Council Tax Reduction
From April 2013 Council Tax Benefit was abolished. Councils set up a local scheme to help those on a low income. Pensioner’s entitlement will be calculated in the same way as under Council Tax Benefit. For refer to our full Council Tax Reduction Support scheme for a detailed overview.
Size Criteria for Social Housing
Size Criteria will now apply to social housing tenants. If a household has one bedroom more than it needs, the eligible rent include in the assessment for Housing Benefit will be reduced by 14 per cent. For two or more bedrooms the reduction is 25 per cent. This change doesn’t apply to pensioners. We have contacted all people affected by this change. Please refer to our overview and frequently asked questions for further information.
From October 2013 Universal Credit, administered by the DWP, replaces Job Seekers Allowance, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. The change will apply to the out-of- work new claims from October 2013. Existing Housing Benefit claimants will transfer between 2014 and 2017.
From April 2013 the Government is transferring responsibility for the Social Fund (emergency payments for furniture, domestic appliances, funerals etc) to councils. Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans currently administered by DWP will be abolished. In Northamptonshire this will be Northamptonshire County Council.
Local Housing Allowance
Local Housing Allowance rates (used to calculate Housing Benefit for private sector tenants) will be increased each April in line with inflation. This means that if rents in an area increase by more than inflation there’ll be a bigger gap between rents and Housing Benefit paid.
Discretionary Housing Payments
The Government is increasing the Discretionary Housing payments fund that the Council has so we can help households affected by the changes. See also our section on appeals overpayments and Discretionary Housing payments for further information.