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Link to the Turn2us Benefits CalculatorA number of benefit changes are set to take place mainly from April 2016, although some of the measures may be subject to change or approval.

Next month, we will have a detailed breakdown of all the changes and who they will affect. 

This month, we have listed  the main changes planned and further information is available on these measures on our Benefit Changes Timetable page

Benefit changes from April 2016

  • Benefit and tax credit rates frozen for four years (does not apply to pensioner, carer and disability benefits)

  • Benefit cap lowered (postponed to Autumn 2016)

  • Tax Credits in year increase in income disregard cut from £5,000 to £2,500

  • Universal Credit Work Allowances removed for non-disabled claimants without children and reduced for claimants who have childcare responsibilities and/or a disability

  • Housing Benefit family premium abolished for new claims and new births from 1st May 2016

  • Housing Benefit backdating period reduced from six months to one month

  • Reducing length of time for claiming Housing Benefit during absence abroad

  • Mortgage Interest Help waiting period extended

  • New National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for over 25 introduced

  • New State Pension introduced for people reaching pension age from 6 April. Entitlement to new pension will not allow claims for Savings Credit of Pension Credit.

We will continue to provide the latest updates on the planned changes and our Benefits Calculator will reflect the finalised developments from April 2016. 

You can use the Benefits Calculator to check your current entitlements and our Grant Search to find out if you can access help from charitable funds. 

Even if you have checked your benefits in the past, it is worth checking again, especially if you have recently experienced a change in your circumstances.

Coronavirus Information

My child's school is closing due to the coronavirus outbreak. What can I do?

The government has announced that schools will be closing for the majority of students from 20 March 2020.

Children in the following groups will still be able to go to school if their parents choose to send them:

  • The children of key workers
  • Children receiving support from social services
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs​)
  • Young carers

If you need to take time off work to care for your children, you should check your employment rights on the ACAS website.
 

What if I am well but my employer tells me not to work because of the coronavirus outbreak?

This will depend on your contract and is an employment law issue. You may be able to get advice from ACAS on this. You will not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

What if I have been in contact with someone with coronavirus and don’t want to go to work and risk infecting my colleagues and customers?

You will only be able to get special help under the coronavirus rules if you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS advice. You can find the current NHS coronavirus advice on the NHS website

What if I am not getting any customers in my self-employed business because of the coronavirus?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit, but you will not be entitled to any special support because of the coronavirus outbreak. You may have the minimum income floor applied to your claim, or you may be required to look for full time-employment.

I’m on a zero-hours contract, will I get paid if I’m told to self isolate?

If you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS guidance and you usually earn at least £120 per week, you should get Statutory Sick Pay even if you are on a zero hours contract.

What if I am homeless with no income so can’t self-isolate and need funds for accommodation?

The government has not published any guidance for what you should do if you are homeless and develop coronavirus symptoms. It would be best to contact your local authority for advice. You should do so by telephone if at all possible.