Page 17 - NewsletterWINTER_2016
P. 17

Welfare Reform
                                                                                                        Maintenance Advice

                                                                                                                     Stay Safe

Changes To Housing Benefit - Bedroom Size         The restrictions would apply to all Housing           An additional Supplementary Payment,
Criteria (To Be Introduced Early 2017)            Benefit working age claimants where they (and         available until 31 March 2020 to cover any
                                                  any family) are under-occupying their home.           loss of housing benefit, may be available for
Under the new rules if you have more              Social Sector Size criteria is fully mitigated until  households with children, identified as being
bedrooms than the Government says you need,       31 March 2020.                                        affected by the Benefit
you will lose part of your housing benefit. The                                                         Cap from 7 November 2016. This does not
restrictions would apply to all Housing Benefit   Introduction Of A Benefit Cap –                       affect your tax credits entitlement, and you
working age claimants where they (and any         Now Operational                                       won’t have to pay any tax on it.
family) are under-occupying their home.
                                                  The Benefit Cap is an upper limit on the              If you are affected by the Benefit Cap, you
Those who are not affected by this change         amount of benefit a household can receive.            do not need to apply for a Supplementary
include:                                          This was first introduced in Northern Ireland         Payment. The Department for Communities
• Tenants who are pensioners. If you or your      on 31 May 2016.                                       will identify who is eligible and the payments
                                                                                                        will cover any loss of Housing Benefit.
  partner are old enough to receive pension       How is the Benefit Cap applied?
  credits.                                                                                              If you need independent help and advice
• If you or your partner were born before         For the Benefit Cap to apply, someone in              relating any of the welfare reform changes
  6th October 1951, the proposed changes will     the household must be in receipt of Housing           please call Free phone 0808 802 0020.
  not affect you                                  Benefit. A household means you, your partner
• Tenants who do not receive any Housing Benefit  (if you have one) and any children you are            Backdating Housing Benefit –
• You live in a one bedroom flat or bedsit        responsible for and who live with you.                Now Operational

However if you do not fall into the above         What are the Benefit Cap limits?                      As you will recall we sent you a letter in
category these changes could affect you:                                                                September to advise that recently there
• If you are 16 to 61 years old                   From 7 November 2016, the Benefit Cap limits are:     have been some very important changes
• Even if you only get a small amount of housing                                                        made to Housing Benefit regarding the rules
                                                  • £384.62 a week if your household is made up         around backdating of Housing Benefit and the
  benefit – for example, if you are Working         of a couple (with or without children) or you       abolition of the Family Premium.
• Even if you are sick or disabled                  are a lone parent and you have children living
                                                    with you, that you are responsible for, or           From 5th September 2016, The Housing
 In summary, the new rules mean you will                                                                 Benefit (Abolition of the Family Premium
                                                  • £257.69 a week if you are a single person and        and date of claim) (Amendment)
 be allocated one bedroom for:                      have no children living with you                     Regulations (NI) 2016 will reduce the
 • Each adult couple                                                                                     backdating period for Housing Benefit
 • Any other person aged 16 or over and           Some of the benefits that are received by you,         claims to one month, a reduction from the
                                                  your partner (if you have one) and any children        current six-month limit and will remove
    registered as living solely with you          who live with you and you are responsible for,         the family premium for new claimants.
 • Two children of the same sex under the         are added together to determine if you are
                                                  above the limit. It does not include individuals      Please note this will only affect you if you
    age of 16                                     who may live in your household, who you are           are making a new application for Housing
 • Two children under the age of 10               not responsible for.                                  Benefit or notifying the Housing Executive
 regardless of their sex                                                                                and ourselves of a change in circumstances
 • Any other child                                How will the Benefit Cap be administered?             which may impact upon your current Housing
 • An appointed carer (who does not                                                                     Benefit entitlement. It is important to contact
                                                  For those affected by the Benefit Cap, it is          us if somebody moves out of your home, or
    normally live with you) if you or your        administered through a reduction in Housing           indeed moves in with you as it could alter the
    partner need overnight care                   Benefit. If your household is, or becomes             amount of housing benefit you get paid.
                                                  affected by the Benefit Cap, you will receive
There are proposed exemptions for foster          a Housing Benefit award notification from the         The reduction in the access to backdating
carers and the armed forces.                      Northern Ireland Housing Executive, advising          means that it is even more important than
                                                  that your Housing Benefit amount will reduce          ever for claimants to contact us regarding any
What Difference Would Tenants See In              due to the Benefit Cap. This letter will also         change in circumstances and to submit their
Their Housing Benefit?                            detail the benefits and itemised amounts used         Housing Benefit Application to the Northern
                                                  to calculate the Benefit Cap.                         Ireland Housing Executive in a timely manner.
If you have one ‘spare’ bedroom your housing
benefit will be cut by 14% of the rent you pay
every week. If you have two or more spare
bedrooms, you will lose 25% of Housing
Benefit. If your benefit is cut you will have to
pay Rural Housing Association the difference
between your housing benefit and your rent.

                                                                                                        Rural Housing Association : newsletter 2016 : 17
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