A number of changes to benefits have taken place over recent years as part of the Government's Welfare Reforms.
Council Tax Support
Council Tax Support is a means-tested award that helps people on low incomes pay their Council Tax. It is administered by local councils using rules set locally. Claimants have their Council Tax bill reduced by the amount of their award.
It could help pay towards some, or all, of your Council Tax bill if you are on a low income, even if you own your home. The maximum amount of Council Tax Support will depend on whether you are working age or are State Pension Credit age, your income, personal and family circumstances - you will need to complete an application form.
For more information on Council Tax in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole please click here.
The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can get if you are working age 16 – 64 years. The Benefit Cap will only affect you if you're getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If the cap affects you, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is reduced.
The benefit calculator gives an estimate of how much your benefit might be capped.
To use the calculator you'll need to know the amounts of each benefit you get, and the number of people in your household.
Your household includes you, your partner and any children that you’re responsible for and who live with you.
You can’t check if you’re affected by the benefit cap if you’re claiming Universal Credit.
Housing Benefit can help pay for part or all of your rent if you're on a low income. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances and whether you’re unemployed or working. You may also be able to get help with your rent if your benefits stop.
Use the benefits calculator to check if you can get Housing Benefit before you apply. You may need to claim Universal Credit instead.
For more information on Housing Benefit in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole please click here.
Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children may help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:
- is under 16
- has difficulties walking or needs more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn't have a disability
They will need to meet all the eligibility requirements.
Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payments (PIP) were introduced in 2013 to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for new claimants ages 16 to 64 years. It is not a means-tested benefit and isn't affected by earnings, other income or savings.
It has two parts:
- daily living component - for people who need help to take part in everyday life
- mobility component - for people who find it hard to get around
Each component has two levels: standard or enhanced and is assessed under 12 activities, 10 for daily living and 2 for mobility.
Its an interest free loan that can help to pay for essential items like furniture, clothes, moving cost or hire purchase debts
To get a Budgeting Loan you must have been getting one of these benefits for the past 6 months:
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
You can’t get a Budgeting Loan if:
- you’re involved in industrial action (for example, a strike, walkout or lockout)
- you owe more than £1,500 in total for Crisis Loans and Budgeting Loans
How can I apply for a Budgeting Loan?
You can now apply for Budgeting Loans online via Gov.uk
Employment and Support Allowance
If you're ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers you:
- financial support if you’re unable to work
- personalised help so that you can work if you’re able to
You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.
You might be transferred to ESA if you’ve been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefit.
You must have a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA claim is being assessed. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work.
You’ll then be placed in one of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA:
- work-related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser/work coach
- support group, where you don’t have interviews
Any Support workers, family member or friend can accompany the claimant to their appointments
Those people who are homeless or have a mental health condition on Job Seekers Allowance and had their benefits reduced because of a sanction, may be eligible for a Hardship Payment.
Hardship payments act as a safety net to cover day-to-day living costs. The changes, detailed in new regulations extend the number of people who can access this help immediately, rather than waiting for 2 weeks.
More information is available on Gov.uk
Paying for Childcare
There are Government schemes available to help paying for childcare. Click here for more details.