On 12th March 2012 the Welfare Reform Act was given the green light – this will be the biggest changes in the UK Welfare system over the past 60 years.
The key aim is to make the benefits and tax credit system fairer and simpler to understand and administer. For a more detailed account of the main elements of the changes,please visit the DWP website.
The changes that may affect you are:
- The introduction of Universal Credit, which will give you a single payment direct into your bank account with a proposed cap of £500.00 per week for a couple or single parent with dependant child/ren and £350.00 per week cap for a single adult person. This will replace :
- Working Tax Credit
- Bedroom tax. The reforms will cut the amount of Housing Benefit that you can get if you are deemed to have a spare bedroom in your rented home. Separated parents who share the care of their children and who have an extra bedroom to accommodate this will be unfairly penalised under the new rules as there must be a designated ‘main carer’ for the child/ren who receives the extra benefit. The cut proposed is 14% if you are deemed to have one spare bedroom and 25% if you are deemed to have two or more spare bedrooms. In cash terms this can be on average, a loss of £15.00 per week. For more information, please visit the National Housing Federation website.
If you are contemplating separation be ready for the impact of the new Welfare Reforms and make sure that consideration is given to how they may affect you and your ex partner and more importantly any children of the family.
Please remember, when considering how to deal with your separation/divorce, it will serve you, your ex partner and any children of the family to give consideration to out of Court settlements via Dispute Resolution options like, family mediation. Such options are not suitable in every case and in some circumstances, the matter should be placed before for the Court for significant issues to be determined by a Judge/Magistrates.
Research studies have shown that family disputes resolved via mediation (where the case is assessed suitable for mediation) are less acrimonious than those that are settled through the Court system. Further, decisions made by you and your ex partner by agreement are more likely to be kept as opposed to Court imposed Orders.
- Welfare reforms are not well fair for the regions (leftfootforward.org)
- Welfare: get ready for a war over benefits (guardian.co.uk)
- Put your kids on a sofa bed: Out-of-touch Tory tells separated dad his children don’t need own bedroom (mirror.co.uk)