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 2014
Benefit Changes 2015
Benefit Changes 2016
Benefit Changes 2017
Benefits changes 2014
Child Tax Credit
Since January, EEA migrants who
arrive in the UK looking for work face a three-month wait before
they can claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. These rules
limiting migrants’ access to out-of-work benefits will be extended
to Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit from 1 July.
EEA migrants who arrive in the UK
looking for work or not intending to work will need to live in
the UK for three months before they can claim Child Benefit or
Child Tax Credit. This will not apply to those who are
employed or self-employed.
Evidence and information will need to be
provided to HMRC to show they have been resident for at least three
months, such as bank statements or tenancy agreements.
After the three month waiting period, EEA
jobseekers will only be able to get Child Benefit and Child Tax
Credit for 6 months - after 6 months, only those who have a job
offer or compelling evidence that they have a genuine chance of
finding work will be able to continue claiming, and then only for a
The new rules will apply to people arriving in
the UK for the first time, and to those returning after an absence
of more than 52 weeks.
Changes to Maternity Allowance (MA) mean that if your baby
is due on or after 27 July 2014, and you help your partner run
their own business, you might be able to get a new lower
rate of MA for 14 weeks.
To qualify you must not be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay
or the higher amount of Maternity Allowance for the same pregnancy
and for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before your baby is
due, you must:
- be married or in a civil partnership with someone who is
- not be employed or self-employed yourself
- take part in the business of your self-employed spouse or civil
- not be paid for the work you do for the business
Your spouse or civil partner must be registered as
and should pay Class 2 National Insurance.
Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance
From 27 October the number of 'waiting days'
(days before you can get the benefit) for JSA and ESA
will be increased from 3 to 7.
This change applies across Great Britain and Northern Ireland to
JSA and ESA claimants at the start of a Job-seeking Period or
Period of Limited Capability for Work. Claimants living abroad and
claiming ESA would also be affected by this change.
Exemptions to the waiting days rule will still apply, such as
those who are claiming ESA as they are terminally ill.
Those who are affected are unlikely to be
told about the option of claiming a short-term benefit advance if this will
cause them hardship.
Benefit rules for EU migrants
In January 2014, it was
announced that EU migrants would not be able to claim out-of-work
benefits until three months after arriving in the UK and would only
be eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance for six months unless they
have genuine prospects of finding work.
The prime minister is to announce that this time limit
- which also applies to Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit - will
be halved to three months from November 2014.
End of 2014
By the end of 2014, Universal Credit will start to be rolled out
across more of the North West of England. See Universal Credit timetable for further details
of UC roll out.
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Benefit changes 2015
Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith has announced
that Universal Credit will be rolled out to all Jobcentres and
local authorities across the country from early 2015.
This will be for new claims from single jobseekers.
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.
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 to review decision to
abolish Local Welfare Provision. See
Turn2us News Story 17 September 2014
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.
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. Legislation
needs to be passed before the change can be made.
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 and may not take
place until 2017
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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
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.
Personal Independence Payment
Claimants aged 16-64 still receiving Disability Living
Allowance (DLA) will start to be contacted to claim Personal
Independence Payment instead.
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 closed during 2016. This will mean that all new benefit
claimants across the country will claim Universal Credit instead of the benefits it
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 Payments (BSP).
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.
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 UC 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: 29 September 2014