The end of the financial year is looming and that can only mean one thing - a whole host of benefits and tax changes are on their way which could affect you.
It's no April Fool, as from the first of next month both the minimum wage and State Pension are going up and more help is being offered to people on Housing Benefit.
But it's not all good news - a benefit for homeowners on hard times is ending, while the squeeze for welfare claimants goes on, Mirror Online reports.
It can be hard to keep track of what's going on with so many changes coming in the space of just a couple of weeks, so we've rounded up some of the most significant changes in this handy guide.
Keep on reading to see how your pockets could be affected.
1. Council tax will rise by up to 6%
Date: 1 April 2018
Residents face inflation-busting council tax rises of up to 6%.
Town halls gained the power to impose a 5.99% hike, taking the cost for an average Band D property to around £1,686.
Half of that is dedicated to social care and the other half is to plug other holes in council budgets left by inflation and cuts.
Another precept, for police, can also be raised by £12 a year. This is the only way the Tories have given for police forces to get a cash boost.
You can see an estimate of how much council tax is set to rise in your area using our interactive calculator here (NB: figures calculated in mid-February).
2. The minimum wage will rise by more than 4%
Date: 1 April 2018
It's not all doom and gloom. The Tory government says its minimum wage rises will help millions of workers.
The National Living Wage (the minimum wage for over-25s) will increase by 4.4% from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour.
The minimum wage for those aged 21-24 will rise 4.7% from £7.05 to £7.38.
The minimum wage for those aged 18-20 will rise 5.4%, from £5.60 to £5.90.
For those aged 16-17 it will rise 3.7%, from £4.05 to £4.20.
And apprentice wages will rise from £3.50 to £3.70, a 5.7% leap.
3. New 'polluting' diesel cars will face higher tax
Date: 1 April 2018
A "supplement" is being added to car tax on certain new diesel vehicles that are registered after 1 April 2018.
Any diesel not meeting a certain emissions standard when tested under "real world" driving conditions will go up by one band of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) in its first year.
That means someone buying a Ford Focus diesel can expect to pay an extra £20 in their first year.
This rises to an extra £40 for a VW Golf, £300 for a Vauxhall Mokka and £400 for a Land Rover Discovery, according to estimates provided by the government.
In theory the biggest possible extra cost triggered by the new tax could be £500. That's because this is the widest gap between two VED bands.
In the second and subsequent years the amount of VED paid on diesel vehicles falls to £140. It's always higher in the first year.
4. New rules for claiming Universal Credit if you don't have a steady salary
Date: 2 April 2018
The government is changing how it counts your earnings if you're on all-in-one benefit Universal Credit (UC). It's complex so bear with us on this one.
Some people's wages change from one month to the next - i.e. if you're a self-employed, part time, zero-hour or 'gig economy' worker - but they still claim UC because they're badly paid.
Some of these people have a good month and earn too much to claim Universal Credit, so they get kicked off it. But then things go bad again and they return to UC.
These extra earnings are called "surplus earnings" and the government is changing how it deals with them.
When you reapply for UC, you'll now have any surplus earnings you've racked up in the previous six months taken into account.
It's complex but it goes like this. Say you have a bumper month in May and earn £3,000 over the threshold. But then in June you're £300 under it. You still won't get UC.
That's because when you put the two months together, you're still over the threshold by £2,700.
What has happened, however, is £300 of your surplus pot has been 'erased' - and that'll keep happening as the months tick by.
So if you have a really bad month in July, and you're £2,800 under the threshold, you'll start being able to claim benefits again because you've dipped £100 under the threshold.
To make sure it doesn't go wrong, the policy has a "soft" launch this year which means it's only expected to be triggered 11,000 times.
The main reason for this is because until April 2019, any surplus of of £2,500 or less will essentially be ignored. That safeguard exempts most people who would have been hit by the policy in the first year.
5. Help for 124,000 homeowners on hard times is being scrapped
Date: 5 April 2018
Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is a benefit for homeowners who fall on hard times and struggle to keep up their mortgage payments.
It's existed in some form since at least the 1980s and is currently paid for 124,000 people - almost half of them pensioners.
But not for long - the free benefit is being axed and turned into a loan instead from April 5.
That loan will be secured on your house and billow with interest, a bit like the mortgage itself.
Personal finance groups have warned this will "weaken the safety net" and "add to the pressure" on families in desperate need.
It's a little-known benefit but could become a big problem. To qualify currently, you must be on Income Support, Pension Credit, income-based jobseekers' allowance or income-based disability benefit ESA.
The benefit can only cover interest charged by a bank, not the capital value of a house. It's paid up to a total of £200,000, or £100,000 for pensioners.
6. We'll all pay less income tax, but the rich benefit the most
Date: 6 April 2018
The amount you can earn without paying income tax - known as the "personal allowance" - will rise from £11,500 to £11,850.
This will take a large number of low-earners out of tax.
However, as far as progressive policy goes it's not popular with all the experts.
That's because the change gives the same cash boost to all those earning more than £11,850, even if they're millionaires who don't need it.
And the amount the richest 13% can earn before paying the 40p rate of tax will also go up in April. It's rising from £45,000 to £46,350.
7. Benefits are being frozen AGAIN
Date: 9 April 2018
Inflation recently hit a five-year high and the 1% pay rise cap in the public sector is set to be scrapped.
Yet Theresa May has frozen benefits for the third year in a row - part of a bid to slash £3.9bn a year by 2019/20.
That means apart from pensions, carers' allowance and some disability benefits, the vast majority of welfare payments will be worth less as prices shoot up.
The freeze includes thousands of people on sickness payment Employment and Support Allowance.
Among ESA claimants, only carers, those in the "support group" or those receiving enhanced or severe premiums for disability will see a rise.
Disability and carers' benefits, including all Personal Independence Payments (PIP), will also rise by the CPI measure of inflation. The vast majority of other benefits stay the same as they are now.
There will be a rise, however, to Work Allowances - the amount you can earn in Universal Credit before your benefits start being taken away. Allowances are rising from £397 to £409 (higher) and £192 to £198 (lower).
8. The State Pension is going up
Date: 9 April 2018
Thanks to relatively generous Tory policies (compared to other areas), pensioners are free of the freeze that's hit others.
The old-style basic state pension will rise from £122.30 to £125.95 a week for an individual based on their own contributions (category A or B).
If you're on the new state pension it's a rise from £159.55 to £164.35 a week.
Each of these changes is a rise of 3% under the government's "triple lock".
The lock ensures pensions rise each year by 2.5%, average earnings or inflation, whichever is highest.
9. Housing Benefit claimants who move to Universal Credit will get more help
Date: 11 April 2018
This is the final measure in a £1.5bn help package for Universal Credit claimants that was announced in November.
People on Housing Benefit who move to Universal Credit will now continue to get the old-style payment for two weeks after their transfer date.
Tory ministers bowed to pressure and agreed the move after campaigners warned people's rent arrears were soaring.
The standard wait for your first payment under Universal Credit is now five weeks (cut from six earlier this year).
That means the gap between your housing benefit ending, and Universal Credit starting, should be much shorter than it was until now.
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