The benefits system is changing significantly over the next few years. The Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduced 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:
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
These six benefits are being phased out between October 2013 and 2017. By the end of this period, all claimants will need to claim Universal Credit instead. Universal Credit includes money for basic living, 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 DWP will contact you. You don’t need to do anything until then.