Benefit Changes 2015
The following benefit changes are set to take place from April 2015, some may be subject to change or approval.
From April the amount you can earn and still be entitled to Carer's Allowance has been increased to £110 per week.
Maternity Allowance - self employed
From April 6 the majority of self-employed people will pay their Class 2 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) through Self Assessment. However, if you are expecting a baby on or after 12 July, in order to qualify for the standard rate of Maternity Allowance, your Class 2 NICs may need to be paid before the Self Assessment filing date. If you don't have the required NICs to qualify for the standard rate when you make a claim for Maternity Allowance, HMRC will send you a Class 2 NICs payment request to cover the number of weeks that need to be paid in order to qualify.
Support for Mortgage Interest
The help you can get with the interest on your mortgage or other home purchase loan if you receive income based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Pension Credit, will be based on a set rate of 3.12% from 6 July. This is down from 3.63%
To find out about the changes announced in the chancellor's summer budget on 8 July see our Benefit Changes - July Budget 2015 page
State Pension top up
From October 12 2015 through to April 1 2017, anyone who is to reach state pension age before April 2016 can choose to purchase up to £25 per week extra state pension via a new class of voluntary national insurance contribution.
For a 65 year-old, each additional £1 a week in state pension will cost £890. The maximum top-up of £25 a week will cost £22,250. This scheme is intended to help those who will lose out when the new single tier pension is introduced in April 2016 but it will not benefit everyone, to check what return you could expect for your investment an online calculator is available at gov.uk/state-pension-topup.