Welfare Reform and Work Bill

January 2018

Universal Credit Advance

Prior to January 2018 the maximum advance was up to 50% of a customer’s first months entitlement, which was repayable over 6 months. From January 2018, the amount a customer can receive will increase up to 100%, repayable over a 12 month period from ongoing universal Credit entitlement.

February 2018

Universal Credit waiting days

From February 2018, there will no longer be a 7 day waiting period for any new claim for Universal Credit, this means that the claim will start from the date the application was made.

April 2018

Housing Benefit transitional payment

The Autumn Budget 2017 introduced a Housing Benefit transitional payment for UC claimants from 11th April 2018. This means that from 11th April 2018, claimants who have been receiving Housing Benefit immediately prior to claiming UC will receive a transitional payment of two weeks Housing Benefit payment run-on when they claim UC. This will be unrecoverable.

New Claims for Temporary Accommodation

From 11th April 2018 the Housing Cost element of Universal Credit will not be available to claimants making a new claim whilst living in temporary accommodation for their housing costs. Affected claimants will now be able to claim HB for support with their temporary accommodation housing costs while receiving the personal element of UC in the same manner that exists with specified accommodation.

UC claimants who already receive the housing costs element of UC for temporary accommodation housing costs will continue to do so until there is any change to the amount of the rent they pay for their temporary accommodation (a change in rent is a change to the total cost the LA charge to the claimant). At this point the Housing Costs element of UC will cease, and the claimant will be required to claim HB for ongoing support with housing costs.

Support for 18 to 21 year olds claiming Universal Credit

Ministers have reversed a 2014 move stopping people under the age of 21 automatically getting Universal Credit Housing Costs.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provides a programme of intensive support for all 18 to 21 year olds making a new claim to Universal Credit. This programme is being rolled-out in line with the roll-out schedule for Universal Credit. It aims to encourage and support all young people into employment, work-related training or an apprenticeship.

If you are 18 to 21 years old and are making a new claim to Universal Credit, you will receive a programme of intensive support, based on evidence of what works, tailored to your needs and job goals.

Throughout this, you will continue to receive Universal Credit in line with the agreements made in your claimant commitment. If you are attending training or work experience, you may be reimbursed for travel or childcare costs.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) payments

From 6 April 2018, the government is abolishing Support for Mortgage Interest as a benefit for new or existing customers.

As an alternative customer will be invited to apply for a loan. The loans will be repaid upon the sale of a claimant’s house; or on a claimant’s return to work if the borrower can afford it.

Employer Childcare Vouchers will no longer be available to new claimants

From April 2018, new claims for Employer Supported Childcare will not be accepted.

Existing claims will continue until the child is 15 years old (or 16 years old if disabled) or the claimant starts claiming under another scheme (Childcare element of Working Tax Credit, Childcare element of Universal Credit or Tax Free Childcare), whichever is earliest.

Tax allowances and thresholds

The amount of income a person can earn before paying tax will increase from £11,500 to £11,850 in April 2018.

The basic tax rate will be payable on taxable income up to £34,500 and the higher rate threshold will be set at £46,350.

The Marriage Allowance allows you to transfer up to 10% of your unused personal allowance to your partner, reducing your tax bill by up to £230 a year in 2018-19.

State Pensions and benefits

The old State Pension and new State Pension will be increased by 3% from April 2018, a cash increase of £3.65 a week and £4.80 a week respectively.

The standard rate of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit will increase by £3.65 a week for a single person and by £5.55 a week for couples from April 2018.

Pension Credit Savings Credit will increase by 20p a week for a single person and by 9p a week for couples from April 2018.