Changes to Existing Benefits

The UK Government continues to make major changes to the welfare system. Many of these are already underway while others are in the pipeline and will be introduced over time. In this section we'll bring you news of the latest developments as and when they happen.

Two Child Limit

Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit is now limited if you have more than two children. There are some exceptions including adoptions, multiple births, teenage parents, kinship care and non-consensual conception.

Find out more about the two child limit.

Benefit Cap

The cap limits the amount of benefits that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. The cap is set by the Government. You are not affected if:

  • you or your partner are eligible for Working Tax Credit
  • you or your partner get Universal Credit, and your household income is more than £520 a month after tax and National Insurance

The Cap is:

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re single and your children live with you
  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you’re single and you don’t have children, or your children don’t live with you

Social Security Scotland

The Scottish Government has been given powers for some social security benefits. Social Security Scotland was set up in 2018 to deliver certain benefits and staff are now helping low income families across the country. Social Security Scotland is now responsible for the following benefits:

Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment a one off payment of up to £600 from 24 weeks in pregnancy up until a baby turns 6 months for families who get certain benefits
Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment a one off payment of £250 when a child is aged between two and three and a half for families who get certain benefits
Best Start Grant School Age Payment a one off payment of £250 when a child would normally start primary one for families who get certain benefits
Best Start Foods a pre-paid card to help buy healthy food for parents on certain benefits covering pregnancy up to a child's third birthday
Carer’s Allowance Supplement an automatic payment made twice a year to people who get Carer’s Allowance through the DWP on certain dates each year
Funeral Support Payment money towards the costs of a funeral for people on qualifying benefits
Job Start Payment £250 for 16 to 24 year olds who have been on certain benefits for six months or more to help with the costs of starting a job
Young Carer Grant an annual payment of more than £300 for carers aged 16, 17 or 18 who provide at least 16 hours care a week (on average) for people who get a disability benefit from the DWP
Child Winter Heating Assistance £200 for children and young people up to the age of 18 who get  the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance for children
Scottish Child Payments £10 per week for certain low income families with a child aged under 6 years

Find out more (including how to apply)

What can I do to prepare for these changes?

If you think you might struggle to make ends meet once these changes come in, Melville has Money Advice and Welfare Benefits Advice services that can provide free help and support. You can also get independent help and advice from a number of organisations including Citizens Advice.

With the introduction of Universal Credit you will need a bank account for your benefit payments to be paid into. Find out more about opening a basic bank account.

You will need to go online to claim most benefits. Now would be an excellent time to find out more about using a computer. Please contact us if you would like to more information on our digital workshops. These workshops are free and will teach you basic computer skills.

We will keep you informed during this period of change.

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