Guide to benefits

Welfare reform

The Welfare Reform Act is legislation that was introduced by the government in March 2016 and marked one of the largest changes to the welfare system in more than 60 years.

The Act introduced a wide range of reforms that may affect you. The main elements of the Act are:

  • an under-occupation cap on housing benefit for working age households
  • a total benefit cap for working age households
  • a new type of payment called Universal Credit which is a single streamlined payment which combines means tested benefits (income support, jobseeker’s allowance (income-based), employment an support allowance (income-related), working tax credit, child tax credit and housing benefit) into one monthly payment.

Under Universal Credit, housing costs (currently housing benefit) are paid direct to you as the tenant, not to the landlord, so it is your responsibility to pay your rent.

Other changes that may affect you include:

  • changes to Disability Living Allowance, through the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment
  • a change to the way incapacity benefits are paid.