Working age benefits to be frozen


The government is to freeze working age benefits for four years from April 2016. With many people struggling to manage their finances, we explain the upcoming changes and how you can access further financial help and support that you could be entitled to.

Freeze on working age benefits

The freeze on working age benefits announced in the Summer Budget 2015 means that from April 2016 there will be no increase in benefit rates for four years ‘for people of working age'. This  will affect Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and  Child Benefit.

Benefits rates are generally increased by a small amount at the start of every tax year to take into account the rise in living costs that people will have to meet.

The rates freeze will not apply to disability benefits which include Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (Support Group) and the disability elements in tax credits.

Carers and pensioner benefits and statutory maternity and sickness payments are also not affected by the rates freeze.

The government has made a strong commitment to continue to protect benefits which are specifically for pensioners, including Pension Credit. The ‘triple lock' on the State Pension will be maintained; and other benefits for pensioners including the Winter Fuel Allowance and free TV licences for over 75s are also protected.

Why is the freeze on benefits being introduced for people of working age?

The government decided to freeze working age benefits for four years to help ensure that the growth in earnings overtakes the growth in benefits - so that it is always financially better for people to be in work rather than claiming benefits.  

The government also has a central aim to reduce the overall spending on welfare and has forecasted to save £4 billion a year by 2019-20 by freezing working age benefits.

What help is available if you are affected by the benefits rate freeze?

You can use the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check your latest welfare benefits entitlements.
Even if you have checked your entitlements in the past, it is worth checking again, especially if there has been a change in your circumstances.

You can also check if you are eligible for a charitable grant or other support by using the Turn2us Grants Search.

Our website has further details on all the benefits mentioned in this article in the Your Situation section as well a Benefit Changes Timetable for 2016 with full details on all upcoming changes.

If you are worried about any of the benefit changes and would like further advice on your particular situation, you can use our Find an Adviser tool to locate face-to-face advice in your local area.