Major Benefit Changes

What you need to know:

The Government has introduced new legislation that will change the amount of benefits and the way it is paid to claimants. This is all covered under whats known as the 'Welfare Reform Act 2012'. It mainly affects people of working age, however, some changes may affect those of pension age if they have a partner who is of working age. All of these changes are going to be put into practice by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

For the purpose of assessing benefits, the DWP has set the following criteria:

Pension Age: this is the qualifying age for Pension Credit, which will be 61 years and 4 months in April 2013, 61 years and 10 months in October 2013 and will rise to 65 by 2018. Calculate when you'll reach State Pension Age or Pension Credit qualifying age and see the amount you could receive for your basic state pension in todays money - visit

Working Age: from 18 years up until qualifying for Pension Credit, as above.

Below is a timeline of when each change will happen - click on the links for more information on how the changes may affect someone who is receiving or will receive benefits:

April 2013 - Benefit Cap

April 2013 - Social Housing Size Criteria

June 2013 - Disability Living Allowance (DLA) changing from June 2013

October 2013 - Universal Credit

You can also download our quick guide to the Benefit Changes

Other changes

Council Tax Benefit replaced by Local Support Scheme:

From April 2013, Council Tax Benefit will be abolished. London Borough of Hounslow has been consulting on the type of scheme they will put into place. The change being considered is that working age claimants of Council Tax Benefit receive around 10 - 20% less than they currently do. Pension Age claimants will not be receiving any reduction their Council Tax Benefit.

You can check what you may be paying towards your council tax from April 2013, by using the Council Tax Support Scheme calculator.

For further information please visit the London Borough of Hounslow Website

If there are any issues that we have not covered in this section, please contact us as soon as possible on 0800 0856575

More helpful information

Download useful guides on every day money matters

Department of Work and Pensions Easy Read information on Universal Credit

Welfare Reform Act - document in full

Money Saving - Information on basic bank accounts

Grants (small) for families in need

Grants to help clear utility bills if you are sick, disabled or living in poverty

For advice on housing and homelessness

Legal advice if you have a low income or receive benefits

Pension credits

Bank Accounts - Easy read leaflet