The Government is currently bringing in a number of changes to benefits, some of the key changes are listed below. Full details can be found here.
The minimum wage has gone up. The main wage is now £7.50, and all of the rates can be found here.
The rate for the ESA work-related activity group (WRAG) has been reduced from £102.15 to £73.10 per week for new claims made from the start of April. Previously, claimants only received £73.10 during the initial “assessment period” of around 13 weeks, and then the amount went up once they were placed in a group. Now, if placed in the WRAG, the amount will not be increased.
Child Tax Credits will no longer cover third (and subsequent) children, if they are born after 5th April. There are exceptions if the additional children are due to multiple births or rape.
In addition, Child Tax Credits will no longer include a “Family element” (i.e. an extra amount for the first child), a reduction of £545 across the year.
Bereavement payments are becoming significantly less generous for widowed parents whose spouse dies after 5th April. The widow(er) will now only receive weekly payments for 18 months. Previously, payments lasted until the earliest of the following: them reaching retirement age, them moving in with a new partner, or the youngest child no longer qualifying for child benefit. Further details here.
There have also been a number of changes to Universal Credit (including the exclusion of most under 21s from the housing element).