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LGBP Ltd
Getting benefits right

News

October 2017

Latest Versions

The latest version of the Quick Benefits Calculator is 21.10 (October 2017).

The latest version of the Lisson Grove Benefits Program is 7.61 (June 2017)

October 2016

Quick Benefits Calculator and Lisson Grove Benefits program have been updated to reflect the introduction of the reduced benefit cap from November.

April 2016

All our programs are updated for April 2016. This includes the new benefits and tax credits rates and changes to Council Tax Reduction schemes for 2016/17. There are also several change to the benefits system:

  • Most claimants who reach pension age on or after 6th April 2016 will be unable to claim savings credit. Note that there is no restriction on making new claims for savings credit by claimants who reached pension age before 6th April. This includes some women who have an underlying right to savings credit, because they have reached pension age, but are not currently old enough to claim.
  • The end of family premium for new housing benefit claims from 1st May
  • The year-on-year income disregard for Tax Credits falls to 2,500.
  • Universal credit work allowances are abolished for some claimants and cut for the rest.
  • Up to 85% of child-care costs can be paid as part of universal credit.
  • Working age owner-occupiers making a benefit claim after 5th April will have to wait 39 weeks or nine assessment periods to receive support for mortgage interest.

April 2015

All our programs are updated for April 2015. This includes the new benefits and tax credits rates and changes to Council Tax Reduction schemes for 2015/16.

April 2013 - December 2014

All our programs are updated for April 2013. This includes the new benefits and tax credits rates and major changes to benefits from April 2013 including :

  • Council tax support localization (replacing council tax benefit)
  • Personal independence payment (PIP) starts to replace disability living allowance (DLA)
  • Social sector under-occupation rules (bedroom tax) apply to housing benefit from 8 April.
  • Benefits cap (affecting housing benefit) roll-out was completed in England,Wales and Scotland by the end of September 2013

Very limited pilots of universal credit will run until October 2013 having started with part of Tameside from 29 April and now joined by parts of Oldham, Warrington and Wigan. Quick Benefits Calculator has included universal credit calculations from April 2013.

April 2012

All our programs are updated for April 2012. This includes the new benefits and tax credits rates and many significant changes to the operation of tax credits from 6 April 2012 including :

  • abolition of 50 plus element
  • abolition of second threshold and taper
  • a new 2,500 disregard of falls in income (meaning that tax credits might not go up when income falls)
  • a new requirement for couples with children to work 24 hours in aggregate (subject to certain exceptions) in order to qualify for working tax credit

The programs have also been updated to reflect the 365 limit on contributory ESA (affecting claimants who are not in the support group) from 1 May 2012.

April 2011

All our programs are updated for April. This includes the new benefits and tax credits rates and many significant changes to the operation of tax credits and housing benefit.

April 2010

All our programs are updated for April. This includes the new benefits and tax credits rates and also:

  • the beginning of pension age equalization
  • the full disregard of child maintenance from all means tested benefits
  • the new permitted work disregards in housing and council tax benefit

January 2010: Cold weather payments

These are flat-rate payments of 25.00 for any 'period of cold weather.' This means 7 consecutive days where the average temperature is at or below zero degrees centigrade, or is forecast to be, at a specified weather station linked to the claimant's postcode. One payment is made for each period of cold weather.

To qualify, claimants must be receiving:

  • state pension credit; or
  • income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance - where the applicable amount includes a disability premium, pensioner premium, enhanced disability premium or disabled child premium; or
  • income support, income related employment and support allowance, or income-based jobseeker's allowance, where the claimant's family includes a child aged under five; or
  • income support, income related employment and support allowance, or income-based jobseeker's allowance where the claimant receives the disability element of child tax credit
  • income-related employment and support allowance, where the claimant receives a work related activity component or support component; or
  • income-related employment and support allowance, where the claimant has an enhanced disability premium or severe disability premium in their applicable amount.

Cold weather payments should be paid automatically.

ESA and Cold weather payments

Many employment and support allowance claimants have not been awarded their components within the 13 week time frame. DWP have confirmed that claimants who miss out on a cold weather payment because their component has not been awarded should receive manual backdated payments once their component comes into effect.

The payment cannot be made to claimants in residential or nursing care.

These payments are separate to the Winter fuel allowance paid to pensioners.

November 2009 - Disregard of Child Benefit in Housing and Council Tax Benefit for Working Age Claimants

From 2nd November 2009, child benefit will be fully disregarded when calculating housing and council tax benefit for working age claimants, single claimants aged under 60 and claiming couples where the older partner is aged under 60.

This change will affect families on a low to medium income who do not qualify for income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance or income-related employment and support allowance. These families are subject to a separate means test for housing and council tax benefit. Once their assessed income is greater than a certain amount, they lose 0.20 in council tax for each pound of excess and 0.65 in housing benefit. This means that once the child benefit is disregarded, claimants who pay both rent and council tax may see an increase in income of up to 85% of their child benefit payments.

Who benefits?

  • Families who already receive some housing or council tax benefit, but whose benefit is currently reduced because of their income
  • Families whose income is currently too high for them to receive council tax benefit or housing benefit, who will become entitled to either or both these benefits once their child benefit is disregarded
  • Many parents taking up full time work will have a more favourable better off comparison as less benefit is clawed back once work begins. Unlike temporary incentive payments such as the in-work and return to work credits, the resulting increases in housing and council tax benefit will be indefinite.

Who doesn't benefit?

  • Claimants aged 60 or more, and claiming couples where the older partner is aged 60 or more. Child benefit is already fully disregarded in such claims.
  • Claimants who receive income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance or income-related employment and support allowance - these claimants do not face a further means test for housing or council tax benefit
  • Claimants whose income is too high to claim benefit even when the new disregard applies. But claimants with high child care costs may benefit even if their earnings are quite high.
  • Claimants whose income so is low that they already receive the maximum amounts of council tax benefit and housing benefit
  • Owner occupiers will generally only benefit from increased council tax benefit

Maximum resulting increase in benefit

Number of childrenHousing Benefit onlyCouncil Tax Benefit onlyHousing and Council Tax Benefit
One child13.004.0017.00
Two children21.586.6428.22
Three children30.169.2839.44
Four children38.7411.9250.66
Five children47.3214.5661.88

The maximum increases in benefit will generally be achieved by claimants whose benefit is partially tapered away both before and after their child benefit is disregarded.

November 2009 changes to tariff income threshold for pension age claimants

Claimants are assumed to have income from their savings, and this income counts against the means tested benefits. Income below the so-called tariff income threshold is ignored. For pension credit claims, and claims for housing and council tax benefit where the claimant or at least one partner is aged 60 or more, the tariff income threshold rises from 6,000 to 10,000 on 2nd November 2009. As tariff income for this older claimants is calculated as being 1/week per 500.00 of of savings over the threshold, this can make a difference of up to 8.00 in the tariff income figure. This can have varied effects on benefits entitlement:

  • Some claimants will receive an increase in pension credit guarantee credit, or become entitled to it for the first time. Some claimants who only fail to receive guarantee credit because of the assumed tariff income will see very high increases in benefit. This is because there is no upper capital limit for guarantee credit, and receiving any amount of guarantee credit automatically passports the claimant to maximum housing and council tax benefit
  • Where claimants become entitled to the guarantee credit for the first time, they will then automatically qualify for maximum council tax benefit and housing benefit.
  • Some claimants will receive an increase in pension credit savings credit - if less of their income is clawed back
  • Some claimants will receive less in savings credit, usually these claimants will gain more in guarantee credit than they lose in pension credit
  • Claimants who do not qualify for pension credit may receive increased amounts of housing or council tax benefit, or qualify for one or both of these benefits for the first time

October 2009 changes to Minimum Wage and Permitted Work limit

From 1st October 2009 the minimum wage will be:

  • 5.80 per hour for workers aged 22 or more - an increase of sevenpence per hour
  • 4.83 per hour for workers aged 18 - 21 - an increase of sixpence per hour
  • 3.57 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17 - an increase of fourpence per hour

The permitted work limit for therepeutic earnings rises from 92.00 to 93.00, also from 1st October.

April 2009 benefits up-rating

New programs have been issued to continuing subscribers.

Pre-Budget Report: Housing Costs

All our programs have been updated to reflect the changes to the treatment of housing costs in the means-tested benefits announced in the Pre-Budget Report.

  • for working-age claimants, benefit can be paid on loans up to 200,000, rather than the 100,000 limit previously applied to most claims
  • claimants under 60 must wait 13 rather than 39 weeks for benefit.
  • for new claimants only, housing costs paid as part of income-based jobseeker's allowance will end after two years.

Employment and Support Allowance

Our programs are fully updated to reflect the introduction of Employment and Support allowance.

Local Housing Allowance

Our benefits programs have been updated to reflect the introduction of the Local Housing Allowance. The programs will calculate the room requirement and request the relevant local housing allowance figure. Local housing allowance figures are available from the rent service website. We hope to have our own local housing allowance server operational shortly. Assuming availability of the raw data from the Rent Service, this will allow customers to look up local housing allowance figures from within the programs.