be limited to two children.

For Universal Credit, elements will not be included for a third (or more) child born after 6 April 2017, unless an exception applies. Families with two or more children will not be able to make a new claim for Universal Credit until November 2018, even if they are in a full digital service area. They will be signposted to make a claim for Housing Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance and/or Child Tax Credits.

The following changes have taken place during 2016:

Housing Benefit backdating has been reduced so that new claims from working age claimants will be backdated for a maximum of one month.

With effect from 1 May 2016 the family premium in Housing Benefit (£17.45 when a claimant has one or more dependant children) has been withdrawn. Removal of the family premium will affect both new claims and new births from 1 May 2016.

From 28 July 2016 provisions for any absences to areas outside if Great Britain have been reduced from 13 weeks to 4 weeks.

There are no changes to the provisions relating to:

  • intention to return
  • that the main dwelling has not been and will not be sub-let and
  • that the period of absence is unlikely to extended beyond the limits.

Existing provisions for temporary absence within Great Britain are unchanged.

From November 2016 the Benefit cap was reduced

The cap of £26,000 per year has been reduced to £20,000.

The Benefit Cap will be set at:

  • £384.62 a week if you are a couple or have children
  • £257.69 a week if you are a single person