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Houses

Welfare Reform

The Government is making changes to the benefits system, a process known as Welfare Reform.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit will replace many existing benefits and provide both in and out of work support for people of working-age who make a claim.

In Cornwall some people making new claims get Universal credit. In the coming months lots more will have their existing claims swapped to Universal Credit. Six benefits are included:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

Once you’ve claimed Universal Credit, any benefits that it replaces will stop and you’ll start getting Universal Credit instead. Remember, any other benefits can be claimed for as usual.

If you currently receive Housing Benefit it is usually paid directly to Coastline every four weeks, but it will be included in your Universal Credit which will be paid to you once a month. From that money you must then make rent payments to Coastline.

Universal Credit will only be paid straight into a bank account, so you must have one to receive your money. Information about bank accounts can be found lower down this page.

As there could be a delay in payments reaching you during the switch we suggest you start paying £3.70 extra per week to get your rent account into credit. This will help make sure you do not get into arrears. Contact us for more information on how this could work for you.

Take a look at the two short videos for more information on how Universal Credit will work and what you may need to do.

For more information on Universal Credit take a look at the gov.uk website.

Bank accounts

To be sure you can receive Universal Credit payments, you should open a bank account.

Accounts can sometimes be opened online, but it is often best to visit a bank to do this. Make sure you take proof of your identity and address, like a passport and utility bill.

Many banks offer what is known as a basic account which allows money to be simply paid in and out.

Coastline does not recommend any particular bank for its customers.

Spare bedrooms

From 1st April 2013 the Government reduced the amount of Housing Benefit paid to customers who are classed as having 'spare' bedrooms.

If you have one spare bedroom, any Housing Benefit will have been cut by 14% of the total rent for your home. For two or more spare bedrooms it will have been reduced by 25% of the total rent.

The rules mean you are allocated one bedroom for:

  • Every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any two children aged under 10
  • Any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
  • Children who cannot share because of a disability or medical condition
  • A carer (or team of carers) providing overnight care

Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces are not counted as spare if they are away and intend to return home. You may also be entitled to additional bedrooms if you have recently suffered bereavement in the household.

The rules apply even if:

  • You and your partner need to sleep apart because of a medical condition
  • The main residence of your children is another address, but you have a spare room for when they stay with you

For more information on Housing Benefit take a look at the gov.uk website, or Cornwall Council's benefits pages.

National Housing Federation booklet

This organisation has published a booklet with helpful information on Welfare Reform. You can download a copy below.

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