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Benefits

Access to Work scheme changes

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced changes to the Access to Work scheme, which gives practical support to people who have disabilities or a health condition (mental or physical) to help them start working, stay in work or move into self employment/start a business.

These include changes to the way the scheme is delivered, offering personal budgets, a cap on the level of awards and exploring ways to improve services to people who:

  • Have mental health conditions
  • Are deaf and use British Sign Language
  • Use Access to Work to pay for taxis to get to work
  • Want to start their own businesses.

For more information, read the Gov.UK website press release: New measures to support more disabled people into work (12 March 2015)

Benefit rates April 2015-March 2016

The Government has published the list of new benefits rates on the Gov.UK website. These start on Monday 6 April 2015.

Read the list of new benefit rates 2015-2016

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.

Carer's Allowance

From April 2015, the earnings threshold for Carer's Allowance will be raised to £110 a week. It is currently £102 a week.

Universal Credit

From 2 March Universal Credit is available to families in 96 jobcentre areas.

See GOV.UK for list of jobcentres currently taking claims for Universal Credit

Read the Turn2us Universal Credit information

General

Department of Health consultation: Strengthening rights and choices

The government has opened a public consultation on new proposals to give more rights to people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions. The link below has more information on how you can participate.

This consultation is now closed.

Date of publication: March 2015