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Budget March 2016 - Summary of Main Points

Summary of the key welfare benefit-related measures announced in the Budget on Wednesday 16 March 2016

Please note: The measures announced could be subject to further change.

Disability

Disability Benefits - Ensuring disability benefits are better targeted                                                            

The government announced in the budget that it will ensure that support for disabled people is focused on those with the greatest need, this will be achieved by;

  • Changing Personal Independence Payment Assessment

The government has proposed to change the way that entitlement to Personal Independence Payment is worked out by reducing  the number of assessment points awarded for needing to use an aid or appliance to carry out two of the ‘daily living’ activities which are assessed. This change would take effect for new cases and re-assessments from January 2017.

UPDATE: Government confirmed on 21 March 2016  that it will not proceed with change to Personal Independence Payment assessment

 

  • Altering arrangements for terminally ill claimants who are moved from  DLA to PIP

Claimants who are moved from Disability Living Allowance(DLA) to Personal Independence Payment(PIP) who are granted a greater award under PIP will get that higher award from the date of the decision, rather than remaining on their DLA award for the standard four week waiting period

  • Review to ensure disability benefits and service provision is fair

The government is considering the case for long-term reform of disability benefits and services that is fair for the taxpayer and for those with disabilities or health conditions

Improving support for ESA Work Related Activity Group claimants

From April 2017 the government will fund an additional £15 million in each year from 2017-18 to help Employment and Support Allowance(ESA)  claimants placed in the Work Related Activity Group and Universal Credit Limited Capability for Work claimants pay for the additional costs of preparing for work; improve the process for reassessing claimants placed in the Work Related Activity Group with deteriorating conditions; and remove the 52 week work time limit on Permitted Work rules for claimants in the Work Related Activity Group.

Increasing ESA and PIP presenting officers at tribunals  

From 2017 the government will increase the number of presenting officers in attendance at Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments tribunal hearings to support the tribunal in making the right decision.

In-Work Benefits

Support for the Self-employed on Working Tax Credit and Universal Credit

The government will provide self-employed Working Tax Credit claimants with access to business support and will extend the mentoring support offered on the New Enterprise Allowance scheme to self-employed Universal Credit claimants. The government will also trial face-to-face support from Jobcentre Advisors for self-employed Working Tax Credit claimants, with a view to national roll out if successful.  

Benefit Cap

Benefit cap (Autumn 2016)

From Autumn 2016, the government will introduce exemptions for people getting  Guardians Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and the carers element of Universal Credit from the household benefit cap which caps the amount of benefits out-of-work working-age families can receive. From autumn 2016 the cap is planned to be reduced to £20,000, and at £23,000 in Greater London.  See  Summer Budget  2015 guide  

Housing

Capping Housing Benefit in the social rented sector

The date from which new or renewed tenancies in the social sector will be subject to the cap on Housing Benefit at the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate will be deferred for supported accommodation – from April 2016 to April 2017 – to enable the government to complete a review of supported accommodation. See earlier  announcement in Autumn Statement 2015 guide page

Housing Benefit and Pension Credit: limiting temporary absence

The government will delay the ending of the payments of  Housing Benefit and Pension Credit to claimants who travel outside of Great Britain for longer than four weeks consecutively. This will now come into force in May 2016. See earlier  announcement in Autumn Statement 2015 guide page

Childcare

Shared Parental Leave

The government will consult in May 2016 on how to extend Shared Parental Leave and Pay to working grandparents, options for streamlining the system and the potential to make better use of digital technology.

Other Services

HMRC customer service

The government is investing £71 million to make it quicker and easier for individuals and small businesses to deal with HMRC. Customers will be able to contact HMRC quicker and at a time convenient to them, with improved call waiting times, a new secure email service, and phone lines and web chat open 7 days a week from April 2017. HMRC will also introduce new measures to provide help and support for businesses, including a dedicated phone service and online forum for new businesses and self-employed individuals.

For further information on the budget, see the Gov.UK full March Budget 2016 document.