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Update on welfare changes

14 May 2013

Job CentreThere have been some major changes to the welfare system, particulalry with the introduction of Universal Credit and Council Tax benefit being abolished.

As part of the Government’s roll out of Universal Credit in pathfinder areas, Ashton-under-Lyne, Wigan, Warrington and Oldham Jobcentres will be trialing the new “Claimant Commitment”. They will take claims for Universal Credit from the beginning of July. The new Claimant Commitment means increased conditionality put on claimants as a condition of receipt of Universal Credit.

If you live in one of the pathfinder areas and are affected by the trials, please get in touch with Equity’s Tax & Welfare Rights Organisers to report back to us on your experience. These are Max Beckmann mbeckmann@equity.org.uk  or Alan Lean alean@equity.org.uk

Meanwhile, Council Tax Benefit was abolished in April 2013 and replaced by localised Council Tax Reduction Schemes. Provision of financial support for help with Council Tax liability will vary across England. Both Scotland and Wales are retaining the same levels of financial support that applied under the old Council Tax Benefit scheme.

It is highly unlikely that Equity members who were previously entitled to full or partial Council Tax Benefit will be considered to be part of the ‘deserving poor’ who should be protected under the various new schemes from having to pay Council Tax.  An initial glance suggests that those who are most likely to qualify for full or high levels of financial help under the new localised schemes will include pensioners, those with severe disabilities and families with young children.

Find out more about these changes on Equitys dedicated Welfare Changes web page.

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