In the second of our new series of blogs, Welfare Benefits Advisor Jen Kelly outlines how changes in benefits and the Personal Independence Payment review could affect RAF veterans and personnel.
Changes to the help you can get with the interest payments on your mortgage
Some homeowners used to get help from the government with the interest payments on their mortgage. This was called Support for Mortgage Interest and didn't have to be repaid. This help changed on 6 April and is now a loan which, if you take it, will have to be repaid.
Changes to the help you can get with your rent when you claim Universal Credit
Many tenants, who need help with their rent, will at some point have to claim Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit. It used to be the case that when Universal Credit was claimed, any Housing Benefit would immediately stop. Owing to having to wait more than a month for the first Universal Credit payment, this meant some people ended up having difficulty paying their rent during this time.
This changed on 11 April, and now Housing Benefit will continue for two weeks after a Universal Credit claim is submitted. This should make the move from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit smoother, and less people should end up having difficulty paying their rent during this time.
Changes to benefit rates
Every year in April, benefit rates are reviewed, and this sometimes means that certain benefit rates increase slightly. While this is not the case for all benefits, it is the case this year for disability benefits, carers' benefits and War Disablement Pensions. The government has produced a couple of documents which give the rates of benefits from this April, visit their website for information on benefits other than War Disablement Pensions and also their website for information on War Disablement Pensions.
In the news
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is currently under review following changes made last year.
In March 2017 changes to PIP made it more difficult for those who suffer from psychological distress to be awarded the mobility component. However, in December 2017 it was decided by the courts that these changes shouldn't have happened.
Because of this, the government will be reviewing PIP decisions made between March and December, to identify those who may be entitled to extra money from PIP now these changes are not in place anymore (and should not have been in place when the PIP decision was made).
Those affected by this review should receive a letter from the government informing them, and any extra money should be backdated.
If you have any questions about any of the above, or about benefits in general, please feel free to contact the Fund on 0800 169 2942 and ask to speak with a Welfare Benefits Advisor.