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 2013
Benefit Changes 2014
Benefit Changes 2015
Benefit Changes 2016
Benefit Changes 2017
Benefit changes 2013
Housing Benefit and Universal Credit
Amendments to the size criteria rules for
Housing Benefit and Universal Credit from 4 December 2013:
- allow for an extra bedroom for a disabled child who is entitled
to the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living
Allowance (DLA) if they would normally be expected to share a
bedroom under size criteria rules but are unable to do so due
to their disability;
- for joint tenants, ensure that a bedroom is not treated as
spare when it is occupied by another joint tenant’s overnight carer
or child of a qualifying parent or carer; and
- allow for an approved foster carer who is a single person under
35 to be exempt from the definition of a 'young individual' for the
shared accommodation rate.
When considering whether a child’s disability makes it
unreasonable for them to share a bedroom, the factors a local
authority should consider include -
- whether the child is currently sharing a bedroom without
- whether the frequency and nature of any overnight care causes
prolonged and/or repeated disruption to another child;
- whether the nature of the disability increases the likelihood
that the child may behave disruptively during the night;
- whether sharing a bedroom poses a risk of physical harm to
either child; and
- how long the situation is likely to last - to qualify for an
extra bedroom the inability to share would be expected to be long
Local authorities will now need to review all cases awarded
under previous guidance to see whether or not reassessment is
required due to these amendments.
If the disabled child is not in receipt of middle or high rate
care component of DLA but is still unable to share a bedroom due to
disability, the Local Authority should consider whether a Discretionary Housing Payment award is
See the Turn2us Housing Benefit
information sheet for more details.
Benefits changes 2014
The transfer of existing claimants on
incapacity benefits (i.e. Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement
Allowance and Income Support on disability grounds) to Employment
and Support Allowance should be completed by the end of March
See the Turn2us Incapacity Benefit
changes information sheet
Winter Fuel Payments
After 31 March you will no longer be able to claim for the first
three years of the Winter Fuel Payments scheme - i.e. 1997/1998,
1998/1999 and 1999/2000.
If you were aged 60 or over in
the qualifying week for those years and were living in Great
Britain or Northern Ireland you should claim by the end of
See Winter Fuel Payments for further
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Child Tax Credit
At the moment if you confirm your child
is staying on in full time non advanced education (FTNAE) at 16,
your payment for that child automatically continues until the child
turns 20 and is removed from the claim.
From April 2014, if you have a child
aged between 16 and 19 included in your claim, each year by 31
August you will need to inform HMRC if they remain
in FTNAE. If you fail to do so the child will be removed from
your claim and your award will be reduced or will stop if
there is no longer any entitlement.
As announced in the Chancellor's Spending Review in
June 2013, the planned changes to Jobseeker's Allowance
- Extending the waiting period for first claims from three days
- Longer initial interviews for new claimants, who must provide a
- Claimants with poor spoken English required to attend classes,
or face sanctions
- Weekly meetings, instead of fortnightly, with Job Centre
advisers for those deemed not to be doing enough to find a job
The original roll-out schedule planned for there being no new
claims for the benefits replaced by UC from April 2014; Iain Duncan
Smith has since said that there will be "significant volumes" of
new claimants moving on to UC throughout 2014 but there will not be
the full roll-out from April originally planned.
Instead, from April, couples and families will be able to claim
UC in the ten areas that were only taking UC claims for
certain single people up til this point.
From April 2014 Universal Credit is also expected to be
introduced in Northern Ireland but as the Welfare Reform Bill has
not yet been passed into law this is subject to change.
Changes have been agreed about the way Universal Credit is paid
in Northern Ireland:
- Housing cost element of Universal Credit paid direct to
- Payment of Universal Credit may be split between two people in
- Payment of Universal Credit may be payable twice each
See the Turn2us Universal
End of 2014
By the end of 2014, Universal Credit will start to be rolled out
across more of the North West of England.
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Benefit changes 2015
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 £6000 of registered childcare costs per child, per year.
This equates to a maximum of £1200 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.
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Date to be confirmed
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 in 2015.
Funding will be incorporated into local social care
arrangements - through local councils in England and the
devolved governments in Scotland and Wales.
People who already have ILF care packages will have to transfer
to new local arrangements.
See the Independent Living Fund
website for more information
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 - 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.
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.
See the Turn2us State Pension age
changes information sheet.
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
Single Tier Pension
Legislation to bring about this change has not yet been
introduced. The Government doesn't intend to bring this in until
April 2017 at the earliest.
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 £145.40 per week for a
single pensioner and £222.05 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.
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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: 6 December 2013