REDDITCH Council is encouraging residents to find out more about changes to the housing benefits system which could affect how much is paid to claimants.

The changes, which are being made in April, are the result of Welfare Reform proposals the Government plans as part of its spending review.

And although Redditch Council administers these claims, it has to follow these Government rules which set out how much and when people get paid through the benefits system.

From April, the new Government-set changes to benefits will reduce levels of housing benefit and council tax benefit payable – particularly for those in privately rented accommodation.

Councillor Michael Braley, portfolio holder for corporate management, said: “These changes could have an impact on anyone who claims either housing or council tax benefit so it is important that people take a look at what is happening so they are prepared for any changes to their payments.”

Changes include an alteration to the way housing benefit is calculated for private tenants, which may lead to a reduction in the amount paid and the removal of the five bedroom rate of housing benefit, which will mean people will only be paid the rate for up to a four bedroom house. The top-up some people receive above their rent charge will also be phased out.

For more information on the changes and how they may have an impact on benefit payments visit the council website .

Residents can also get help and advice on any changes to benefits by calling 564050, or by visiting Customer Service Centres in Redditch Town Hall, Batchley, Woodrow or Winyates.

Help with housing issues can also be dealt with by the council’s housing options team by ringing 64252.