Changes to benefit rules

From April 2020

Following a consultation in Autumn 2019, there were changes to our working age Council Tax Reduction scheme (formerly referred to as Council Tax Support) from 1 April 2020. The scheme is now based on an income grid rather than a means test, so small fluctuations in income won’t necessarily result in a change in entitlement. There are four levels of discount: 90%, 75%, 50% and 25%. View information about the Council Tax Reduction scheme income grid to find out what income you may be entitled to.


From May 2019

The Government changed the rules on when a couple are treated under the pension age rules for benefits.

From 15 May 2019, any new claims for Housing Benefit, Pension Credit and Universal Credit are treated under working age rules until the youngest member of the couple reaches State Pension age (prior to this date, once one member of the couple reached State Pension age, they were treated under the pension age rules and not the working age rules).

Mixed age couples, with one partner who is of pension age and the other who is under the State Pension age, who are already in receipt of Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit on 15 May 2019 will be unaffected while they remain entitled to either benefit.

Visit the GOV.UK website for more information about benefits for mixed aged couples


From November 2018

The introduction of Universal Credit for most new working age customers, or those who have had a certain change of circumstances.

Universal Credit replaces the following six benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (income-based),
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit.

View information about the introduction of Universal Credit


From April 2017

From April 2017, the calculation of Child Tax Credit is limited to including a maximum of two children when a new child is born or joins the household. From this date, Housing Benefit also restricts the allowance (applicable amount) to a maximum of two children for new claims, or when a new child is born or joins the household.

There are some exceptions to this restriction, and the Housing Benefit calculation will follow the decision made by HMRC within the Child Tax Credit decision, i.e. if three children are allowed within the Child Tax Credit decision, three child allowances will be included within the Housing Benefit decision. Visit the GOV.UK Child Tax Credit website for information about the two child limit exceptions.

This change only affects the allowance included within the calculation and not the number of bedrooms within any size criteria calculation.

This change also restricts the number of children that can be included within the Council Tax Reduction (formerly known as Council Tax Support) calculation in the same way.


From November 2016

The next stage of the benefit cap was introduced that further limited the amount of Housing Benefit for some working age households.

Visit the GOV.UK website for information about the benefit cap and the benefits that are included

Outside of the Greater London borough (which includes Telford and Wrekin) the cap amount is:

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you're in a couple, whether or not you have children
  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you're single and your children live with you
  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you're single and you don't have children, or your children don't live with you.

If you receive Working Tax Credit, you will not be affected by the benefit cap. For help finding work, please contact your local Jobcentre. If you are looking for work, the Council also offers a range of support.

Visit the Telford Job Box website for advice and support on finding employment


From July 2016

The time that a person can be absent outside of Great Britain, and it not affect their Housing Benefit and some state benefits, was reduced from 13 weeks to 4 weeks. Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales. In limited circumstances, this may be increased to 8 weeks. It is important that if someone is going to be absent outside of Great Britain for more than 4 weeks that they notify the council’s Benefit Service of the period of absence and the reason for it.

Absences within Great Britain of 13 weeks or more should be notified to the council’s Benefit Service. Details of the period of absence and the reason for it should be reported, as this may affect entitlement.

View more information on how to report a change in circumstance, including temporary absence.


June 2015 - December 2017

Universal Credit was rolled-out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to customers who met the rollout eligibility conditions (single, fit for work, have no children, and are between 18 years and 60 years 6 months old). For these customers, Universal Credit replaced Housing Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance.


From July 2013

The first stage of a benefits cap, which limits the amount of benefit for working age households, was started in many parts of the country. It only affected those getting Housing Benefit at first, with others following later.


From April 2013

The Government introduced the Social Sector Size Criteria, sometimes referred to as the "Spare Room Subsidy" or "Bedroom Tax". Housing Benefit was cut for working age council and housing association tenants who have, according to the Government's rules, a bedroom or bedrooms more than they need. For one extra bedroom, the rent used in the Housing Benefit calculation is reduced by 14%; for two or more extra bedrooms, the rent is reduced by 25%. View more information about bedroom allowance for Housing Benefit.

A new local Council Tax Support scheme (now known as Council Tax Reduction) replaced Council Tax Benefit. The rules for pension age customers are decided by central government but working age customer entitlement is decided by a local scheme. View more information about the Council Tax Reduction Scheme that replaced Council Tax Benefit.

The new Personal Independence Payment started to replace Disability Living Allowance for new claimants aged 16 to 64.

Last updated: 28/01/2021 15:28

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