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Families to face Benefits Cap pressure

  • 07/11/2016
  • Author:
Woman and child in park

Over 100,000 households are set to see their income drop as a new lower rate of Benefit Cap comes into effect from today (7th November 2016) . The reduction, which will be rolled out in stages across the UK, will see the total amount of benefits allowed reduced in a bid to encourage people back into work.

The current cap for couples and lone parents is £500 per week (£2166.67 per month or £23,000 per year) and £350 per week (£1,516.67 per month or £18,200 per year) for single adults. The new Benefit Cap, which will have lower rates for those living outside Greater London, will see significant reductions. Couples outside Greater London will see their benefits capped at £384.62 whilst single adults inside Greater London will see the figure reduced to £296.35. To see the full list of changes visit our How much is the Benefit Cap page?

Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us commented, “These changes will take place in stages between now and early next year so it is important that people find out as soon as possible how they might be affected so that they can plan accordingly. Whilst there are a number of exemptions to the Benefits Cap, including the new inclusion of those receiving Carer’s Allowance, it is clear from the Department of Work and Pensions’ own figures that many will see a dramatic drop in income over the coming months. The onset of any significant change like this to the benefits system makes it doubly important that people understand what help is available to them. We’d urge anyone who might be affected, or anyone who knows someone who’s affected, to check that they are getting all the help for which they qualify."

The Benefit Cap will usually apply those who are of working age and receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element however there are currently a number of exemptions including those over Pension Credit age (or their partner), those receiving Universal Credit (or their partner) and earning over £430 a month and those receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (or their partner). Under the new regime these exemptions will be carried over with the addition those who either receive or qualify for Carer’s Allowance, Guardian’s Allowance or the Carer’s element of Universal Credit.

Those earning over £430 per month and those claiming Housing Benefit but working enough hours to claim for Working Tax Credit are exempt.

You can find out if you will be affected by the Benefits Cap by using our Benefits Calculator. Not only will the Benefits Calculator let you find out you eligibility for a range of benefits and support but it will also signpost you to information about when the cap will be rolled out in your area. The changes are currently set to be completed by January 2017.

If you are struggling to pay your rent because the cap reduces your Housing Benefit or the Housing element of your Universal Credit, you can apply to your local council for Discretionary Housing Payment

Your council may also run a Local Welfare Assistance  scheme to help people in emergencies.

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