The Government has made major changes to the benefits and tax credits system which has affected a large number of households in Southampton. These changes could significantly cut the amount of benefit you get.

Details of these changes are still being finalised by the Government and may be subject to change. For the latest updates, visit this page and the Department for Work & Pensions website regularly.

It is important that you know how your household budget will be affected by these changes, especially if you’re already struggling to pay your bills.

For advice on managing your debt, please see our Dealing with Debt publication.

From April 2016, most working-age benefits will be frozen for four years.

This includes: Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Benefit, Tax Credits (excluding disability elements) and applicable amounts for Housing Benefit. Disability Benefits (Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance); Maternity Benefits; Statutory Sick Pay and Employment; and Support Allowance (Support Group only) are excluded and will continue to be uprated in the normal way in line with the Consumer Price Index.

However, in September 2015 the Consumer Price Index fell, so benefits will not be increased in April 2016.

Learn how benefit changes affect each of the following:

Visit Southampton Information Directory for resources and advice on adult benefits and families benefits.

How will these changes affect those who receive State Pension Credit?

Pensioner benefits are excluded from the freeze and will be protected by the ‘triple lock’. If you or your partner are over the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, you will not be affected by the majority of changes.

Visit calculate your state pension to find out when you will reach the qualifying age for State Pension Credit.

Check your benefits entitlement

The Turn2us benefits calculator may help you to check you benefits entitlement if you are:

  • unemployed and looking for work

  • in work and on a low income

  • bringing up children

  • ill or have a disability

  • care for someone

  • retired.

Community resources

If you need further advice on budgeting or dealing with debt contact the council’s Welfare Rights & Money Advice service, or visit our useful contacts page.

Citizens Advice Southampton, an independent charity, offers free, independent, impartial advice to the people of Southampton.

To find online advice in Southampton, visit the Advice Southampton website.

Citizens Advice Bureau UK also offers useful information on benefits and tax credits for people looking for work, the personal independence payment (PIP) and the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and other benefits.