In April 2013, the Welfare Benefit system saw its biggest change for 60 years. We've been updating you on these changes for the past year, but now is the time for ACTION.
The key changes are described in detail on this page.
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Universal Credit will start to be paid to new claimants from October 2013 and will replace a range of commonly claimed benefits – including Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income Support, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. Universal Credit will apply to working age households, providing a basic allowance with extra money for people with children, disabilities, care responsibilities and housing costs. The payment of Universal Credit will be made directly to you each month.
If your Housing Benefit is currently paid directly to Dales Housing you will need to make alternative arrangements to ensure that your rent is paid to us on time.
From April 2013, the Government has reduced the amount of Housing Benefit for tenants who have spare bedrooms in their homes. If you’re aged between 18 and 61 years (born after the 5 October 1951) and have one or more extra bedrooms, your Housing Benefit may be reduced. If you are affected then you will have to pay more rent each week as you will receive less Housing Benefit.
We have contacted every customer who will be affected by this change to discuss the options. If you wish to speak to us about this change then please contact us on 01629 593200.
From April 2013 a limit has been put on the amount of benefit that people aged 16 to 64 can get. The benefit cap means that people should not get more in benefit payments than the average wage paid to people in work. The maximum amount of benefit cap will be:
Affected families have received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions and been contacted by us. If you have further questions please contact us on 01629 593200 to discuss how we may be able to help. You can also use the benefit cap calculator at www.direct.gov.uk/benefitcap to find out if the cap will apply to you.
Council Tax Benefit is being changed and will mean that all working age residents will have to make a contribution to their Council Tax bill. The details of the contributions are being consulted on by Derbyshire District Dales Council.
Make an appointment to see our friendly and knowledgeable Money Advisor – Helen Sutton.
Helen will be able to help you deal with your debts and answer any questions you have about the benefits you may be entitled to. She can also help you to plan a weekly budget to make your money go further.
Dales is working in partnership with the CAB and Derbyshire Dales District Council and have recruited a specialist – Emma King who can help you with your queries about the Welfare Benefit changes. Emma will be able to give you advice about the benefits you are entitled to and help with any debt problems you may face.
Chesterfield Law Centre is an independent organisation working in partnership with advice agencies across Derbyshire, as well as being an active member of Advice Derbyshire. The Law Centre provides specialist legal help in certain areas of social welfare law, including housing and homelessness protection.
If you are affected by the under occupation tax and want to downsize to a smaller property please contact our Customer Service Team who will be able to provide you with advice about your options.
If you are worried about how you are going to keep up with your weekly rent payments then please contact the Income team who will be able to talk through your options and provide you with advice about how to pay your rent.
Please remember these changes may have a big impact on you – please don’t struggle alone. Contact us and we will be able to help. If you fail to make your rental payments then action will be taken against you and your home may be at risk.
Please telephone our Customer Services team who can help you with your query or make an appointment with one of our experts on 01629 593200.
We are holding free and confidential Money Advice drop ins at Matlock and Ashbourne – please contact us for times and locations.