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The benefit changes mentioned below apply to England, Scotland and
Wales. Most of the changes also apply in Northern Ireland although
there may be differences in the date when this happens.
All means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working
age will be replaced by a new Universal Credit.
Currently families with a disabled child are not expected to
claim Universal Credit in most areas. However, this is gradually
changing as the government rolls out the Universal Credit full
service to more and more job centres. In these full service areas,
a family with a disabled child will be asked to claim Universal
Credit if they have fewer than three dependent children and they
try to make a new claim for any means-tested benefit or for tax
By December 2018 the full Universal Credit service should also
apply to new claims by families with fewer than three dependent
children everywhere in the country.
The government also intends to move existing claimants of
means-tested benefits and tax credits onto Universal Credit. This
is scheduled to start in July 2019, being completed by March
We concerned that many families with disabled children will be
worse off on Universal Credit over time.
Support with mortgage interest (SMI) will be turned from
a benefit into a loan
Listen to our parent adviser Jill explain changes to
support with mortgage interest
Home owners claiming certain means-tested benefits, including
income support, can get payments towards the interest on their
From April 2018, the existing SMI scheme will be scrapped and
replaced with a new scheme where any payments towards mortgage
interest made after that date will be treated as a loan rather than
as a benefit.
This is a special type of loan. Rather than a lump sum, the loan
will be made up of regular payments to your mortgage lender. This
means the total amount you will need to pay back will go up with
each payment that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
(Department of Communities in Northern Ireland) makes towards your
You will have the choice of whether you sign up for a loan or
not, but if you don't, you will stop getting any payments from the
government towards your mortgage.
If you do take up the offer of a loan, this must be repaid (with
interest) from the equity in your property when it is eventually
sold or when it is transferred to someone else. These rules will
apply to existing claimants who are already getting SMI as well as
to new claimants.
The DWP will be writing to claimants on SMI between now and
February 2018, to tell them about changes that are
In Scotland only, Carer's Allowance awards will be
brought into line with Job Seekers Allowance . This means that the
basic rate of carer's allowance in Scotland should increase from
£62.70 per week to £73.10 per week.