Please keep checking this page for regular updates on changes to your benefits.
Below is a round-up of the changes that are coming from central government now, and over the coming months and years. Please note that detailed information about many of these changes is limited at present. Some may also be subject to revision later.
Prove you're a Sandwell resident - get on the electoral roll register.
The council wants to make sure the help we give goes to Sandwell people.
You need to be able to show they've been a resident of the borough for at least two years. This will apply to people making new claims for council tax help and, also, those applying for local welfare help after the Government's scrapping of the social fund.
One way of proving you're a resident is to make sure you're on the electoral roll, which records everyone registered to vote. If you haven't registered to vote, or you have changed address, download the form you need on the About My Vote website.
Welfare reform and benefit changes - advice and support
If you are getting benefits of any kind, you may be affected by Government changes.
At Sandwell Council we feel it is important to keep you up to date with these changes and provide you with all the support you need.
There are many changes to benefits happening now and in the future. They are generally called 'welfare reform.' People are concerned and want to know what they are. This page lists these big changes and issues.
You can keep up-to-date with these changes by signing up for an email bulletin on welfare reform.
In the future, you will need to apply for most new benefits online. There are a number of places you can do this without needing to own a computer.
The big benefit issues are:
- Tax Credits changes
- Child Benefit and other child and maternity changes
- Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance
- Mortgage help
- Incapacity benefits changes
- Employment and Support Allowance changes
- Pension and retirement changes
- Disability Living Allowance changes and Personal Independence Payment
- Personal Independent changes
- National Insurance
- Universal Credit
- Changes to Housing Benefit and Council Tax
- Lone Parents changes
What support is available? Some suggested dos and don'ts
Do contact your local Jobcentre Plus, which will be providing extra back-to-work support to households which might be affected by the proposed cap on household benefits. You will get early access to the Work Programme if this is appropriate.
Do contact us if it think you will be affected by the benefit cuts. We will be able to give you the appropriate advice.
Do seek advice on managing your finances if you have concerns about managing your household budget once you start to get your benefits monthly. This advice is available from organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and others.
Don't be tempted to seek short-term, high interest loans. It is unlikely they will help solve your financial problems. In fact, they are more likely to make them worse.
Do consider joining your local credit union. The Credit Union provides low-cost loans as an alternative to payday loans or doorstep lending. For example, 6 Towns Credit Union in West Bromwich is there to help people who live and work in within Sandwell to manage their finances.
Further notes on the Welfare Reform can be found here.
Important information to benefit changes
Keeping you up to date Sandwell Herald
DWP Helpline: 0845 6057 064
Citizens Advice Bureau: 0121 500 2700
Sandwell Council Benefits Team: 0845 351 0020
Sandwell Financial Services Hub: 0121 561 7935