April Benefit Changes
- This article is 69 months old
Millions of households entitled to welfare benefits and tax credit will see big changes in their claims in April 2018.
As the financial year comes to an end, here are some of the key things to look out for in April.
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)
Support for Mortgage Interest will no longer exist as a benefit from Friday 6 April 2018 and is being replaced with an interest bearing loan. This means that owner-occupiers who require help with their Housing Costs from this date can take out a loan and have a charging order placed on the property.
This is voluntary, however there is no other help available. This will apply to both existing and new claimants. If you are already in receipt of Support for Mortgage Interest, you should have already been contacted about this change.
The conditions to receive this remain the same. It is paid with Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, and Universal Credit and is calculated in the same way. Repayment of this loan will become due in the event of the sale of the house or transfer of ownership and there is enough equity in the property
You could choose to make voluntary repayments when your situation improves, but interest continues to be charged on the loan until it is paid off in full.
If you are on Housing Benefit when you make a new claim for Universal Credit, you could receive two-weeks extra of Housing Benefit. You do not have to wait for a decision on your claim for Universal Credit to be entitled to this.
You will not have to pay this amount back and this will be paid in addition to your Universal Credit award, which may also include an amount for your Housing Costs.
Universal Credit will be fully rolled out to all areas of the country by December 2018. For further information please see our information on when you can claim Universal Credit.
Employer Childcare Vouchers will no longer be available to new claimants. However, you may be able to receive help with your childcare costs through Tax Free Childcare or through Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.
You can’t receive Tax-free Childcare at the same time as Tax Credits or Universal Credit and these benefits will stop if you successfully claim Tax-free Childcare. You can use the Gov.UK website's childcare calculator to find out what scheme is best for you.
Existing claims for Employer Childcare Vouchers will continue until the child is 15, or 16 if disabled – or the claimant starts another scheme.
Part-time undergraduate students will be entitled to maintenance loans for the academic year 2018-19 to support the cost of living while studying for the first time. The level of support, which will be means tested, has not yet been confirmed.
Pension deductions will treble for auto-enrolled pensions in April. This will mean 2.4% of pay will be diverted into people’s pensions. This will increase to 4% in 2019.
Change of benefit rates
Benefit rates for disability benefits and premiums, Carer’s Allowance, and all carer’s elements and premiums will increase in April 2018. All other benefit rates have been frozen. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have outlined the proposed changes to benefit rates in full.