You are now leaving the Turn2us site. Turn2us is not responsible for content on third party sites.



Benefit Changes Timetable - Benefit Changes Timetable 2015

Benefit Changes Timetable 2015

Please note that 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 gradually 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.

2015

January/February 2015

Personal Independence Payment

Since 28 October 2013 assessment for PIP has been carried out for some DLA claimants in certain areas:

  • If you have a fixed-term award of DLA which is due to expire

  • If you notify PDCS that there has been a change in your care or mobility needs

  • If you turn 16

  • If you choose to claim PIP instead of DLA

The reassessment areas were increased on 26 January 2015 and will be increased again from 30 March. See Gov.UK's Personal Independence Payment (PIP) postcode map for up-to-date details of the reassessment areas so far.
 

January 2015

Universal Credit

From 26 January Universal Credit became available to job seekers with children in 26 more areas across the country (6 jobcentre areas began taking claims from families in November 2014 (link is to Benefit Changes Timetable 2014)). These areas are Ashton-Under-Lyne, Wigan, Oldham, Hyde, Stalybridge, Stretford, Altrincham, Southport, Crosby, Bootle, Preston, Leyland, Prestwich, Bury, Eccles, Worsley, Huyton, Kirkby, St Helens, Newton-le-Willows, Hammersmith, Bath, Rugby, Shotton, Harrogate and Inverness.

Early 2015

Universal Credit

UC will be rolled out to 1 in 3 jobcentres by Spring 2015 rather than all jobcentres as was previously announced. This will still only be for simple new claims i.e. from single jobseekers with no children.

The areas that will see the introduction of Universal Credit between February and July 2015 have been released. Click on the link below for details of the areas and the dates they 'go live'.

See the Gov.UK information on the national expansion of Universal Credit

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.

April 2015

Shared Parental Leave and Pay

From 5th April 2015 Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay came into effect as part of the government’s policy package aimed at encouraging shared parenting from the earliest stages of pregnancy and adoption.

For further details see the Turn2us Shared Parental Leave and Pay information guide.

Carer's Allowance

The government has announced that from April 2015, the earnings threshold for Carers' Allowance will be raised to £110 a week.

Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

From 27 April, all claimants in receipt of income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) will require an Annual Verification check to confirm their circumstances.

The check reminds claimants of their responsibilities to provide the Department for Work and Pensions with up to date information about their circumstances so that they continue to receive the correct amount of benefit.

An Annual Verification letter will be sent automatically 12 months from the date they first received income-based JSA and repeated every year as long as they are in receipt of benefit. People who already have an annual check for housing costs, capital and occupational pension will find the JSA check included as part of this.

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 vulnerable.

Update: Following a consultation to review the decision to abolish the Local Welfare Assistance fund, as a result of strong objections from charities and local authorities against the withdrawal of funding, the government from April 2015 has now committed to providing councils with £74 million in 2015-16, rather than nothing at all, to assist with local emergency welfare needs and to improve social care provision.
 
The new funding amount is still a cut of over fifty percent but at least some help can now continue to be made available to the poorest households facing a crisis.

For further details see Gov.UK Local welfare provision in 2015-16 : Consultation

May 2015

Genuine Prospect of Work assessment extended to older EEA National JSA claims

From 9 February 2015, the DWP began to notify EEA nationals who have an existing claim to income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) made before 1 January 2014 that they will now also be subject to a genuine prospect of work assessment(GPoW) starting in three months time.

The first GPoW assessment interviews will start to take place in May 2015. If, during the assessment interview, the JSA claimant is unable to provide compelling evidence that they have a genuine prospect of work, their current right to reside and consequently their entitlement to income-based JSA will cease. The JSA claimant will have the opportunity to provide evidence of an alternative right to reside in the UK for the DWP Decision Maker to consider.

The aim of extending the GPoW assessment is to ensure that all EEA nationals claiming income-based JSA are treated in the same way, regardless of when they made their claim to benefit

Universal Credit now available in more Scottish towns

From 25 May, Universal Credit arrives in Banff, Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Falkirk, Grangemouth, Stirling and Alloa.

Click on the link below for further details of when other areas are due to 'go live'.

See the Gov.UK information on the national expansion of Universal Credit

June 2015

Universal Credit

From 15 June 2015 Universal Credit is available at Jobcentres in: Blaydon, Gateshead, Felling, Bodmin, Truro and Penzance.

From 22 June 2015  Jobcentres will start offering Universal Credit in:
Paisley, Johnstone, Renfrew, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Arnold, Brownhills, Walsall Bayard House, Walsall Bridle Court, Waltham Cross, Newport

From 29 June 2015 17 more Jobcentres start offering Universal Credit in:
Batley, Spen Valley, Dewsbury, Huddersfield, Scunthorpe, Barton-upon-Humber, Grimsby, Immingham, Bridgend, Maesteg, Pyle, Porthcawl, Poole, Blandford, Bournemouth,Winton, Gloucester

Click on the link below for further details of when other areas are due to 'go live'.

See the Gov.UK information on the national expansion of Universal Credit

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 since 2010).

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
 

July 2015

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.

Mortgage support for benefit claimants to be reduced

Homeowners receiving Income Support, income- based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension credit can qualify for help towards their mortgage interest payments know as Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)

The amount of help that such homeowners can receive will be reduced from the 6 July 2015

The government uses a standard interest rate to work out how much help can be provided through SMI . The current interest rate applied is 3.63% but from 6 July 2015, the rate will be reduced to 3.12%.

For further details see the Turn2us Support for Mortgage Interest guide
 

The Summer Budget – 8 July 2015

The government announced a number of welfare measures as part of the Summer Budget. These measures (which could be subject to change) will be phased in and will not affect any claimants until April 2016 at the earliest, with many changes affecting only new claimants.  The main changes include:

  • From April 2016 a four-year freeze to working age benefits whilst still protecting pensioners, and benefits related to the extra costs of disability
  • Lowering the Benefit Cap to £23,000 in London and £20,000 elsewhere
  • A package of reforms to Tax Credits and Universal Credit, including reducing some entitlements, key changes are ;
  • Support for children through Tax Credits and Universal Credit will be limited to two children from April 2017. Equivalent changes will be made to the Housing Benefit rules.
  • Family element withdrawn in Tax Credit and Universal Credit  - Those starting a family after April 2017 will no longer be eligible for the Family Element in tax credits and the equivalent provisions in Universal Credit. In Housing Benefit, the family premium will be withdrawn for new claims from April 2016.

Reducing income threshold from April 2016 – so the level of earnings at which a household’s Tax Credits  starts to be withdrawn for every extra pound earned will be reduced from £6,420 to £3,850. The equivalents in Universal Credit (work allowances) will be reduced to £4,764 for those without housing costs, £2,304 for those with housing costs, and removed altogether for non-disabled claimants without children.

Increasing Tax Credit taper  from April 2016 - the rate at which a person's or households tax credit award is reduced  - the taper rate will be increased from 41% to 48% 

Update: Changes to the tax credit income threshold and taper rate will no longer go ahead

  • Parents with a youngest child aged 3, including lone parents are expected to look for work if they want to claim Universal Credit
  • From 1 April 2017, new claimants of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who are placed in the Work-Related Activity Group will receive the same rate of payment as those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and the equivalent in Universal Credit. Existing ESA claimants will be unaffected.
  • Reform to housing and housing support - including removing the entitlement to housing support in Universal Credit for those aged 21 or under, lowering rents in the social rented sector, and social tenants on higher incomes (over £40,000 in London and over £30,000 outside London) being required to pay higher (market rate or near market rate) rents. Support for Mortgage Interest payments will be changed into a loan and there will be a four-year freeze to Local Housing Allowance rates.
  • National Living Wage will be introduced from April 2016 - starting at £7.20 an hour for people over 25. Rising to £9.00 an hour by 2020
  • Universal Credit youth obligation for 18-21 year olds to either apply for training or attend work placements from six months after the start of their claim, from April 2017
  • Free childcare entitlement will be doubled from 15 hours to 30 hours a week for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds from September 2017

For further information on the budget see our Summer Budget 2015 guide and the Gov.UK full Summer Budget 2015 document.
 

Maternity Allowance - Changes to the collection of Class 2 National Insurance contributions  for the self-employed

Payment of Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) for 6 April 2015 onwards will be collected as part of the Self Assessment process from April 2016 by HMRC.

As a result, Maternity Allowance claims from self-employed women expecting a baby on or after 12 July 2015 may have insufficient NICs to be entitled to standard rate Maternity Allowance on the date of their claim.

However, claimants satisfying the work test will receive a lower rate and have the option of paying sufficient Class 2 NICs, to be entitled to the standard rate.

For further information see the Gov.UK Maternity Benefits Guidance
 

Personal Independence Payment final phase rollout brought forward from October to July 2015

The DWP on 25 June 2015 issued an updated timetable bringing forward the date when claimants with an ‘indefinite’ or ‘lifetime’ award of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will have to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Claimants in the areas stated below  will now start being assessed for PIP from 13 July 2015, instead of from October 2015.

Areas: Blackburn, Bolton, Derby, Leicester, Manchester, Oldham, Preston, Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington; and  Wigan.

By late 2017 all existing DLA claimants (aged 16 to 64 on 8 April 2013) will have been invited to claim PIP.

For further details on DWP bringing forward PIP rollout see full statement from Minister for Disabled People


Universal Credit

From 14 July Universal Credit will be available in14 more Jobcentres in London, Cornwall and Wales;
Ealing, Southall, Acton, Edmonton, Enfield, Palmers Green, Barking, Dagenham, Rhyl, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Newquay, Penryn and Falmouth

Click on the link below for further details of when other areas are due to 'go live'.

See the Gov.UK information on the national expansion of Universal Credit


Autumn 2015

Tax Free Childcare

The new Tax-Free Childcare scheme due to be launched  in autumn 2015 has been delayed and will now be introduced in early  2017. When it is introduced, it will support parents' childcare costs and replace the existing Employer Supported Childcare Scheme.

Universal Credit

The Department of Work and Pensions has announced that the next phased roll-out of Universal Credit to remaining Jobcentre areas and local authorities will take place from;

As with the previous introduction of Universal Credit to areas this latest roll-out will only be for new claims from single people, who would otherwise have been eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Click on the link below for details of the areas and the dates they 'go live'.

National expansion of Universal Credit: Tranche 3 and 4 (link opens in a new window)


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 Autumn 2015.

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 UK.

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.

MPs in the House of Commons have backed government plans to cut spending on tax credits from April 2016

The Chancellor’s flagship proposals announced in the Summer Budget to cut tax credits were approved on 15th September 2015 by MPs in the House of Commons, amid warnings help must be offered to the poorest working families.

The Commons approved plans from April 2016 to lower the earnings level above which tax credits are withdrawn from £6,420 to £3,850 and speed up the rate at which the benefit is lost as pay rises.

These cuts to tax credits could see some households losing out on more than £1,000 in annual income.
See Turn2us response to changes.

Universal Credit

From 21 September, Universal Credit became available to new single claimants in 24 jobcentres from Durham to Wales, covering 12 local authority areas:

Abergavenny, Andover, Bishop Auckland, Borehamwood, Caldicot, Chepstow, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Crawley, Crook, Durham, Haywards Heath, Hemel Hempstead, Holyhead, Horsham, Llangefni, Merthyr Tydfil, Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee, Reading, Seaham, Spennymoor, Stanley, Winchester

Click on the link below for further details of when other areas are due to 'go live'.

See the Gov.UK information on the national expansion of Universal Credit


October 2015

Current National Minimum Wage (NMW) Rises

From 1 October 2015, the adult rate of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rises by 20 pence from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour, as recommended by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) in March 2015.

the rate for 18 to 20 year olds increases by 17 pence to £5.30 per hour
the rate for 16 to 17 year olds increases by 8 pence to £3.87 per hour
the apprentice rate increases by 57 pence to £3.30 per hour

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 Credit.

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

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 75.

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.

Disability Living Allowance / Personal Independence Payment

Claimants still receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will start to be contacted to claim Personal Independence Payment instead.

DWP will randomly select DLA claimants in receipt of an indefinite award or a fixed term award, and notify them about what they need to do to claim PIP.

DWP will invite claims as early as possible from recipients who have turned 65 after 8 April 2013, when PIP was first introduced. If you turned 65 before 8 April 2013 you will remain on DLA.

All DLA claimants will have been invited to claim PIP by late 2017.

See the Turn2us Personal Independence Payment (PIP) information


Changes to Jobseeker’s Allowance to benefit Armed Forces Families

Spouses and older children (up to age of 21) who live abroad in order to accompany service personnel working abroad, are to be allowed to claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) as soon as they return to the UK under new plans by the government. These groups will be exempt from the Habitual Residence test rule which requires them to be resident for three months before being eligible to claim income-based JSA.

For further details see GOV.UK guidance on changes to JSA for Armed Forces Families

November 2015

Autumn Statement and Spending Review 2015 – U-turn on Tax Credit Changes for working households.

The government announced a number of measures as part of the Autumn Statement and Spending Review on Wednesday 25 November 2015. The key welfare changes are that the tax credit income threshold of  £6,420 and taper rate of 41% of gross income  will no longer change from April 2016 .  However from April 2016 the income rise disregard will be £2,500 as announced in the Summer Budget 2015.

See our Autumn Statement 2015 guide for a summary of the main proposed welfare changes and other measures and see GOV.UK Autumn Statement and Spending Review 2015 report  for further information.  

Welfare benefit changes in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill was passed on 25 November 2015 making it an act of law. The new bill will result in changes to the benefits system in Ireland. Many of the current benefits will cease to exist and new benefits and payment systems will be introduced.

The Bill is intended to allow the delivery in Northern Ireland of reforms under Welfare Reform Act 2012 and those proposed in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015, as well as the welfare‐ related flexibilities included in the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) )

The Westminster government will introduce the regulations in the early new year, working with colleagues in Northern Ireland. Implementation of the changes will be for the Northern Ireland Executive to take forward.

See GOV.UK website for further information on Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill 

December 2015

Tax Credits - online change of circumstances

On 7 December, HMRC is introducing a new digital service for tax credits customers that will allow for the reporting of changes in circumstances online.

The service will be launched in phases. Phase 1 starting on the 7 December will allow customers to access the online digital service to view details of their next tax credits payment and view the people who are included in their award.

In early 2016, customers will be able to use the online digital service to report changes to their circumstances.

Update:    

Both phases of the above scheme have now been delayed by HMRC. We will advise of the revised 'live' date when details are announced.



 

 
 

Anything wrong with this page?

Tell us the problem

Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Please enter what you were doing
Please enter what you'd like to report
Please enter the security code shown
Close

Thank you

If you would like to tell us more please visit our contact page

Close

Search for a grant

Look for funds that might be able to give you a grant and/or other types of help.

Use the Grants Search tool