Belfast Telegraph

Monday 5 October 2015

The real meaning of the welfare reforms

Published 22/05/2013

A LOT of publicity has (rightly) been given to the 'bedroom tax', but this already exists for private tenants through the Local Housing Allowance.

Many people are still unaware of how many of the other 'reforms' will affect them. We were told that pensioners would not be affected, but Pension Credit will only be awarded where both of a couple are of pension age. Otherwise, both will receive the lower Universal Credit.

We were told welfare reform was to encourage people into work, but Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit (towards the costs of childcare for working parents) will, for the first time, be subject to capital limits.

If you have capital more than £16,000, you will not be eligible. If you have £6,000 in the bank, you will lose £4.35 a month of your tax credits for each £250 of your savings.

People trying to save for a deposit on a house, old age, for their children's education, or even for a car, or holiday, will be penalised.

Forms have to be filled in online all in one go, so you and your partner will have to have all the details of earnings, benefits, income, savings, housing costs and childcare costs ready to enter. After a 12-month start-up period, self-employed people will be deemed to be earning at least the equivalent of 35 hours' work a week at the minimum wage if they want any benefits.

The public is not being told of the huge effect this will have on us.



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