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Benefit updates from April 2017

11 April 2017

There have been various benefit changes and updates in the last week or so. Here is a quick summary of the key ones to know about:

1st April 2017: After more than five years of campaigning, the ‘bedroom tax’ rules were changed to allow an additional room where a child or non-dependent adult requires overnight care from a non-resident carer(s) and where a couple are unable to share a bedroom due to health reasons, which is a very welcome change. For more information on these changes see our ‘bedroom tax’ webpage.

3rd April 2017: The work related activity component of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the limited capability for work element of Universal Credit have been abolished for claims made on or after 3rd April 2017. This means that those making a claim on or after 3rd April 2017, who are found to have a limited capability for work, will no longer receive an additional amount of money to reflect this. For more information on these changes (in relation to ESA) see our ESA information

6th April 2017:

Certain benefit rates were uprated, the key ones for carers being: Carer’s Allowance which went from £62.10 a week to £62.70 a week; and the carer premium (carer addition within Pension Credit) which went from £34.60 a week to £34.95 a week. The rates for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) , Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance were also uprated. For more information on these benefits see our benefits information.

• The two child limit came into force for Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit. This means that you will no longer be able to get an amount included in Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for any third or subsequent children you have who are born on or after 6th April 2017. There are certain exceptions to this rule.

• The Family Element in Child Tax Credits is no longer available for families who have their first and subsequent children on or after 6th April 2017.

• The system of bereavement benefits for those whose spouse or civil partner died on or after 6th April 2017 has been replaced with a Bereavement Support Payment. For more information see our bereavement information.

10th April 2017: The Carer’s Allowance earnings limit went up from £110 a week (after deductions) to £116 a week (after deductions). Although this is welcome news, with the rise of the National Living Wage to £7.50 an hour, those carers who are working 16 hours at National Living Wage will remain over this earnings limit (£7.50 an hour x 16 hours = £120 a week). There are certain deductions that can be made from earnings for Carer’s Allowance purposes, such as half of any contributions you make to an occupational or personal pension, and so any carers in this situation might want to take a look at our Carer’s Allowance information to see if any of these deductions apply.

For advice and information about any of these changes, contact the Carers UK Adviceline.

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