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You are here: Home  »  Tax/Benefits  »  Benefit Services  »  Whats New

Whats New

Updated Nov 2012
Welfare Reform Bill and the affect on the benefits system from 2013

Added August 2012
Welfare Reform Bill and the affect on the benefits system from 2013

Added May 2011
Changes to Housing Benefit for claimants in “Private Rented” accommodation who are aged under 35 years.

Added Mar 2011
LHA changes from April 2011

Added Nov 2009
Disregard of Child Benefit and increased capital limits for the elderly
Express Delivery

Added Oct 2008
Backdating Rules
Disregard of Child Maintenance
Employment and Support Allowance

Added Feb 2008
Housing benefit for tenants of private landlords and Local Housing Allowance

Added Oct 2006
Pre-Action protocol for rent arrears

Added Dec 2005
Equal Rights for Same Sex Couples

Backdating Rules

Changes to backdating rules for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit from 6 October 2008For Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claims made, or treated as made, on or after 6 October 2008, the maximum period a claim can be backdated is as follows:

 

For customers eligible to claim Pension Credit (currently aged 60 or over until 2010)

3 months

 

good cause not required

 

Pension Credit regulations amended to 3 months also.

 

For working age customers

including those aged 60- 64 and in receipt of Income Support, income based Job Seeker’s Allowance, and income related Employment and Support Allowance

6 months

 

subject to continuous good cause for not claiming earlier

 

 


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Disregard of Child Maintenance

Full disregard of child maintenance in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit effective 27 October 2008


Rules have been changed to extend the application of the child maintenance disregard to all payments of child maintenance, regardless of the source of that income. For Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Benefit (CTB) the disregard is increased from £15 per week to a full disregard.

The rules are different for those claiming Income Support, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance and income-related Employment and Support Allowance. Here the disregard of child maintenance carried out as part of the award calculation increases from £10 to £20 per week. This will be increased again to £40 per week from April 2010.

Existing HB/CTB claims will be reviewed. Letters will be issued to notify any changes to awards.

Anyone with child maintenance payments who has not applied or who has previously been refused HB/CTB should submit a claim. Telephone our benefits adviser Anne Kitchen on 01246 345480 if you want to know if you will qualify. Leave a message for a call back if she doesn’t answer.

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Employment and Support Allowance

From 27 October 2008 Employment and Support Allowance replaces Incapacity Benefit and Income Support paid on incapacity grounds for new customers.

Over 2.6 million people in Great Britain depend on incapacity benefits. The Government has introduced Employment and Support Allowance to build on the New Deal for Disabled People, and the Pathways to Work, which provide the practical support needed to help customers into work.

Employment and Support Allowance is focused on support, and people will not be forced to take a job, or undertake any other work-related activity which may be detrimental to their health.

There is evidence which shows being out of work can contribute to poor health, whereas being in work can deliver real benefits, not only financially, but in terms of people's health and well-being, their self-esteem and the future prospects for themselves and their family.

The Department for Work and Pensions website has lots more information about how people may be affected and the claim process.

Click here to find out more

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Equal Rights for Same Sex Couples

From 5th December 2005 same sex couples will be able to register a civil partnership. Civil partners will be treated equally to married couples on a wide range of legal matters, including child support, tax and most state and occupational pensions.

Cilvil partners and same sex couples who are living together as partners will also be treated as a couple for social security benefits. This includes Housing and Council Tax Benefit.

The changes to the law mean that some people claiming Housing/Council Tax Benefit as a single person will need to reclaim as a couple.

From 5th December 2005 if you are forming a civil partnership or living together as partners you must inform our Benefits section. Failure to do so may result in an overpayment of benefit.

You can call and see The Benefits Section at the Revenues Hall, New Square or phone them on 345484 or 345507.

For further information about civil partnerships click here.

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Pre-Action protocol for rent arrears

A new pre – action protocol comes into force on 2 October 2006, which is intended to encourage contact between social landlords and their tenants.

Social landlords will be expected to carry out a number of assessments and offer as much help as possible before applying for a possession order from the Courts.

Of particular relevance:

  • Where a Housing Benefit claim has been made, appropriate information has been supplied to the local authority and there is a reasonable expectation that there is entitlement, proceedings should not be started until the claim process has been exhausted. This will usually be subject to the condition that any rent not covered by Housing Benefit is being paid by the tenant.
  • Social landlords will be expected to liaise with Housing Benefit departments to check progress on the claim and establish what efforts the tenant is making to co-operate. The tenant’s consent will be needed.
  • Ten days prior to the first court hearing, the landlord must disclose to the tenant what information is known about their Housing Benefit claim.
  • Social landlords should make “every effort” to establish effective ongoing liaison with Housing Benefit departments.

The protocol is intended to streamline the current system and reduce the number of applications, adjournments that clog up the current system.

Housing Benefit departments need to have a strategy to place to deal with the new rules, both for in-house Housing and local RSL’s. If they don’t, they are in danger of being ordered by the Courts to explain why they are not co-operating with this policy

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Chesterfield Borough Council
Town Hall
Rose Hill
Chesterfield
S40 1LP

Tel: 01246 345345
Text: 07960 910264
Fax: 01246 345252

Email:
enquiries@chesterfield.gov.uk

Click here to view the location of the Town Hall

 

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