Welfare Benefits Cap - Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

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Transcript Welfare Benefits Cap - Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

Welfare Reform - Update
20 March 2014
• Welfare Reform Bill - biggest shake up in welfare
reform for 60 years
• The Bill’s key aims are:
– Create the right incentives to get people into work
– Protect the most vulnerable
– Deliver fairness to those claiming benefits and to
the taxpayer, with the aim of ensuring no-one
receives more in benefits than if they were in work
Major Changes
• End of Council Tax Benefit / introduction
of Council Tax Support
• Under occupancy (social housing)
• Social Fund
• Personal Independence Payments
• Welfare Benefits Cap
• Universal Credit
Council Tax Support
Council Tax Benefit – abolished from 1 April 2013 and replaced by Local Council Tax
Pensioners cannot be disadvantaged
No major challenges to scheme throughout Tees Valley
All Tees Valley Authorities now adopted a scheme and reviewed content for year 2.
For 2014/15, all Tees Valley LA’s charging 20% Council Tax (unaltered from 2013/14)
apart from Hartlepool who are charging 12% (8.5% in 2013/14)
Payments required from people of working age
Under occupancy within social rented sector
Reductions in benefit introduced for Registered Social Landlords from 1 April 2013 if a
tenant has a “spare” bedroom
Size criteria similar to private sector, although the shared accommodation rate for under
35’s does not apply.
Significant increase in Discretionary Housing Payment applications (300% increase in
awards for Middlesbrough)
HB Reductions are 14% (1 spare room) and 25% (2 spare rooms)
Exemptions include pensioners and those in temporary or supported accommodation
Legal challenges to regulations – (01 January 1996 cases as an example)
Social Fund
Two elements (crisis loans and community care grants) abolished from 1 April 2013.
Councils can decide whether to operate a replacement scheme and given complete
discretion over how to operate and the criteria for awards.
Schemes working well – biggest change is no cash payments throughout Tees Valley
Currently grant funded – central government announced funding to end 31.03.15
All Tees Valley Authorities operating a local provision – all awards are a grant payment
(apart from Redcar & Cleveland who ask for repayment of award over £200)
Reduced number of crisis applications when compared to DWP – providing actual items
as opposed to cash payments therefore only those in genuine need applying
Personal Independence Payments
Disability Living Allowance being replaced by Personal Independence Payments for 16
to 64 year olds
New scheme has to be 20% cheaper than old benefit being replaced
New Claims from April 2013
Existing claimants reviewed from 2015
Claimants with lifetime or indefinite award will be affected
DWP writing to everyone affected.
Welfare Benefits Cap
Allow benefit up to a maximum of £26k per annum
Restrict Benefit cap of £350 (single) and £500 (couples)
No Cap applies if the household receives Working Tax Credit, Attendance Allowance
or Disability Living Allowance.
Initially implemented from April 2013 in 4 London Borough’s
Phased roll out to rest of country by September 2013.
Cap only imposed on housing benefit at present. Some may lose more benefit when
full cap introduced in Universal Credit.
Working with residents to mitigate impact of benefit cap where possible
Queries / impact not as significant on Benefit Service as was anticipated
Middlesbrough highest number of cases affected in Tees Valley (140 at present)
Universal Credit
• Introduced on a small scale in 2013 for out of work claims in pilot areas
• One monthly payment, in arrears, paid directly into their bank account
• Replaces Housing Benefit, Income Support, Child Tax and Working Tax
Credits, Jobseekers Allowance (income based) and Income Related
Employment Support Allowance
• Intention is to migrate all 12 million national cases on a phased basis by
2017/18. Some cases will stay with LAs after that date.
• “Digital by default” - Individuals expected to manage their own claims online and report all changes in their circumstances
• Majority of payments made to the customer – only in exceptional
circumstances will housing costs be paid direct to their landlord
• Pilots testing different rent arrears trigger figures
• Guidance on personal budgeting support published
• www.dwp.gov.uk/ucla
Any questions?