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Changes To Benefits- A Timeline

The government plans to make vast changes to the benefits system over the next few years- changes which will affect many people. While some will gain from these changes, others could lose out. This timeline will help let you know when these changes will be happening, and how they could affect you.

This timeline was put together by Tameside MC Welfare Rights Service for Tameside residents. It is a general guide and does not cover every circumstance. Though we have tried to make sure it was correct at the time of publication, and we hope to be able to keep it up-to-date, it may become inaccurate over time.

A booklet on some of the changes that happened before March 2013 is available here.

2013

29th April 2013. Many working-age single people (without children living with them) who would have otherwise made a new claim for Jobseekers Allowance & Housing Benefit now have to claim Universal Credit instead. This applies to these people who live in postcode areas M43, SK16, OL6 and OL7.

10th June 2013. Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit for people with a long-term illness or disability. If you are aged 16-64 and have a long-term illness or disability, you now have to claim Personal Independence Payment instead of DLA. This was already the case for people living in M43 & M34 postcodes from April 2013. Under 16s can still claim DLA.

September 2013. The Benefit Cap for working-age households is now active nationwide, having first been introduced in parts of London in April 2013. Families with children, or couples without children, can now usually only receive up to £500/week in benefits and tax credits. Single people without children can now usually only receive up to £350/week. Not all benefits count towards these weekly limits, and some working-age households are exempt from the benefit cap altogether.

28th October 2013. Changes to the way Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits decisions are appealed. For decisions made after this date, you now need to ask the DWP to look at their decision again (a ‘mandatory reconsideration’) before you can appeal to an independent tribunal. You have 1 month from the date of the decision letter to ask for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. For more information on challenging different types of benefit decisions, please click here.

2014

1st January 2014 . Migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) who come to the UK to look for work, and UK nationals returning from living abroad for more than 52 weeks, will need to provide evidence that they have lived here for 3 months before getting Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)

EEA migrants who come to the UK looking for work will now only be able to get Income-Based JSA for more than 6 months if they can show they have a genuine chance of finding work. Even if they can show this, only a short extension of their Income-Based JSA will be given.

1st April 2014. European Economic Area (EEA) migrants looking for work while claiming Income-based Jobseekers Allowance are now no longer automatically entitled to Housing Benefit & Council Tax Reduction. This may not affect you if you have only recently stopped working due to illness, accident or redundancy, providing you will be returning to work in the future.

1st April 2014. If you are claiming Child Tax Credit for a child aged 16-19 in full-time education, you must now tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) every year by 31st August that they are remaining in education, or your Child Tax Credit payments will stop.

6th April 2014. If you want to appeal a Tax Credit, Child Benefit or Guardians Allowance decision, you now must request a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ first, within 30 days of the decision.

28th April 2014. If you are a lone parent claiming Income Support and your youngest child is aged 1-4, you are now expected to do more to prepare for returning to work, which will include attending lone parent interviews. If you do not do this without good reason, your Income Support could be reduced (i.e. ‘sanctioned’). However, you will not be made to apply for jobs or take up the offer of a job.

28th April 2014. The ‘Help To Work’ scheme is introduced for people who have been claiming Jobseekers Allowance for more than 3 years, or who are leaving the Work Programme. Under the scheme, you may be told to do ‘community work placements’ of up to 30 hours/week, or to go to daily appointments at the Jobcentre. If you do not do this without good reason your Jobseekers Allowance may be stopped (i.e. ‘sanctioned’).

23rd June 2014. Many working-age single people (without children living with them) who would otherwise have had to make a new claim for Jobseekers Allowance & Housing Benefit now have to claim Universal Credit instead. This applies to these people who live in postcode areas M34, OL5, SK15, SK14 1, SK14 2, SK14 4, SK14 6, and SK14 9.

1st July 2014. European Economic Area (EEA) migrants who come to the UK looking for work now need to have evidence showing they have lived here for 3 months before they can get Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit. Once they provide this evidence, they will now only be able to get Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit for more than 6 months if they can show they have a genuine chance of finding work. These changes will not apply to EEA migrants who are employed or self-employed.

27th July 2014. If you are pregnant and give unpaid help to your self-employed spouse or civil partner to run their own business, and the week your baby is due starts on or after this date, you may be able to get Maternity Allowance for 14 weeks. This only applies if you are not employed or self-employed yourself, and you can’t get Statutory Maternity Pay.

28th July 2014. Universal Credit rolls out to include many working-age couples (without children living with them) who before would have had to make a new claim for Jobseekers Allowance and/or Housing Benefit. This applies to these people who live in postcode areas M43, SK16, OL6, OL7, M34, OL5, SK15, SK14 1, SK14 2, SK14 4, SK14 6, and SK14 9.

27th October 2014. People making a new claim for Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseekers Allowance will no longer get paid for the first 7 days of their claim (previously 3 days).

10th November 2014. Migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) who come to the UK to look for work will now only be able to get Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance for up to 91 days, unless they can prove they have a genuine chance of finding work.

17th November 2014. If you are currently claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and you live in an M43 or M34 postcode, you will be told you have to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead if you report a change in how your disability or health condition affects you, if your fixed-term award of DLA is coming to an end, if you are turning 16, or if you choose to claim PIP.

2015

26th January 2015. Universal Credit rolls out to include working-age Tameside residents with children, who before would have had to make a new claim for Jobseekers Allowance and/or Housing Benefit. Some exceptions apply.

1st March 2015. Employment and Support Allowance work capability assessments will now be delivered by Maximus instead of Atos.

1st April 2015. From this date, the Tameside Support For Independent Living scheme will end.

1st April 2015. Before this date, you could reclaim Employment and Support Allowance 6 months after failing the work capability test. From this date, you can only do this if you can show you have a new health condition or that one of your existing health conditions has worsened.

5th April 2015. If a child is born or adopted on or after this date, then the mother or primary adopter can end their Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Adoption Pay early. The money they lose by doing this can then be taken by their spouse, civil partner, partner or the child's father as Shared Parental Pay. 

6th April 2015. From this date, Universal Credit can now be paid into credit union accounts. 

6th April 2015. You can now earn up to £110 a week while still claiming Carers Allowance Link to External Website. Previously, you could only earn up to £102 a week.

6th April 2015. You can now earn up to £338 a month as a single person. or £541 a month as a couple, and still claim Universal Credit. Previously, the limits were £330 and £525 a month. 

May 2015. European Economic Area nationals who have been getting Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance since before 1st January 2014 will now need to show they have a genuine chance of finding work, or their Jobseekers Allowance will stop.

30th June 2015. The Independent Living Fund for disabled people closes.

31st July 2015. Deadline for Tax Credit renewals.

30th August 2015. If you are getting Child Tax Credit or Child Benefit for a child aged 16 or over, you need to confirm by this date whether they will be continuing in education, or these benefits may stop. 

October 2015. A new scheme will allow some people to pay voluntary National Insurance contributions to boost their state pension. Click here Link to External Website to see if you may benefit.  

October 2015. People aged 16-64 who are currently claiming Disability Living Allowance will start to be told to claim Personal Independence Payment instead. This process could take until March 2018.

October 2015. New claims for Pension Credit will include extra amounts to cover the cost of being responsible for a dependent child, as Child Tax Credit will eventually be phased out. The Government also plans for new claims to Pension Credit (from 2017-18 at the earliest) to include extra amounts to cover the cost of rent, as Housing Benefit will also eventually be phased out.

Autumn 2015. Employer-Supported Childcare schemes will close for new applicants. A new Tax Free Childcare scheme, for employed and self-employed parents earning between £50/week (on average) and £150,000/ year, will be set up. Under this scheme, the Government will pay 20% of your childcare costs. The Government will pay up to £2,000 per child per year, up to a total of £10,000 per year.

Autumn 2015. The Government intends to stop Winter Fuel Payments for UK expats living in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Gibraltar and Malta.

2016

2016. At some point all new claims for the benefits Universal Credit is replacing will stop (i.e. for Income Support, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credit). People who would have claimed one of these benefits must now claim Universal Credit instead. Existing claims for these benefits will begin to be transferred to Universal Credit.

April 2016. A new Bereavement Support Payment will replace existing bereavement benefits.

6th April 2016. The Government will introduce a simpler single-tier State Pension for people reaching State Pension age on or after this date. To get the new State Pension, you will need least 35 ‘qualifying years’ of National Insurance contributions or National Insurance credits, otherwise the amount you get will be reduced. If you have less than 10 ‘qualifying years’, you will not be entitled to the new State Pension. You cannot normally get the right to the new State Pension through your spouse or partner’s National Insurance contributions. For an estimate of when you will reach State Pension age and how many ‘qualifying years’ you have, please click here Link to External Website

April 2016. Extra funding becomes available to cover 85% of eligible childcare costs for households getting the Universal Credit Childcare Element (if a lone parent or both partners in a couple are paying income tax).

April 2016. The State Pension age for women will start to increase more quickly to 65 by November 2018.

April 2016. People will no longer have to pay more than £72,000 across their lifetimes for any social care they get. This will mostly benefit older people in residential care homes.

April 2016. All people claiming Pension Credit will now need to report changes affecting how much they get as they happen (except over-75s with an ‘indefinite assessed income period’).

31st July 2016. Deadline for Tax Credit renewals.

30th August 2016. If you are getting Child Tax Credit or Child Benefit for a child aged 16 or over, you need to confirm by this date whether they will be continuing in education, or these benefits may stop.

2017

2017. Existing claims for Income Support, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credit will continue to be transferred to Universal Credit.

2018

December 2018. The State Pension age for women and men will start to increase to 66 by October 2020.
 

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