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The Welfare Reform Act 2012 has brought major changes to the benefits system, particularly for people of working age. It is mainly aimed at reforming the benefits system for people of working age, but some of the changes will affect older people too.
Universal Credit will replace certain benefits for people of working age, including:
Universal Credit is being gradually rolled out nationally from October 2013. If you are in later life, you may be affected if:
By ‘Pension Credit age’, we mean the age at which you are eligible to claim it. You don’t actually have to be claiming it. This age is gradually increasing at the same pace as women’s State Pension age.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has been introduced, and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will be phased out. PIP replaces DLA for people of working age who are disabled or have long-term health conditions.
‘Working age’ means below 65, but this age will rise as State Pension age rises. When someone receiving PIP reaches 65, they will be able to keep claiming it as long as they still meet the criteria for it.
PIP has two components: mobility and daily living. Each of these components has two rates of payment, depending on the level of the claimant's ability to carry out daily living and mobility activities.
If you currently get DLA you may be reassessed for PIP. If you were under 65 on 8 April 2013, you will be reassessed for PIP at some point after October 2013. The government has not yet decided whether to reassess people who were over 65 on 8 April 2013 and getting DLA.
Council Tax Benefit has been abolished and replaced with local support schemes. Local authorities in England receive funding to help people pay Council Tax. Scotland and Wales have their own local schemes.
The Government has said current and future pensioners in England should receive the same level of support under the new schemes as before. Support for people of working age is likely to be reduced.
If you’re under Pension Credit age and you rent a property in the social housing sector, you will get less help with your rent after April 2013, if you are considered to have more bedrooms than required (this has been dubbed the 'bedroom tax' by the media).
As explained above, under Universal Credit you will be treated as ‘working age’ if you are a pensioner, but have a younger partner - so some pensioners may be affected by this in the future.
There is now a limit on the total amount of benefits you can receive if you're of working age. It is linked to the average earnings of a working household. It is £350 a week for single adults and £500 a week for couples and lone parents. The cap mainly affects people who are under Pension Credit age but may also affect you if you are over that age in certain circumstances: if you or your partner are claiming Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance; or your partner is claiming Universal Credit.
The cap will not apply to you if you receive Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Working Tax Credit, ESA support component or war widow’s pension. Initially the cap is being administered through reductions in Housing Benefit, but in future any deduction will be made through Universal Credit.
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If you look after your partner, or a relative or friend who needs help because they are ill or disabled, then you are a carer and may be entitled to Carer's Allowance.
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PDF stands for ‘portable document format’.
Most downloads on this website are PDFs. We use this format to ensure that the document looks the same on everyone’s computer (website pages, by contrast, appear differently depending on how people have set their computer up).
Computers use a program called Adobe Acrobat Reader to download PDFs. If you try clicking on a link to download a PDF and it doesn’t work, you will need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader onto your computer.
The process is quite straightforward and is free.
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We have made every effort to make our PDFs accessible to screen readers. Please ensure that you have downloaded the latest version of Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Reader website to ensure that accessibility options are included in your version of the programme.
You can use Adobe Reader to read a PDF out loud with the following shortcut keys:
You can convert a PDF document into a text file for use with other software and hardware such as Braille printers by opening the PDF and choosing ‘Save as text’ from the File menu.
We are grateful for the generous support of Dr Naim Dangoor CBE and The Exilarch's Foundation
Age UK, Tavis House, 1-6 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9NA. Registered charity number 1128267. Company number 6825798. © Age UK Group and/or its National Partners (Age NI, Age Scotland and Age Cymru) 2013. All Rights Reserved
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