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Benefit updates from April 2018

18 April 2018

A quick summary of the benefit changes and updates that have taken place in the last few weeks:

  • Loan payments to replace support for mortgage interest.

    From April 2018 anyone who needs help with their mortgage costs via a means tested benefit will no longer receive it as part of their benefit, it will instead be offered support in the form of a loan. The DWP has written to people who were already getting help, advising them that it will be withdrawn and asking them if they wish to accept the loan instead.

  • The Carer’s Allowance earnings limit went up from £116 a week (after deductions) to £120 a week (after deductions). Although this is welcome news, with the rise of the National Living Wage to £7.83 an hour, those carers who are working 16 hours at National Living Wage will remain over this earnings limit (£7.83 an hour x 16 hours = £125.28 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.

  • Certain benefit rates were uprated, the key ones for carers being: Carer’s Allowance which went from £62.70 a week to £64.60 a week; and the carer premium (carer addition within Pension Credit) which went from £34.95 a week to £36.00 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.

  •  Continuing Roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) 

    Universal Credit is a single means-tested benefit replacing Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. 

    UC is made up of a personal allowance (dependant on your circumstances) and ‘elements’ rather than the existing premiums, for example a carer element paid to certain carers.
    The roll out of UC across the UK is continuing and by December 2018 the whole of the UK is expected to be covered, meaning that working age people wishing to make a claim for means tested benefits will have to claim UC. You can check whether you can currently claim UC in your area on the revenue benefits website.

    People already receiving means tested benefits will only need to claim UC if they have a change in circumstances that means they have to make a new claim for one of the above means-tested benefits. The managed migration of people on existing benefits to UC is due to start in 2019 and be completed by 2022.

  • Carers Allowance Supplement 

    From April 2018 in Scotland a ‘Carers Allowance Supplement’ payment will be paid in addition to Carer’s Allowance. The details have not yet been finalised but we know that the Supplement is intended to bring Carers Allowance up to the same rate as Jobseekers Allowance and will be paid direct if you are getting or have claimed Carers Allowance on the ‘qualifying date’. The ‘qualifying date’ is not yet known but the first payments are expected to be paid in the summer of 2018. You can contact the Scottish Social Security Agency for more information on 101 1001 0110
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