Hartlepool Borough Council

Hartlepool Borough Council

Local Council Tax Support Scheme


This change will not affect people of pensionable age or above.

From 1st April 2013 Council Tax Benefit will be abolished and replaced by Local Council Tax Support (LCTS). However, central government intend to reduce funding to pay for LCTS which will mean cuts in help for working age households.

For more information on Local Council Tax Support Scheme you can find it in the main menu by following the link here.

Under Occupation Charge


This change will not affect people of pensionable age or above.

Central government have decided that from 1st April 2013 anyone in receipt of housing benefit in the social rented sector who have more bedrooms than they need will be classed as under occupying their home.

From April 2013 housing benefit in the social rented sector will be based on the number of bedrooms the government considers a household needs. Households that are considered to be under occupying by 1 bedroom will see their level of rent used to assess housing benefit entitlement cut by 14%. Under occupying by 2 or more bedrooms will see the level of rent used to assess housing benefit entitlement cut by 25%.

You need one bedroom for each of the following:

• A couple
• A person (not a child) aged 16 years plus
• 2 children of the same sex (under 16)
• 2 children not of the same sex (under 10)
• Any other child (other than a foster child or a child whose main home is somewhere else)
• A carer (or group of carers) providing overnight care

This means that if you have more bedrooms than you need the level of rent used to assess housing benefit will be affected.

There are two rates of reduction:

• If you have one extra bedroom the level of rent used to assess your housing benefit will reduce by 14%
• If you have two or more extra bedrooms the level of rent used to assess your housing benefit will reduce by 25%

If you have a non resident overnight carer or carers you may not be affected depending on your circumstances. You should let the Benefits Department know this information. Contact us at benefits@hartlepool.gov.uk.

People who are approved foster carers will be allowed an additional room, whether or not a child has been placed with them or they are between placements so long as they have fostered a child, or become an approved foster carer in the last 12 months. This applies to tenants in both the social and private rented sectors. Contact us at benefits@hartlepool.gov.uk.

Adult children who are in the armed forces but who continue to live with parents will be treated as continuing to live at home, even when deployed on operations. This means that the size criteria rules will not be applied to the room normally occupied by the member of the armed forces if they intend to return home. In addition people in receipt of housing benefit will not be subject to a non-dependant deduction, i.e. the amount that those who are working are expected to contribute to the household expenses, until an adult child returns home. This applies to tenants in both the social and private rented sectors. For further information contact us at benefits@hartlepool.gov.uk.

New case law also directs local authorites to allow an extra room where a disabled child is unable to share a bedroom. Verification should usually be provided to support the claim. This verification could be medical evidence and disability living allowance awarded for the child. Each case will be considered individually. For further information contact us at benefits@hartlepool.gov.uk.

If you think you may be affected by the Under Occupation rules, contact your landlord to discuss your options.



Benefits Cap


This change will not affect people of pensionable age or above.

During 2013 the government plans to restrict total non-work benefits received to £500 per week for a couple or single parent and £350 for a single person. This restriction will be implemented by reducing the amount of weekly housing benefit awarded to claimants. The cap will apply to the combined total of the main 'out of work’ benefits and includes:

• Job Seekers Allowance
• Income Support
• Employment and Support Allowance(unless you get the support component)
• Housing Benefit
• Child Benefit
• Child Tax Credit
• Carer’s Allowance

The cap will not include one-off benefits such as free school meals. In Work Credit and Return To Work Credit will not be included.

From April 2013 people living in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey will be affected by the benefits cap. All other areas will introduce the cap by the end of September 2013.

To find out if you will be affected by the benefits cap please click the following link here.

There are some exceptions to the household benefit cap that will not be affected by the benefits cap – follow the link for more information on who will not be affected by the benefit cap here.


Universal Credit



From October 2013 the government intends to simplify the current system by replacing 6 benefits with a single payment known as Universal Credit. This benefit is intended to be paid monthly to claimants who are in work and claimants who are out of work.

Six benefits to be replaced by Universal Credit are listed below:

• Income Related Job Seekers Allowance
• Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
• Income Support
• Housing Benefit
• Working Tax Credit
• Child Tax Credit

For more information on Universal Credit follow the link here.


Personal Independence Payment


From 1st April 2013 Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will be replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for people of working age (16-64) even if an inedfinite or lifetime award has been made. PIP is to help towards some of the extra costs arising from ill health or disability. It is based on how the persons condition affects them, not the condition they have. Existing DLA claimants will be reassessed for eligibility to PIP. Most people will be expected to attend face-face consultations as part of the claim or review process.

Children under 16 will continue to receive Disability Living Allowance. The Department for Work and Pensions will contact the parent or carer of the claimant before their 16th birthday to let them know that they should consider claiming PIP.
For more information on Personal Independence Payment follow the link here.


State Pension Age


Changes to State Pension Age will affect the type of benefits that can be applied for. State Pension Age can be anywhere between the ages of 61 and 68 and is not the same as retirement age. It is dependent on the date of birth and if male or female. Anyone can carry on working past State Pension Age. For more information on State Pension Age follow the link here.



Useful Sites


The following departments and organisations can give advice and guidance on Welfare Reform and Welfare Benefits. To find out more follow the links provided.


West View Advice and Resource Centre
www.wvarc30.org.uk.


Citizens Advice Bureau
www.hartlepool-cab.co.uk.


Benefits Service
www.hartlepool.gov.uk.


Families Information Support Hub (FISH)
www.hartlepool.gov.uk/families-information-support-hub.


Compass (Social Housing)
www.compasscbl.org.uk.

Housing Advice
housing.advice@hartlepool.gov.uk.

Shelter
www.shelter.org.uk.

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