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The benefits system will change significantly over the next few years.
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduces a variety of reforms to the benefits and tax credits systems.Some changes have already begun, while others will happen over the next few years.
One of the main changes is the introduction of one benefit called Universal Credit| to replace six income-related (means-tested) benefits:
These six benefits will be phased out between October 2013 (or earlier for certain claimants in Oldham, Tameside, Warrington and Wigan) and 2017. By the end of this period, people will need to claim Universal Credit instead.
Universal Credit includes money for basic living costs, children and housing.
If you’re currently receiving any of these six benefits, you’ll have your claims transferred to Universal Credit between April 2014 and 2017. The amount of money you get won’t be reduced when this happens, as long as your circumstances stay the same.
If you’re receiving one of these six benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact you. You don’t need to do anything until then.
We have more detailed information about Universal Credit|, which might be helpful.
Disability Living Allowance| is the current disability benefit for people under 65 with a long-term disability. It’s being replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment|.
From April 2013, all new claims for people in parts of northern England will be for Personal Independence Payment instead of Disability Living Allowance. People elsewhere in the UK can continue to claim Disability Living Allowance. However, from June 2013, all new claims will be for Personal Independence Payment.
All existing Disability Living Allowance claimants who are aged between 1664 will eventually be affected by the introduction of Personal Independence Payment, but this won’t take place until 2015 at the earliest.
However, they’ll be invited to claim Personal Independence Payment instead of Disability Living Allowance if there’s a change in their circumstances before this time.
If you’re currently claiming Disability Living Allowance, you don’t need to do anything until the DWP contacts you.
From April 2013, Council Tax Benefit| is being replaced by a system of localised Council Tax Support|.
A benefit cap will start to be introduced from April 2013. It was first introduced in four boroughs of London (Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey) from 15 April 2013. All other local authorities will introduce the cap from 15 July 2013.
All households affected by the benefit cap will have it applied by the end of September 2013. Your local authority should be able to tell you exactly when the cap will take effect. The cap means that the total amount of benefits you can claim, including Universal Credit, is limited to a maximum of:
This means that you won’t get anything above these limits, even if you’re assessed as needing more. However, some benefits are not included in the benefit cap.You will also be exempt from the cap if someone in your household:
A welfare rights adviser| will be able to give you a full list of benefits affected by the cap. You can speak to one for free by calling 0808 808 00 00.
A number of benefits will remain as they are. These include:
If you might be affected by the changes described on this page, you should contact your local benefits advice service or a Macmillan welfare rights adviser on 0808 808 00 00.
Content last reviewed: 16 April 2013
Next planned review: 2014
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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