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Benefit Changes... What’s Happening from April 2013

From April 2013 the Government is making changes to the benefits system as a result of Welfare Reform.  This means that the amount of benefit that many of you can claim may change.  We’ve listed the most important changes here:

Benefit Cap

A limit will be put on the total amount of benefit that most people aged between 16 to 64 get.  This is called a Benefit Cap.  This will be introduced between April 2013 and September 2013.

If you’re already getting benefits and will be affected by the cap you will be contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).  They will let you know what will happen to your benefits and the options open to you.

The level of the cap will be:

You won’t be affected by the Benefit Cap if you qualify for Working Tax Credits or if you get any of the following benefits:

Council Tax Benefit

The Government is abolishing Council Tax Benefit and replacing it with a new Council Tax Support Scheme called Council Tax Reduction (CTR) which means the Council will no longer be able to pay the same level of help with Council Tax as it currently does.

If you are of working age you will have your CTR worked out on 80% of what you are liable to pay.  This means you will have to pay at least 20% of your annual liability as shown on your bill.

If you are liable to pay Council Tax you can apply for CTR and it will be worked out in a similar way to how Council Tax Benefit is now.  If you are currently receiving Council Tax Benefit you will have your CTR assessed without having to reapply, unless your circumstances change.

Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age.

Disability Living Allowance

PIP has two parts to an award which are daily living and mobility.  Each of these parts has two rates, a standard rate and an enhanced rate.  If you are entitled to PIP you can receive one or both these parts.  The amount you will receive will depend on how you are affected by your condition or disability.

The Department for Work & Pensions will be reviewing all current claims for DLA between 2013 and 2016.

Under Occupancy (Bedroom Tax)

The Government is to reduce the amount of Housing Benefit paid to working age people who are living in a Registered Housing Association property and have spare bedrooms in their homes.

You are classed as under occupancy if you have more bedrooms than you need.  You need one bedroom for each of the following:

There are two rates for the reduction:

Discretionary Housing Payments

Each year your local Council receives a set amount of funding through the Discretionary Housing Payment fund from Central Government to help benefit claimants.

These payments are made to help people find cheaper, more suitable accommodation, or as a short term help due to a temporary change in their income or circumstances.  Payments can be made towards a shortfall in Housing Benefit only.  If you currently receive Housing Benefit, but still have an amount to pay each week towards your rent, you may be entitled to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

If you would like more information about any of these changes or require support at a forthcoming Benefit Medical or Appeal please contact us to discuss this with an Advocate.  We can be reached on 01642 837555 or send us an email through our Contact Page.



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