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Benefit Changes Timetable - Benefit Changes Timetable 2014

Benefit Changes Timetable 2014

January 2014

Habitual Residence Test

Reforms around 'migrant access to benefits' have been introduced from 1 January 2014:

New Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claims made by European Economic Area (EEA) jobseekers and retained workers will be time-limited to 6 months unless they can demonstrate they are actively seeking work and have a genuine prospect of work;

EEA jobseekers (or a British national returning from more than a short period abroad) will be unable to access JSA until they have been resident in the UK for 3 months.

For full details about these changes see our Habitual Residence Test information guide.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)/Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

From 13 January some people receiving DLA will have to claim PIP instead. This will apply to you if you are living in Southern Scotland or parts of the borders, your postcode begins DG, EH, TD or ML and:

  • you notify DWP of a change in your care or mobility needs; or

  • your existing award of DLA is to expire on or after 2nd June; or

  • you turn 16 years old (unless you have been awarded DLA under the Special Rules for terminally ill people)

  • You could also choose to claim PIP instead of DLA.

See our Personal Independence Payment (PIP) information guide

February 2014

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)/Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

From 3 February some people receiving DLA have to claim PIP instead. This applies to you if you are living in the north of England and your postcode begins CA, DL, HG, LA or YO and:

  • you notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of a change in your care or mobility needs; or

  • your existing award of DLA is to expire on or after 23 June; or

  • you turn 16 years old (unless you have been awarded DLA under the Special Rules for terminally ill people)

You could also choose to claim PIP instead of DLA.

See our Personal Independence Payment (PIP) information guide

March 2014

Incapacity benefits

The Government is aiming to complete 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 by Spring 2014.

See the Turn2us Incapacity Benefit changes information guide

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 needed to have claimed by the end of March.

See Winter Fuel Payments guide for further details.

April 2014

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.

Jobseeker's Allowance

As announced in the Chancellor's Spending Review in June 2013, the planned changes to Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) include:

  • Extending the waiting period for first claims from three days to seven

  • Claimants must take positive steps to find work from day one. As part of this, online claimants must prepare a CV and there will be longer initial interviews for new claimants

  • Claimants with poor spoken English required to attend classes, or face sanctions (to be introduced in Scotland and Wales at a later date)

  • Weekly work search reviews with Job Centre advisers for those deemed not to be doing enough to find a job. To be phased in between 28 April and October 2014

  • Quarterly work search interviews to review the previous quarter’s activities, their skills and their Jobseeker’s Agreement/Claimant Commitment as well as to widen the scope of their work search.

Income Support for lone parents

If you are entitled to Income Support solely on the basis of being a lone parent two measures are being introduced from 28 April:

  • Work-focused interviews once your youngest child reaches the age of one. How often these take place will be determined by advisers on a case by case basis.

  • Mandatory Work-Related Activity (WRA) once your youngest child is aged three or four.

The activities will be flexible and will be tailored to you. They must also be reasonable and take your circumstances into account with any travel and childcare costs being covered for you. You can't be made to apply for or take up work as part of this.

Universal Credit (UC)

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 previously only taking UC claims for certain single people.

The Welfare Reform Bill has not yet been passed into law in Northern Ireland but Universal Credit roll-out is expected to begin this summer.

Changes have been agreed about the way Universal Credit is paid in Northern Ireland:

  • Housing cost element of Universal Credit paid direct to landlords

  • Payment of Universal Credit may be split between two people in the household

  • Payment of Universal Credit may be payable twice each month.

See the Turn2us Universal Credit section.

July 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.  See the GOV.UK website/child benefit (link opens in a new window) and GOV.UK website/child tax credits (link opens in a new window)for full list of who else the change does not apply to

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 short period.

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.

Maternity Allowance

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 self-employed

  • not be employed or self-employed yourself

  • take part in the business of your self-employed spouse or civil partner

  • not be paid for the work you do for the business

Your spouse or civil partner must be registered as self-employed with HMRC and should pay Class 2 National Insurance.

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