The biggest shake up of the UK benefits system in over 30 years is well underway. So this is the first of a regular series of ‘benefit specials’ for What’s new, rounding up all the latest news and advice on benefit changes from Contact a Family. The changes outlined are expected to apply across the UK but their introduction is likely to be delayed in Northern Ireland.
Personal independence payment (PIP) is here.
PIP is a new disability benefit replacing disability living allowance (DLA) for adult claimants. Anyone aged 16 or above who is making a new claim, now has to apply for PIP instead of DLA. From October PIP will also start to apply to existing DLA claimants. Read our full article in our bulletin.
Consultation on the ‘moving around’ activity used in PIP.
This follows the granting of a judicial review of the Department for Work and Pensions’ failure to consult on its plans to introduce a more stringent test of a claimant’s ability to walk. The deadline for responding to this consultation is 5 August. Read our full article in our bulletin.Benefit cap is introduced nationally.
Under the new benefit cap the government will limit the total amount that an out of work family can receive in certain benefits. This will be £500 per week for couples and lone parents and £350 per week for single people. However it is important to remember that you are exempt from the cap if you, your partner or a dependent child is getting DLA or PIP. This is another reason why families with a disabled child should consider claiming DLA if they have not already done so. Read our full article in our bulletin.
Council tax discounts for carers extended
The government has extended eligibility for a council tax discount in England and Wales to those carers looking after someone living with them on DLA middle rate care or any rate of the daily living component of PIP. Read our full article in our bulletin.
Continuing tax credit payments for a 16 year old staying in education
The Tax Credits Office always assumes that a 16 year old will be a summer school leaver. If your child is staying in education after the age of 16 you need to click here for further information. Read our full article in our bulletin.
Deadline for tax credit renewals
If a parent has been sent a tax credits annual declaration form they must normally respond by 31 July. If they don’t their tax credit payments are likely to stop. Read our full article in our bulletin.
Decision on bedroom tax judicial review
Despite the victory for disabled children and the bedroom tax, it has still not been agreed to allow an extra bedroom where this is needed for other reasons connected to a child’s disability, for example, where a room is needed to store equipment or for an overnight carer for a child. A high court decision is expected soon on a judicial review. Check our website as further changes are announced. Read our full article in our bulletin.
Children in hospital and Motability cars
The government has scrapped rules that allowed DLA mobility payments to continue in hospital indefinitely. However they recently announced that Motability will delay recovering a car for a short period of up to 28 days after the DLA payments have stopped and that Motability also has the discretion to defer the return of a car for a longer period on a ‘case by case basis’. Read our full article in our bulletin.
‘Looked after’ children and universal credit.
Recent correspondence between Contact a Family and the DWP has confirmed that under universal credit, no payments will be made for a child who is living away from home and who has ‘looked after’ status. Parents who have a disabled child with looked after status and who is in either residential care or residential school can contact our free Helpline for further advice about how this is likely to affect them. Read our full article in our bulletin.
Further benefit cuts announced – keep in touch with Contact a Family
In June’s spending round statement the chancellor announced further future benefit cuts.Families with a disabled child looking for advice on any aspect of the benefits system can call Contact a Family’s free helpline on 0808 808 3555 or email us or look on our Facebook page. Thanks to funding from the Big Lottery, we are now able to offer families in England more in-depth advice over the telephone than before. This includes advice on issues such as benefits on moving into work, forthcoming welfare reforms and benefit options when a child turns 16. Read our full article in our bulletin.
Other Contact a Family news
- Two out of three families feel they have no control over education, health and social care for their child in England. Read more.
- Find out about our Radio 4 appeal in October. Read more.
- Contact a Family is looking for runners doing the Great North Run. Read more
- Our helpline praised in the House of Lords. Read more
- The carers, family and friends section of our website has been relaunched to include top tips to handle stress. Find out more.
- Packed with the latest news, policy and parents’ stories, the summer edition of Connected is out now! Latest issue of Connected out now.
New and updated information guides for parents
Our latest newsletter for professionals
The latest issue of our newsletter for professionals working with disabled children and their families is also online now.