Changes to housing related benefits (including bedroom tax and Council tax)

In addition to the changes below, Housing Benefit may be reduced due to the benefit cap and is being replaced in stages by Universal Credit

Help with the Council Tax bill
Help with the rent
Help with mortgage costs

Help with the Council Tax bill

  • From April 2018

Council Tax reduction changes to a banded scheme for working age people. See the council's webpage  and specifically the page on the new 2018/19 scheme

  • From April 2016

Council Tax Support scheme changes: Working age people can claim Council Tax Reduction on up to 85% of the bill. It is 100% for pensioners. The help of up to 80% of the bill for disabled people does not apply from this date.

  • From April 2013

Council Tax Benefit is being replaced by Council Tax Support. This is a local scheme which has been developed through consultation with residents. The new scheme means that most working age people will start to pay council tax and others will pay more.

More information on Council Tax Support.

Help with rent

In addition to the changes below, Housing Benefit for working age people may be reduced due to the benefit cap and is being replaced in stages by Universal Credit
 

  • From 15 May 2019

Couples who make a new claim for Universal Credit - where one is under pension credit age and one is over - will have to claim Universal Credit instead of Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit – unless they are protected. Before this change, such ‘mixed age’ couples would be able to claim Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit. Note, Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit can be backdated three months, so claims up to 14 August can be made so long as the rules are satisfied before 15 May. More details from Age UK 

  • From 31 December 2018

18 - 21 year olds will now be able to get help with their rent in their Universal Credit. This reverses the government decision to stop them getting such help from April 2017. More details in the November 2018 Benefit Bulletin

  • From April 2018

Housing Benefit claimants who claim Universal Credit will receive the equivalent of two additional weeks of Housing Benefit early on in their Universal Credit claim – to deal with the problem of gaps in transfer. 

Some people in a Universal Credit area can still get Housing Benefit to help with rent, such as those in supported housing. This has been widened to those in temporary accommodation. 

For more details on these two changes see the March 2018 Benefit Bulletin

  • From April 2017

This rule removed 31 December 2018

Housing costs help in Universal Credit for out of work 18 to 21 year olds is removed. Many exemptions apply including for those in supported accommodation.

See our April benefit bulletin for more details on this and other April 2017 changes. In March 2018, the government announced they will withdraw this measure on a date yet to be announced.

  • From April 2017

New "bedroom tax" rules allow for:

  • An extra bedroom for a disabled child or non-dependant needing overnight care by a non-resident person or persons 
  • An extra bedroom for a severely disabled couple who can’t share a bedroom 

See our April 2017 benefit bulletin for more details on this and other April 2017 changes.

'Pay to stay' plans where higher income social housing tenants to pay market rents withdrawn.

  • From 15 March 2017, 8 February 2017 and 25 May 2016

Those living in the areas covered by the three jobcentre plus offices in Newcastle who want to make a new claim for Housing Benefit may have to claim Universal Credit instead. Existing claimants in that area may also have to claim Universal Credit if they have a certain change in circumstance. But see April 2017 benefit bulletin if someone has three or more children.

  • From April 2016

Backdating of Housing Benefit (and Pension Credit) reduced from 6 or 3 months to 1 month.

Reduction in social housing rents by 1% for four years with a one year deferral for supported accommodation.

Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit for private tenants) amounts are frozen for four years along with working age benefits.

  • From 27 April 2015

Universal Credit claims are taken from new single Jobseekers in Newcastle who would otherwise have claimed Jobseekers Allowance. This can include those with housing costs - but not those in supported accommodation or those of pension credit age.

  • From April 2013

Under Occupation ('bedroom tax'). Housing benefits is reduced for social landlords - properties rented from the council or housing associations - if they are deemed to have too many bedrooms. It does not apply to those of pension credit age. And other exemptions apply.

More information about Under Occupation.

More details about Housing Benefit from the Government and from Shelter.

  • From January 2012

Local Housing Allowance: The single room rate (called the 'bedsit rate') for single under 25 year olds is extended to under 35 year olds. Some exceptions apply.

  • From April 2011

Local Housing Allowance – which is Housing Benefit for private tenants is limited to four bedrooms and based on cheaper rents.

Help with mortgage costs

  • From 6 April 2018

Help in benefits towards mortgage costs stops on 5th April 2018 and is replaced by the offer of a loan, secured against the claimant’s property. See the new rules, the updated guidance on the gov.uk webpage and the guidance from the Money Advice Association: Government help if you can't pay your mortgage

For trusted financial advice, the local website InformationNow has this useful page called Getting advice about your finances  

  • From April 2016

The wait for mortgage interest help following a new claim is extended from 13 to 39 weeks.

Further advice

Your Homes Newcastle have also produced guidance on the changes to the benefits system which may affect their tenants. Visit the Your Homes Newcastle website.

Also see our page: What can I do if I'm affected by these changes?

For a comprehensive list of benefit changes see our timeline of benefit changes.

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