Changes to benefit rules

From May 2019 

The Government is changing the rules on when a couple are treated under the pensionable age rules for benefits.

From 15 May 2019, any new claims for Housing Benefit, Pension Credit and Universal Credit will be 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 reaches State Pension age, they are treated under the pensionable age rules and not the working age rules).

Mixed age couples, with one partner who is of pensionable age and the other who is under the State Pension age, who are already in receipt of Pension Credit or pensionable age Housing Benefit on 15 May 2019 will be unaffected while they remain entitled to either benefit. For more information view the mixed age couples page of the GOV.UK website.


From November 2018 onwards 

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.

More information, including exceptions, can be found on our Universal Credit page.


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 where 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 website for more information about the 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 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.

More information on the benefit cap, including the benefits that are included, when you’re not affected and the contact details for the Department for Work and Pensions can be found on the benefit cap page of the GOV.UK website.

Outside of the Greater London borough (which includes Telford & 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 Job centre. If you are looking for work, the Council also offers a range of support. Details of this can be found on the Telford Job Box website.


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 and 6 months old). For these customers, Universal Credit replaced Housing Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance.


July 2013

The first stage of a benefits cap that limits the amount of benefit for working age households was started in many parts of the country in July 2013. It only affected those getting Housing Benefit at first, with others following later.


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(s) 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%.  More information on how many bedrooms a household is allowed can be found on the Housing Benefit page.

A new local Council Tax Support Scheme replaced Council Tax Benefit. More information on the scheme can be found on the What is Council Tax Support? page.

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

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