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Welfare reforms - changes to benefits

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The government is making changing to the benefits system and we want to help you be ready if you're going to be affected by these changes. 

The Department for Work and Pensions is making changes to who is entitled for help with housing costs

From 1 April 2017, single, unemployed 18-21 year olds making new Universal Credit claims in digital service areas will not be entitled to help with housing costs unless they fall into one of the exempt groups. These include:

  • those with dependent children
  • care leavers
  • those in temporary accommodation
  • people unable to live with their parents
  • young people who have been working for the previous 6 months

This will not affect supported housing until 2019.

Rochdale is expected to become a digital service area in February 2018. This means there will be a Universal Credit full service with online accounts. Find out more about Universal Credit full service

Read the full regulations on the Government's website (pdf)

2 child limit for Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Universal Credit

From 6 April 2017 support provided will be limited to 2 children. Any more than 2 children (for example, the third child onwards) will not be eligible for support. You should call benefit support help lines for information about your individual circumstances. Get contact details to make or change a claim

What other benefits are changing and when?

  • The Benefit Cap - the total amount of benefit you can receive is reducing again. From Monday 7 November 2016 there is a further reduction in the Benefit Cap for existing capped claimants. From Monday 12​ December 2016 the new cap applies to anyone new to the Benefit Cap.
  • Housing Benefit - from April 2016 there are a number of changes to this benefit, including how long this benefit can be backdated and no Family Premium for new claims.
  • ​​From April 2019 Housing Benefit will be moving to the Local Housing Allowance rate. This will affect all tenancies signed from April 2016. If you’re on Universal Credit, Local Housing Allowance rates will apply to all new and existing tenants from April 2019.
  • Universal Credit - from April 2016 the amount of Universal Credit you receive gradually reduces as you earn more money, but unlike Job Seekers Allowance your payment won't just stop.

Who will be affected?

It's difficult to say exactly who will be affected and how. People living in social and privately-rented accommodation could be affected by changes to Housing Benefit. Large families could be among the worst affected in the borough of Rochdale.

What if I'm affected and what can I do?

If you're affected you'll be contacted by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), who will explain what's happening. You could also:

  • Find work to increase your income.
  • Consider training to improve your skills and job prospects.
  • Open a bank or credit union account to manage your money and receive benefits in future such as Universal Credit.
  • Contact an advice agency if you need help managing your money or any debts.
  • Save money by budgeting and reducing your household bills.

Where to get help

Contact the DWP or advice agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, Money Advice Service and National Debt Helpline.

Other agencies that may be able to help.

Practitioner's guide​

The practitioner's guide explains the benefit changes in more detail.

​​Details of the benefit changes (866kb pdf)​​


0300 303 8870

Postal address
Revenues and Benefits Service
PO Box 490
Rochdale OL16 9AJ