Welfare reform

Changes to welfare benefits

The biggest changes to the benefits system in over 60 years are happening.  Many people, organisations and businesses will be affected.

This work has already begun.  The changes are being phased in, and it is expected that everyone receiving benefits will experience some change during the next few years.

Universal Credit

One of the biggest changes will be that a single payment called Universal Credit will replace lots of existing benefits for people of working age.  It will replace:

  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit


Universal Credit is being introduced in some areas of England from April 2013.  However it is likely to be 2017 before all claimants have been moved over to Universal Credit.  The Department for Works and Pensions will write to claimants when they are due to transfer to Universal Credit.

As having a bank account will be necessary, you can find some useful links at the bottom of this page that can direct you to pages providing information on getting a bank account.

Housing Benefit

Changes to Housing Benefit for tenants are already underway.  How much you receive depends on your income and circumstances.

The under occupation reduction applies to working age housing benefit claimants from 1 April 2013.

Council Tax Reduction

Council Tax Benefit was replaced by a Council Tax Reduction Scheme on 1 April 2013.  The rules for the new scheme have been set by the Scottish Government and have very similar rules to the council tax benefit scheme.

Disability Living Allowance

During 2013 Disability Living Allowance (DLA) was replaced by a Personal Independence Payment (PIP).  A medical test will be introduced as part of the assessment process.  All existing DLA working age claimants will be reassessed.  If you receive DLA the Department of Work and Pensions will contact you about this.

Benefit Cap

This will be applied to affected claimants through a reduction in their Housing Benefit award from September 2013.

Social Fund Scheme

From April 2013 a new scheme called The Scottish Welfare Fund replaces community care grants and crisis loans which were previously paid out by the Department for Works and Pensions(DWP).

Applying for a Crisis or Community Care grant

Please download the application form.  If you have difficulties in completing your application, you can receive assistance by calling us on: 01786 233210.

Completed application forms can be sent to us by:

  • Email
  • Hand delivery or posted to:
    Customer First,
    Port Street,
    Stirling
    FK8 2EJ 

Other changes

Stirling Council will be reviewing its policies on a range of issues including:

  • Private Sector Housing Grants
  • Free school meals
  • School clothing grants
  • Blue badges
  • Transport cards
  • Road tax exemptions
  • Leisure service concessions
  • Disabled adaptations
  • Garden maintenance
  • Refuse bin pull-out
  • Special uplifts

Current arrangements will continue until the Scottish Government make legislative changes.  We will give more information and guidance about this as soon as we can.

Help with managing your money

There are steps you can take now to help you manage your money.  We can give information, advice and support.  Call in at Customer First Stirling or contact Stirling Council Advice Services on 01786 442460.

Other useful links