Key Changes in Benefits

Big changes have been made to the welfare benefit system

You can find out how you will be affected by the changes by using our welfare reform calculator.

The welfare reform changes do not affect pensioners. The changes only affect people who are of working age, which is from the age of 16 until you receive your state pension.

We know that many of you may be worried about what this could mean for you and your family. But it is important that you start to prepare for the changes to make sure your rent is paid and you don’t put your home at risk.

The government is making the following changes:

  • Disability Living Allowance was replaced by the Personal Independence Payment in 2013
  • Council Tax Benefit was abolished in April 2013 and replaced by our Council Tax Support Scheme
  • From Autumn 2016 total benefits will be capped at £384.65 a week for couples and £222 a week for single people. People receiving Working Tax Credit won't be affected by this cap
  • The Social Fund is being replaced by the Kent Support and Assistance Service. For more information visit Kent County Council's website
  • Social landlord bedroom size restrictions came into effect in April 2013. This means people living in social housing will have their housing benefit reduced if there aren't enough people living there

Child benefit is also changing. Families where one or more parent earns between £50,000 and £60,000 will have their benefit reduced on a sliding scale, and will lose the benefit entirely when they earn over £60,000.

One of the biggest changes was the introduction of Universal Credit in autumn 2013.

Universal Credit will replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

Universal Credit will not replace:

  • Pension Credits
  • Contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Contributory Employment Support Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance/Personal Independence Payments
  • Child Benefit
  • Bereavement, sick and maternity benefits/payments
  • Council Tax Support

Some of these benefits will change and some people will receive less help from the state than they have had previously. The changes to the benefit system are being phased in over the next few years.

The government is also introducing the changes to:

  • Create the right incentives to get more people into work
  • Protect the most vulnerable in our society
  • Deliver fairness to those claiming benefit and to the tax payer