One-Year Anniversary of Welfare Reform Bill
A year ago today, the Welfare Reform Bill passed its final hurdle in the Houses of Parliament and came into force.
In order to commemorate the first anniversary of the Welfare Reform Bill, over the next four days, ELL will look at how our residents have and will be affected by these changes.
Today, we take look at how ELL residents have been affected by the “Bedroom Tax” and reveal the amount of money average households are loosing each month.
On Wednesday, we expose how many ELL residents have seen their Jobseeker’s Allowance cut as a result of the more punitive and reveal how many people have had their benefits cut.
Thursday, sees us examine the usage of Food Banks, looking at how many ELL residents have been forced to turn to food banks for support. This will include interviews with both users, volunteers and managers of food banks.
Finally on Friday, we will finish by looking at the future impact of welfare reforms, examining the amount of money ELL residents will lose in the financial year 2015/2016.
A breakdown of the reforms
Introduced extra charges for social housing residents who have a “spare” room. Under the new law, if you have one extra room, 14 per cent is taken off your housing benefit and if you have two rooms, 28 per cent is deducted. The Bill also capped housing benefit at £500 a week no matter what your situation is.
Disability Living Allowance was replaced with Personal Independence payments; making fit-for-work reassessments a lot more stringent.
A uniform benefit that will merge all six of the main means-tested benefits into a single monthly payment. The amount you are entitled to is based on your personal circumstances, for example if you are single and under 25, the maximum amount you are due is £249.28 whereas if you are a couple over 25, you are entitled to £493.95 a month.
Universal Credit has has yet to be fully implemented and won’t be completed until 2017.
Aside from the Welfare Reform Bill, the circumstances in which jobseekers can have their benefits cut have also become increasingly strict.
In 2012, the coalition government extended the circumstances in which claimants could have a sanction imposed on them. In practice, this meant that if claimants missed an interview, failed to participate in a work programme or left a job or programme without good reason, they could have their benefit stopped from anywhere between a month and three years.
This was further augmented by a decision to extend the minimum duration of a sanction from a week to a month last October. The maximum sanction was also increased to three years.