Changes to Existing Benefits

The UK Government is making 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. You can also find out more in the special welfare benefits issue of our Voice newsletter.

Two Child Limit

Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit will be limited if you have more than two children (from 6 April 2017). 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

Scottish Social Security

The Scottish Government has been given powers for some social security benefits. Scottish Social Security was set up in 2018 to deliver certain benefits and over recent months staff have been helping low income families across the country. Scottish Social Security will, in time, be responsible for the following benefits:

  • Ill health benefits such as DLA, PIP, Attendance Allowance and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Carers Allowance
  • Sure Start Maternity Grant
  • Funeral Payments
  • Winter fuel and cold weather payments
  • Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Limited powers on some parts of Universal Credit

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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