Welfare News - Heating, Mortgage and Welfare Changes

29th July 2015

Keep you heating bills down…. 

Did you know that there are a number of government funded schemes which provide assistance with measures to keep your house warm and reduce your heating bills e.g. loft insulation; cavity wall insulation; hot water cylinder jacket, energy saving light bulbs etc.

Those eligible include:

  • single person household with gross income of less than £25,000 OR

  • couple or single parent family with an income of less than £30,000 gross OR

  • if over 65 years, single person household or couple with income of less than £35,000.

Tel. Annette at 028 37511599 for more information and a list of schemes. 

Cuts to assistance with Mortgage Interest for means tested benefit claimants

From 6 July 2015 support for mortgage interest is calculated at a reduced rate of 3.12% - which may cause a shortfall for some benefit claimants.

From the 1 April 2016, new claimants of means tested benefits who have a mortgage will have to wait 39 weeks before they will be eligible for assistance with mortgage interest, but the capital limit will be maintained at the higher level of £200,000. From April 2018, mortgage interest payments will be paid as a loan. Loans will be repaid upon sale of the house, or when claimants return to work. If you currently working, you may wish to take out a mortgage protection policy now in case you lose your job through sickness or redundancy. 

Some of the welfare changes included in the budget…

National Minimum Wage – From April 2016, a new National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for the over 25s will be introduced.

The tax-free Personal Allowance – the amount people earn before they have to start paying Income Tax – will increase to £11,000 in 2016-17.

Most working-age benefits will befrozen for 4 years from April 2016.  A disappointing part of the budget.  This will apply to to Jobseekers’ Allowance; Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support; Child Benefit; applicable amounts for Housing Benefit; Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit (excluding disability elements).

Cuts to Tax Credits from rom April 2016:  Again this will affect many families who receive tax credits as there will be changes to the way Tax credits are calculated - more information will be in our next newsletter.