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The government has already made big changes to the welfare system and there are more to follow.
For people of working age the aim is to make the system simpler and make sure you are better off in work than on benefits.
At the same time, the government is looking to make savings. The total cost of benefits and tax credits across the country is being reduced by around £18 billion a year by 2015, compared to how things are now.
Many people will see their benefit payments go down. Find out more about the main changes to benefits this year below.
People of pension age are not affected by most of the changes. For more information on benefits for older people, visit the Age UK website.
Child benefit is being reduced for higher earners.
Child benefit information on GOV.UK.
Benefit increases lower than expected price rises
Most working age benefits are to rise by 1% for each of the next three years. This is lower than expected price rises, leaving people with less money to spend.
Housing benefit may be reduced if you are renting a council or housing association home bigger than you 'need'. This is also being called the 'bedroom tax'.
Housing benefit changes page.
The benefit cap
The government has set a new maximum amount of benefit working age people can claim. For single people, this is £350 a week and for couples or those with children living with them, it is £500 a week. The cap is due to be introduced in Bristol from 15 July and is expected to be in place for everyone affected by September this year.
Benefit cap - more information
Local crisis and prevention fund
A new local fund has replaced national crisis loans and community care grants. The fund is for emergency payments and household goods, to be awarded to those in the greatest need.
Local crisis and prevention fund page.
Local council tax reduction
A new local council tax reduction scheme has replaced the government’s national council tax benefit scheme.
Local council tax reduction page.
Employment and support allowance
This is a benefit paid to people who have an illness or a disability that affects their ability to work. It is replacing other incapacity benefits.
Employment and support allowance page.
Personal independence payment
From June, personal independence payment will start to replace disability living allowance.
Personal independence payment on GOV.UK.
New claims for disability living allowance can still be made for a few more weeks until 10 June. Many disabled people are missing out. Find out more on the disability living allowance page.
Universal credit is a new single benefits payment for people of working age. It will be introduced for new claimants in Bristol from October.
Universal credit information on GOV.UK
Benefits Briefing newsletter April 2013
Instead of using the paper forms in these documents you can use our online form to make a new benefit claim or ask for a benefit check.