Glossary of Terms

This page contains definitions of some of the terms used throughout the Welfare Reform pages on this site.

There are descriptions of many types of welfare benefit and terms that relate to them.

Glossary of Terms: A - C

Glossary of Terms: A - C
Bedroom Tax (under occupation) An amount taken off your Housing Benefit if the government believes you have too many bedrooms. The amount is 14% of your rent if you have one extra bedroom; 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms. Does not affect people of Pension Credit age.
Benefits Cap An upper limit on total benefits received if you (and your partner) are under Pension Credit Age. The excess is taken off your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Families receiving certain benefits (eg Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Working Tax Credit) are not affected.
Carer's Allowance A benefit for people caring for a disabled person who is getting Attendance Allowance, or Disability Living Allowance (mid or high rate care component) or Personal Independence Payment (daily living component)
Child Benefit Child Benefit is paid to an adult responsible for a child. It is paid until the child reaches 16, or up to their 20th birthday if in non-advanced education / training.
Child Tax Credit Child Tax Credit can be claimed by families with children, on a low to moderate income. It is paid until the child reaches 16, or up to their 20th birthday if in non-advanced education / training.
Conditionality The conditions you have to keep to in order to claim certain benefits: Universal Credit, Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment & Support Allowance (unless in the support group). You will be told what you need to do to keep being paid the benefit - for example look for work, attend the Job Centre regularly, etc. If you don’t, you can lose benefit (i.e be sanctioned.)
Council Tax Support Council Tax Support is a scheme run by the local council for people on a low income, to help them pay their council tax bill. Most people under Pension Credit age now have to pay something towards their bill.

 

Glossary of Terms: D - G

Glossary of Terms: D - G
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Disability Living Allowance is a tax-free benefit for disabled children and adults* to help them pay for the extra costs they may have because they are disabled. There is a care component for help with daily living; and a mobility component to help with getting around.

*People over 16 making a new claim now have to claim Personal Independence Payment instead.
Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) You can ask the local council for a short term payment if you are struggling to pay your full rent, whether you are on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. Help with other housing costs can sometimes be given (eg removal costs) but the local council has a very limited budget.
Employment - Full time This definition varies depending on the benefit – it could mean 16 hours, 24 hours, or 30 hours a week.
Employment - Part time Generally means less than 16 hours a week – but see above.
Employment and Support Allowance (contributory) Employment and Support Allowance provides financial help to people who are unable to work because of illness or disability. Contributory ESA is paid to an individual who has paid enough NI contributions and has been gradually replacing Incapacity Benefit since 2008. Most claimants are placed in the Work Related Activity Group which has conditionality (see above) only paid for 12 months, some in the Support Group – no conditionality.
Employment and Support Allowance (income-related) Employment and Support Allowance provides financial help to people who are unable to work because of illness or disability. Most claimants are placed the Work Related Activity Group which has conditionality (see above), some in the Support Group – no conditionality.

Glossary of Terms: H - N

Glossary of Terms: H - N
HMRC HM Revenue & Customs. Formerly Inland Revenue. Responsible for taxes, Child Benefit and Tax Credits.
Household In benefit terms, ‘household’ usually means a single person or couple plus any children/young people you get Child Benefit for. It does not include other people who live with you, such as grandparents, friends or grown-up children.
Housing Benefit A benefit for people on a low to moderate income to help them pay their rent and some service charges. It is available to people in work as well as those out of work.
Income Support A means-tested (top-up) benefit available to those on a low income who are either a full time carer or a single parent with a child under 5.
Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based) (JSA) A means-tested (top-up) benefit for people or families who are available for and actively seeking work. Can be paid if you don’t qualify for Contribution Based JSA or as a top up to Contribution Based JSA, for example if you are in a couple. You can lose this benefit if you don’t keep to the agreed conditions.

Jobseeker's Allowance (Contribution Based JSA)

A benefit for people who are available for and actively seeking work. Depends on National Insurance contributions and is paid to the individual, not means tested and only lasts 6 months. You can lose this benefit if you don’t keep to the agreed conditions.
Lone parent Parent or guardian with a dependent child; not living with or married to a partner. Lone parents with a child under 5 years old can claim Income Support instead of Jobseeker's Allowance.
Non-dependant Deduction Money taken off your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and / or Council Tax Support because an independent adult over the age of 18 (21 for Universal Credit) lives with you. Various rates - note the highest rate is taken if you don’t provide the local council with details of the non-dependant’s income / circumstances.

Glossary of Terms: O - Z

Glossary of Terms: O - Z
Partner The partner or spouse of a main claimant
Pension Credit Age Pension Credit age is the age at which you might qualify for Pension Credit. The qualifying age is gradually increasing by one month every two months and will be age 66 by 2020. For example if you were at least 61 and a half years on April 2013 you are Pension Credit age, but in April 2014 you have to be aged 62 to be PC age.
To check your PC age go to http://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) A benefit for people who, because of disability, need help with daily living and/or or getting around. It has replaced all new claims to Disability Living Allowance for people over 16. People who are currently on Disability Living Allowance who were under 65 on 8th April 2013 will over time be asked to claim Personal Independence payment.
Sanction A sanction means money taken off certain benefits – or the benefit not being paid at all – for a period of time. The benefits that could be sanctioned are Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment & Support Allowance or Universal Credit. Sanctions are applied when the claimant doesn't keep to their conditionality but can be appealed; some can get hardship payments. These are made at less than the full benefit rate.
Self-employed Those who work on their own account, irrespective of whether or not they have employees, in their main job. The work has to be registered with HMRC.
Universal Credit A new benefit for people under Pension Credit age, which replaces six income-related benefits: Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income Support and Income-Related Employment & Support Allowance. These are replaced by a single Universal Credit payment, paid monthly directly to the claimant. Universal Credit is being introduced very gradually.
Work Programme A single unified programme to help all unemployed people get back into work. The Work Programme provides personalised help for people who find themselves out of work, regardless of the benefit they claim.
Working Age In benefit terms you are of working age if you are between 16 and Pension Credit age (see above) which is gradually increasing.
Working Tax Credit Provides financial support on top of earnings for lone parents who usually work 16 hours or more per week, or couples with children who work more than 24 hours per week (or 16 hours where the non-worker is incapacitated, a carer, in prison or in hospital); or over 25s who work 30 hours or more a week; or over 60s who work 16 hours or more a week; or disabled workers who work 16 hours or more a week. The amount paid is dependent on annual household income.