Benefit changes timetable
Significant changes are being made to
the benefits and tax credits system over the next few
A calendar of upcoming changes is
provided on this page.
An archive of changes that have
already happened can be accessed from the right hand side of
Turn2us has also produced information sheets
on the following aspects of welfare reform:
Please note: Information
about some of these changes may be limited at present and
also subject to further change. Although some will happen quickly,
others may be introduced over several years.
If you are worried about how you may be
affected you should discuss this with a benefits adviser. You can
use our Find an Adviser tool to
find one in your area.
You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to
the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:
Benefit Changes 2015
Benefit Changes 2016
Benefit Changes 2017
Benefit changes 2015
Personal Independence Payment
Since 28 October 2013 assessment for PIP has been
carried out for some Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
claimants in certain areas:
- If you have a fixed-term award of DLA which is due to
- If you notify PDCS that there has been a change in your care or
- If you turn 16
- If you choose to claim PIP instead of DLA.
The reassessment areas were increased on 26 January 2015 and
will be increased again from 30 March. See GOV.UK's Personal
Independence Payment (PIP) postcode map (link opens in a new
window) for up-to-date details of the reassessment areas so
Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith has announced
that Universal Credit will be rolled
out to job seekers in all Jobcentres and local authorities across
the country from early 2015.
Update: Recent press releases suggest that UC
will be rolled out to 1 in 3 jobcentres by Spring 2015 rather than
all jobcentres as was previously announced. This will still mostly
be for simple cases, i.e. jobseekers without children.
The areas that will see the introduction of Universal Credit
between February and July 2015 have been released. Click on the
link below for details of the areas and the dates they 'go
National expansion of Universal Credit (link opens in a new
From 26 January Universal Credit became available to job
seekers with children in 26 more areas across the country (6
jobcentre areas began taking claims from families in November 2014). These areas are
Ashton-Under-Lyne, Wigan, Oldham, Hyde, Stalybridge, Stretford,
Altrincham, Southport, Crosby, Bootle, Preston, Leyland, Prestwich,
Bury, Eccles, Worsley, Huyton, Kirkby, St Helens,
Newton-le-Willows, Hammersmith, Bath, Rugby, Shotton, Harrogate and
From 2 March Universal Credit will be available to
families in 96 jobcentre areas altogether.
GOV.UK for list of jobcentres currently taking claims for Universal
Cap on Welfare Spending
Total welfare spending, excluding the State Retirement Pension
and some unemployment benefits including Jobseeker's Allowance and
Universal Credit for Jobseekers, will be capped for
2015/16 at £119.5bn.
If more spending is required on one area of welfare, cuts
will have to be made elsewhere in the welfare budget, to stay
within the overall cap.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
From 5th April 2015 Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared
Parental Pay came into effect as part of the government’s policy
package aimed at encouraging shared parenting from the earliest
stages of pregnancy and adoption.
For further details see the Turn2us Shared Parental Leave and Pay
The government has announced that from April
2015, the earnings threshold for Carers'
Allowance will be raised to £110 a week; it is currently £102 a
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
From 27 April, all claimants in receipt of income-based
Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) will require an Annual Verification
check to confirm their circumstances.
The check reminds claimants of their responsibilities to provide
the Department for Work and Pensions with up to date information
about their circumstances so that they continue to receive the
correct amount of benefit.
An Annual Verification letter will be sent automatically 12
months from the date they first received income-based JSA and
repeated every year as long as they are in receipt of benefit.
People who already have an annual check for housing costs, capital
and occupational pension will find the JSA check included as part
Local Welfare Provision
Government intends to remove the Local
Welfare Assistance fund. Local authorities receive money from
the fund to help people in emergency and crisis
situations through their own Local Welfare Provision schemes.
This will have a substantial effect on the level of support a local
authority is able to provide to people when they are at their most
Update: Government reviewed
the decision to abolish Local Welfare Provision funding and
has now decided to allocate an additional £74 million to upper-tier
authorities, to help them in providing local welfare and health and
social care. This will help councils develop their localised
arrangements to provide assistance to people in 2015/16.
Genuine Prospect of Work Assessment
Genuine Prospect of Work assessment extended to older EEA
National JSA claims
From 9 February 2015, the DWP began to notify EEA nationals who
have an existing claim to income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
made before 1 January 2014 that they will now also be subject to a
genuine prospect of work assessment(GPoW) starting in three months
The first GPoW assessment interviews will start to take place in
May 2015. If, during the assessment interview, the JSA claimant is
unable to provide compelling evidence that they have a genuine
prospect of work, their current right to reside and consequently
their entitlement to income-based JSA will cease. The JSA claimant
will have the opportunity to provide evidence of an alternative
right to reside in the UK for the DWP Decision Maker to
The aim of extending the GPoW assessment is to ensure that all
EEA nationals claiming income-based JSA are treated in the same
way, regardless of when they made their claim to benefit.
Independent Living Fund
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) - which provides money to help
people with disabilities live an independent life in the community
- is to close on 30 June 2015 (it has been closed to new applicants
Funding will be incorporated into local social care arrangements
through local councils in England and the devolved governments in
Wales and Scotland will make their own arrangements.
People who already have ILF care packages will have to transfer
to new local arrangements.
See the Independent Living Fund
website for more information
Scottish Independent Living Fund
In light of the Independent Living Fund (ILF) closing - see
above - the devolved government in Scotland has proposed
a new Scottish Independent Living Fund (SILF) to support those
in Scotland who are currently receiving help from the ILF as
well as being open to new applicants.
The new scheme will be run by the third sector from July 2015.
Anyone eligible for help will be referred to the fund via local
authority social services.
For more information see
Tax Free Childcare
Tax Free Childcare is to be introduced as a replacement
for employer supported childcare (childcare vouchers).
The government will contribute up to 20% of the
first £10000 of registered childcare costs per child, per
year. This equates to a maximum of £2000 per child, per year. If
your child is disabled the government will contribute up to 20% of
the first £20,000 in acknowledgement of the higher childcare costs
The scheme will be available to people who have an annual
income under £150,000 and are not receiving help with childcare via
tax credits. It is expected to reach more people than the
For further details see our Tax
Free Childcare information sheet.
Winter Fuel Payment
Announced as part of the Spending Review in June
2013, it is planned that Winter Fuel
Payments will be cut for those living in hot countries from
The Chancellor, George Osborne, said that
the payment would be withdrawn from expats living in a
European country with an average winter temperature higher than the
The seven countries affected are: Cyprus,
France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain.
This change would save the Treasury about £30m.
Pension Credit modified
Universal Credit is replacing
Housing Benefit and Child Tax Credit so if you are over Pension Credit age you will get help with
your housing costs and costs of bringing up a child
through a new modified Pension
If you are currently claiming Housing Benefit and are over
Pension Credit age you will be moved onto the new modified Pension
Credit, between October 2015 and October 2017.
Update: This has been delayed due to the delays
in rolling out Universal Credit and may not take place until
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State Retirement Pension top-up scheme
A new top up scheme will be introduced to allow existing
pensioners, and those who will reach State
Pension age before 6 April 2016, to increase the amount of
pension they get.
By making a lump sum Class 3A Voluntary National Insurance contribution, pension income
can be boosted by up to £25 per week. The amount people will need
to pay to receive the additional pension will depend on their age.
For example, to get an extra £1 per week State Pension for life,
the lump sum payment for a 65-year-old would be £890, compared to
£674 for someone who is 75.
A State Pension top up
calculator is available on the GOV.UK website to show the
lump sum contribution needed to increase pension income by between
£1 and £25 per week.
Disability Living Allowance / Personal Independence
Claimants still receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will start to
be contacted to claim Personal Independence Payment instead.
DWP will randomly select DLA claimants in receipt of an
indefinite award or a fixed term award, and notify them about what
they need to do to claim PIP.
DWP will invite claims as early as possible from recipients who
have turned 65 after 8 April 2013, when PIP was first introduced.
If you turned 65 before 8 April 2013 you will remain on DLA.
All DLA claimants will have been invited to claim PIP by late
See the Turn2us Personal Independence
Payment (PIP) information sheet.
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Benefit changes 2016
Universal Credit (UC) - Roll out
Current plans will see new claims to existing
benefits being replaced by UC closed during 2016. This will mean
that all new benefit claimants across the country will claim
Universal Credit instead of the
benefits it replaces.
The Government also currently believes that
most existing benefit claimants will be moved over to UC during
2016 and 2017.
Bereavement Support Payment
The current bereavement benefit
system will be replaced with a single system of Bereavement Support
State Pension Age
Proposed Change: Plans to bring women’s pension
age in line with men’s will be sped up from April 2016 so that
women’s pension age reaches 65 in November 2018.
Pension age for men and women will then increase to 66 from
December 2018 to April 2020.
Update: The Pensions Bill has been amended
after concerns that some women would have to wait for up to an
extra two years to collect their pensions. The proposed rise in the
state pension age to 66 by 2020 is to be delayed by six months,
from April 2020 to October 2020 capping the increase at a maximum
of 18 months.
The Government has also proposed raising the State Pension age
from 66 to 67 gradually between 2026 and 2028.
See the Turn2us State Pension age
changes information sheet.
Single Tier Pension
The Government is introducing a flat rate (single tier) State
Pension for people who reach state pension age from 6 April
The single tier pension will be a flat rate without the
additions and complexities of the current system, and without the
right to inherit or get rights to a pension on the basis of
your spouse or civil partner's contributions.
The rate will be more than the basic means-tested support
currently available (the guarantee part of Pension Credit) which is £148.35 per week for a
single pensioner and £226.50 for a couple.
To qualify for the full single tier pension you will need 35
qualifying years of National Insurance
contributions (NICs) or credits. If you don't qualify for the
full pension you can get a smaller amount based on how many
qualifying years you have. However, you will need a minimum of
between seven and ten years.
If you qualify for the single tier pension you will not be able
to get the savings credit part of Pension Credit.
If you are already over State Pension
age when this is introduced you will continue to receive your
State Retirement Pension under the
current system and can continue to get the savings credit part of
Pension Credit if you are entitled to it.
As part of a campaign to raise awareness of the single-tier
state pension, the DWP says that a statement
service will provide people with a personalised written
estimate of what they can expect to receive under the new system
based on their national insurance contributions and work history to
The statement service will initially be available to the
approximately 2.5m people who reach state pension age in the first
five years of the new scheme (April 2016 and August 2021).
For more information, see the
Age UK information on What the new pension reforms mean for you
(link opens in a new window)
Universal Credit - Childcare element
An additional £200m of support will be provided within Universal
Credit, which is equivalent to covering 85% of childcare costs for
households qualifying for the Universal Credit childcare
element where the lone parent or both earners in a couple
pay income tax.
This is planned to be phased in from April 2016 as childcare
support moves from tax credits into Universal Credit. Details will
be set out in future spending reviews.
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Benefit Changes 2017
The Government expected that the roll out of Universal Credit would be complete by the end
of 2017. Iain Duncan Smith has since admitted that at least
700,000 claimants will not be on Universal Credit by the end of
2017. See our Universal Credit
Timetable to keep up with the progress of the roll out.
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Last updated: 9 April 2015