What's New in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
There have been a number of changes to welfare benefits in
recent years as part of the Government's Welfare Reform
programme. The main changes are summarised on this page.
Universal Credit has started in Bedford Job Centre
Bedford Job Centre began accepting claims for Universal Credit
from early March 2015. To begin with claims are only accepted
from single job seekers. If a person that qualifies for
Universal Credit has rent to pay they will no longer be able to
claim Housing Benefit. Instead, their Universal Credit will
include a housing allowance.
Introduction of the Size Criteria in Social Housing
(often known as the 'Bedroom Tax')
From April 2013 the Council must work out whether someone living
in social housing and claiming Housing Benefit has more bedrooms
than their household needs. This is similar to the way
Housing Benefit is worked out for people living in privately rented
Under the new rules one bedroom will be allowed for each of the
- Every adult couple (married or unmarried)
- Any other adult aged 16 or over
- Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
- Any two children aged under 10
- Any other child (other than a foster child or a child whose
main home is elsewhere)
- A carer or team of carers, who does not live with the customer,
but provides overnight care for them or their partner.
If a household has more bedrooms than they need the rent
used to calculate your Housing Benefit entitlement will be reduced
- 14% - if you have 1 extra bedroom or
- 25% - if you have 2 or more extra
The following customers are not affected:
- Shared ownership tenants
- Customers who have reached the qualifying age for state pension
- Tenants in temporary accommodation (placed though Housing
- Tenants in supported exempt accommodation, where care support
and/or supervision is provided by your landlord as part of your
conditions to stay.
Disabled persons are not automatically excluded from the
Foster Carers are not exempt, as under the current rules, both
the presence of the children being fostered and the income for
their care are disregarded for Housing Benefit purposes.
If you believe you are in one of these groups but have
been advised your Housing Benefit is restricted due to the number
of bedrooms please contact Customer Services (01234
If you have difficulty paying your rent because your Housing
Benefit is restricted you may be able to apply for extra help
through a Discretionary Housing
Changes to the Social Fund
The Social Fund was abolished on 31 March 2013. The
Council is now able to offer crisis
grants or home in the community grants but only under certain
The Benefit Cap
The Benefit Cap restricts a person's total income from benefits
to £384 per week for a couple or family. If you are entitled to
Working Tax Credit you are exempt from the cap.
The cap only applies to working age people who are not in
work. All income from out of work benefits such as
Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit and Housing
Benefit is added up to work out the person's income. If the
total is more than the capped amount they are entitled to, their
Housing Benefit is reduced so that the amount they receive is the
maximum capped amount.
The Department for Work and Pensions tells the Council which
claims must be capped.
Personal Independence Payments replacing Disability Living
From 8 April 2013 Personal Independence Payments (PIP) replaced
Disability Living Allowance for people aged 16 to 64 with a health
condition or disability.
PIP helps with some of the additional costs caused by ill-health
or disability. You may need an assessment to work out the
level of PIP you will get.
not based on your condition but on how your condition affects
As with Disability Living Allowance, PIP is disregarded for
the purpose of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support. To
find out more about PIP and how it may
affect you go to: