St Leger Homes of Doncaster
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Welfare Reform & other changes

The Welfare Reform Act changed the way benefits are paid and how they are worked out.

The main features are:

  • Universal Credit which is gradually replacing working age benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment & Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. This change only affects working age applicants
  • The spare bedroom deduction which reduces the amount of Housing Benefit for working age people who are treated as having more bedrooms than they need
  • The Benefit Cap which limits the amount of benefit a household can receive to that of the average salary of a working age family

The Welfare & Work Act and Housing & Planning Act has introduced more changes which are detailed on this timeline:

April 2016

  • The maximum period Housing Benefit can be backdated reduced from six months to one month for working age people and three months for pension age people 
  • Removal of the Housing Benefit Family Premium for new claims to Housing Benefit

July 2016

  • From 28 July 2016 temporary absence rules for Housing Benefit and Pension Credit reduced from 13 weeks to 4 weeks for people outside Great Britain to bring in-line with Universal Credit 

November 2016

  • The benefit cap reduced to £20,000 per year for couples and lone parents and £13,400 per year for single people with no children. This change only affects working age applicants 

April 2017

  • Families claiming Universal Credit will be required to seek work once the youngest child reaches 3 years old or benefits will be reduced  
  • Families claiming Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits with two or more children will receive no further income for additional children born after April 2017

October 2017

Universal Credit Full Service went live in Doncaster. All new claims for any of the following benefits (unless there are 3 or more dependent children) will need to claim Universal Credit:

  • Jobseekers Allowance (income based) 
  • Employment Support Allowance (income related)
  • Income Support 
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

January 2018

  • 100% advances offered to anyone making a new claim for Universal Credit. This is recovered from ongoing Universal Credit over 12 months
  • Universal Credit claimants can request their housing costs to be paid directly to their landlord if not doing so would put the tenancy at risk

February 2018

  • All new claims from February 2018 are no longer subject to the 7 waiting days

April 2018

  • Anyone claiming Housing Benefit who moves onto Universal Credit will get a run on of their Housing Benefit for two weeks 
  • Rent charge reduced by 1% for 3rd year running
  • New claims for customers in supported temporary accommodation will claim help with housing costs through Housing Benefits

January 2019

  • Closure of the Severe Disability Premium gateway for Universal Credit. This means any new claims where the claimant is eligible for a Severe Disability Premium will not claim Universal Credit

February 2019

  • Universal Credit opened up to new claims from families with 3 or more children 

April 2019

  • Universal Credit claimants will benefit from a £1,000 increase in work allowances. Working parents and people with disabilities on UC will be up to £630 better off every year as a result of this change

 May 2019

  • Mixed age couples (i.e. where one member of the couple is of pensionable age and the other is working age) will no longer be able to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit from 15 May 2019. As a result, mixed age couples must claim Universal Credit from from this date. Universal Credit is usually less than Pension Credit and size criteria could apply. As Pension Credit can be backdated three months, claimants can still make a claim for Pension Credit up to 14 August 2019, as long as both the start date for the claim and one of the claimants reached pensionable age prior to 15 May 2019.

If you wish discuss any of these changes and how they may affect you, call the Financial Inclusion team on 01302 736355 or email




St Leger Court
White Rose Way
Tel: 01302 862862
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