Benefit Changes Timetable - Benefit Changes Timetable 2018

Planned changes to the benefits system. This guide is updated every two months.

Last reviewed 19 July 2023

Benefit Changes Timetable 2018

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.


January 2018

Universal Credit Advance

From January 2018, the amount a claimant could receive from an advance payment of Universal Credit will increase from up to 50% of their estimated entitlement to up to 100%. Claimants will be able to receive an advance payment within five days of applying. The period in which the advance is recovered will be increased from six months to 12 months

February 2018

Universal Credit

From February 2018, the government will remove the seven-day waiting period for Universal Credit, so that the claim starts from the date of application. This means that if Universal Credit is paid on time, claimants will wait five weeks for their first payment instead of six weeks.

April 2018

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) payments

From 6 April 2018, Support for Mortgage Interest will no longer exist as a benefit for new or existing claimants. Claimants will instead be invited to apply for a loan if they want to continue to be supported.  Loans will be repaid upon the sale of a claimant’s house; or on a claimant’s return to work if the borrower can afford it.

Universal Credit

From April 2018 those already on Housing Benefit will continue to receive their award for the first two weeks of their Universal Credit claim. This will be an unrecoverable payment.

The government will also make it easier for claimants to have the housing element of their award paid directly to their landlord

Claimants who live in privately rented properties who have their Housing Benefit paid directly to landlords have this option at the beginning of a claim for Universal Credit.  The government will also make it easier for claimants to have their housing element paid direct to their landlords.

Universal Credit full digital service will be rolled out to all areas of the country by the end of December 2018 for new Universal Credit claimants. Families with three or more children, however, won't be able to start Universal Credit claims until 1st February 2019 onwards. They will be moving claimants on the existing benefit system over to Universal Credit from July 2019.  To follow the progress of the Universal Credit roll-out see our Universal Credit Timetable.

Autumn 2018

Carers Allowance Supplement introduced in Scotland

From Thursday 13 September a new extra payment called Carer's Allowance Supplement will be paid to carers in Scotland who are receiving Carers Allowance. You don't need to claim the Carers Allowance Supplement. You will get this automatically if you get Carer's Allowance and live in Scotland

Employer Childcare Vouchers will no longer be available to new claimants

New claims for Employer Supported Childcare (Childcare Vouchers) will not be accepted from October 2018.  Existing claims will continue until the child is 15 years old (or 16 years old if disabled) or the claimant starts claiming under another scheme (Childcare element of Working Tax Credit, Childcare element of Universal Credit or Tax Free Childcare), whichever is earliest.

Maximum time limit for claiming Sure Start Maternity Grant extended

From 18 October 2018, a person can claim Sure Start Maternity Grant up to six months after the baby’s birth or of adopting a baby. At present the rule is three months. 

December 2018

Best Start Grant in Scotland

The Best Start Grant is set to replace the Sure Start Maternity Grant in Scotland. It aims to provide lower-income families in Scotland with financial support during the key early years of a child's life. The Best Start Grant will be made up of three separate grants which you can get if you are eligible:

  • A Pregnancy and Baby grant paid to people who have a new baby, or  paid if you're adopting or become responsible for a child under the age of one. 
  • A Nursery and Early Learning Grant paid once your child reaches the age of two.
  • A School-age grant paid when your child reaches the age to attend school.

The Pregnancy and Baby grant is due to be introduced in December 2018. The other grants will be introduced in 2019.  We will provide more detailed information on our website shortly.

Universal Credit Housing Support for 18-21 year olds

18-21 year olds will automatically be entitled to housing support in Universal Credit from December 2018  This reverses a cut that was previously introduced for this age group.

Universal Credit Full Service Roll-out

From 12 December 2018, the full digital service will be rolled out to all areas of the UK, for new Universal Credit claims or people having to make a new claim for Universal Credit due to a change of circumstance.

Updated November 2018


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