Ongoing benefit changes
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All new claims for means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working age have been replaced by a new Universal Credit. The only exception to this is some disabled adults who already get a payment known as the severe disability premium as part of a means-tested benefit. They are exempt from Universal Credit and can still make new claims for the old benefits that Universal Credit has replaced.
The government also intends to move existing claimants of means-tested benefits and tax credits onto Universal Credit. This will happen gradually and will start with a pilot of around 10,000 claimants from July 2019. Most existing claimants are not expected to move onto Universal Credit until some point between 2020 and 2023.
We concerned that many families with disabled children will be worse off on Universal Credit over time.
From April 2019
Universal Credit work allowances increase
If you are a Universal Credit claimant who has a dependent child, or you are treated as having a limited capability for work, part of your earnings are ignored as income for Universal Credit. This is known as your 'work allowance'.
From April the amount of your work allowance will increase by £1,000 a year, meaning that Universal Credit will be slightly more generous for some disabled workers and working parents.
From May 2019
Mixed age couples and Universal Credit
If you are a couple where one partner is at least pension credit age and the other is of working age, you can currently claim Pension Credit and other legacy benefits rather than Universal Credit. However from 15 May, any mixed age couples who try to make a new claim will have to claim Universal Credit instead. Many mixed age couples will be much worse off under Universal Credit than if they claimed under Pension Credit, so should get advice before 15/5/19.
From October 2019
Reduction in Universal Credit loan repayments
If you ask for an advance payment of Universal Credit while awaiting for your claim to start, you must pay this money back once your Universal Credit award starts. The amount that is recovered will reduce from October 2019.
- Contact our free helpline.