Changes to benefits and other financial support in today’s Autumn Statement

3 mins read

Thursday 17 November 2022

In today’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor made a number of announcements about the benefits system and other sources of financial support for families.

This included confirmation that state benefits and the state pension will increase in line with inflation. This is a rise of 10.1%, but it won’t happen until April 2023.

Below, we’ve listed some other key announcements that might affect families with disabled children.

Cost of living support

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced further lump sum cost of living payments in 2023/24. This includes:

The Energy Price Guarantee, which caps the price of the average domestic energy bill on the variable rate, will be extended for a further 12 months from April 2023. But it will become less generous, with the average bill in 2023/24 being capped at £3,000, rather than the current £2500.

The government will also make £1 billion available to local authorities as part of the Household Support Fund. This allows councils to deliver support with the costs of essentials in their areas.

Universal Credit changes

Help with mortgage interest

Universal Credit claimants can apply for a loan to help them meet their mortgage interest payments. From Spring 2023, the waiting period before a claimant can apply will reduce from nine to three months.

Alongside this, the rules that prevent in-work Universal Credit claimants from applying for a loan towards mortgage interest are abolished.

Note: Support with mortgage interest payments is a loan that you must normally repay with interest if your property is sold or transferred.

Support to increase hours or earnings

600,000 in-work Universal Credit claimants will have “to meet with a dedicated work coach so that they have support to increase their hours or earnings”.

It is expected that this will only apply to Universal Credit claimants on low earnings who are expected to look for more work, or better-paid work, as a condition of their claim. It will not apply to Universal Credit claimants who aren’t required to look for work. As a result, many carers will be exempt.

This is because you should automatically be exempt from any work-related conditions (and therefore exempt from having to look for more hours of work) so long as you meet all the qualifying rules for Carer’s Allowance, except for the earnings rule.

Migration of ESA claimants onto Universal Credit

The Chancellor has pushed back to 2028 the managed migration of income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants onto Universal Credit. (This doesn’t include those who also Child Tax Credit.)

This will not affect the timetable for the moving those from other legacy benefits onto Universal Credit. This is currently scheduled to complete by the end of 2024. The government has also decided to postpone until 2028 its plans to replace Housing Benefit for pensioners with a new housing element of Pension Credit.

Other changes

Hunt also committed to:

  • Increasing the National Living Wage in April 2023 so that it rises from £9.50 to £10.42 per hour for those aged 23 or over.
  • Capping rent rises in the social rented sector – e.g. council houses and housing associations – at 7%.
  • Increasing the benefit cap by 10.1 % in-line with inflation.
  • Setting aside £280 million to help the Department of Work and Pensions tackle fraud, errors and overpayments in the benefits system.

Read Contact’s response to the Autumn Statement and find out why we’re campaigning for more support, now.