Welfare Reforms – Surgery

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Your local Councillors have aranged a surgery at Gabalfa Primary School on Monday 15th October at 2:30pm

As you may be aware, due to the Government’s Welfare Reforms, from April 2013 Council and Housing Association tenants who are of working age will no longer receive full Housing Benefit if they under-occupy their property.  Many tenants who currently get all their rent paid, will have to meet a substantial part of the rent from their other income or benefits.

We are acting now to provide early advice to those affected by the change and offering as much assistance as we can to prevent families from going into debt, and to avoid homelessness.

Detail of the changes

If a tenant is under-occupying their home, there will be a 14% restriction for one spare room and 25% for two spare rooms.

In deciding whether a tenant is under-occupying, government legislation requires that children share a room: two children of the opposite sex are expected to share a room until aged 10. Two children of the same sex are expected to share up to age 16.

2,300 council tenants will be affected by the change; of these 527 will have 2 spare rooms.  Nearly 2,000 Housing Association tenants will also be affected by the change.

Please note this change will not affect pensioners. In this case “pensioner” means those who have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit. The Government is increasing this age at present on a phased basis and so it is different for each person depending on their date of birth.

Action to help tenants

Over the coming months officers will be writing to these council tenants to advise them of the change.  These letters will start to go out shortly and you may get enquiries in your surgeries about this issue.

Tenants will be advised of their options and offered help with removal costs if they choose to move home, they will also be offered advice about letting a room in their home and about budgeting for the increased expenditure.   In a limited number of cases we may be able to provide help through Discretionary Housing Payments, however this is unlikely to be paid on an ongoing basis other than in the most exceptional cases due to the limit on this fund.  

The letter to council tenants will advise them how to get advice – by contacting Housing Enquiries on 20537111 or by attending one of the many local surgeries across the city.

Housing Associations will be contacting their tenants separately offering support and advice. Each landlord will operate their own scheme to help people to move and tenants should be encouraged to contact their Association for details. 

If you need any further information on this change please contact Jane Thomas, Operational Manager (Benefits, Finance & Tenants Services) on 20537240 or email jf.thomas@cardiff.gov.uk.

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