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Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

Information from the Department of Work and Pensions regarding changes to Housing Benefit from April 2011

From 1 April 2011 the Government plans to:

  • end the maximum £15 weekly Housing Benefit excess that some customers can receive under the Local Housing Allowance arrangements
  • remove the five bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate so that the maximum level is for a four bedroom property
  • introduce absolute caps so that Local Housing Allowance weekly rates in any area cannot exceed:
  • £250 for a one bedroom property
  • £290 for a two bedroom property
  • £340 for a three bedroom property
  • £400 for a four bedroom property
  • reduce all Local Housing Allowance rates so that about 3 in 10 properties for rent in the area should be affordable to people on Housing Benefit rather than every 5 in 10 properties as now.
  • in addition, the measure to include an additional bedroom within the size criteria where a disabled customer or their partner (with a long term health condition), has a need for overnight care that is provided by a non-resident carer will go ahead as planned from April 2011
  • non-dependant deductions will be increased over the next three years to match the level had they not been frozen since April 2001.
  • the family premium rate for a child aged less than one will be removed from 4 April 2011 for Housing Benefit customers if their rent is payable in multiples of weeks and the 1 April for Council Tax and Housing Benefit customers whose rent liability is not in multiples of weeks.
  • Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) fund will be increased by Central Government to Local Authorities but there will still only be a limited amount of funds.
  • new direct payment rules will apply from April 2011 for housing benefit customers who receive Local Housing Allowance.  The Local Authority may in some circumstances make direct payments to the landlord where the relevant authority considers it will assist the customer in securing or retaining a tenancy.

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