Benefit Changes in 2017
The following sections briefly outline changes the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have confirmed for 2017.
- Two child limit
- Limited capability for work
- Couples who cannot share a bedroom
- Universal Credit Housing Costs
From 6 April 2017 changes in legislation introduce a two child limit in Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance. This limit means people will no longer receive additional amounts or allowances in their credits or benefits for more than two children. Exceptions are also introduced though these are subject to specific criteria.
Impact on Housing Benefit
For the purposes of Housing Benefit the two child limit applies to people:
- who make a new claim on or after 6 April 2017
- who have a third or subsequent child included in their household on or after 6 April 2017
Exceptions will apply to people whose Child Tax Credit assessment is based on more than two children.
People with more than two children who get Housing Benefit on or before 5 April 2017 will not be affected by these changes until they make a new claim or another child is included in their household.
Some people qualify for an increase in the amount of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC) they get based on their ability to undertake work. People with a 'limited capability for work' or a 'limited capability for work-related activity' qualify for an additional amount by way of an ESA component or a UC element.
From 3 April 2017 the limited capability for work component and element are abolished and people whose ESA or UC begins on or after that date will not receive the additional amount. People who already get the component or element continue to do so until their entitlement to ESA or UC ends or if their ability to undertake work changes.
These changes do not affect people who have a limited capability for work-related activity and they can still get a component or element that increases the amount of ESA or UC they get.
Further information about these changes is available on GOV.UK.
From 1 April 2017 couples who cannot share a bedroom on the grounds of disability may qualify for an additional room in their size criteria where they satisfy specific criteria. These criteria include receiving certain disability related benefits and in many cases the need to have a bedroom in the home that no one else uses.
Use our Extra Room form to apply for an additional room.
The housing cost element of Universal Credit (UC) is available to people who pay rent and increases the amount of UC they get.
From 1 April 2017 the housing cost element will not be awarded to single people aged 18 to 21 years old unless they satisfy certain criteria. This change applies in areas where UC is available to all people of working age. These areas are known as 'full service' or 'digital service' areas.
Further information is on our Universal Credit page.
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