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Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

The Benefit Cap

The Benefit Cap was introduced on 15 July 2013 to set a limit on the amount of benefit that individuals of a working age receive. This is known as a benefit cap.

The aim of the cap is to stop people getting more in benefit payments than the average wage (after tax and National Insurance). Some benefits, however, will be made exempt .

Housing Benefit will also be one of the benefits that will be reduced, in a situation where the claimants benefit income reaches the cap level. The cap is most likely to affect families with more than four children. The benefit cap, however will only apply to working age individuals. 

The cap from 1 July 2013 - 6 November 2016

£500 per week for couples and single parent households
£350 per week for single households without children

The following benefits count towards the benefit cap:

These benefits all count:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except where it includes the support component)
  • Guardian's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance
  • Widowed Mother's Allowance
  • Widow's Pension
  • Widow's Pension (age-related)

Exemptions 

The following households will be exempt from the Benefits Cap:

  • Households that include somebody who is receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Constant Attendance Allowance. This includes those who will receive the Personal Independence Payment which will replace DLA for individuals of working age (aged 16 to 64) from April 2013
  • Households entitled to Working Tax Credit
  • War widows and widowers

If it's likely that the benefit cap will affect you, you will receive a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions during May 2012.

Things to do to prepare for the change

  • If the DWP has written to you because they think you may be affected, tell us straight away if you think the benefit cap does not apply to you.
  • Contact a peronal advisor at Jobcentre plus to discuss what kind of support you can get to help you find a job.
  • Work out how much extra you will need to pay towards your rent and consider getting help to manage your money.
  • Could you move to a home with a lower rent? Talk to your landlord.
  • Apply for a discretionary housing payment if the change will cause you hardship and your circumstances mean its difficult for you  to move. We can pay this in extreme circumstances but it is only for temporary difficulties.
  • Visit Directgov website at www.gov.uk/benefitcap and use the calculator to check if you are affected by the cap.
  • The dwp has a benefit cap helpline on 0845 6057064 or for people with hearing or speech impairments, ring the extension phone 08456088551. The helpline is open from 8.00am - 6.00pm Monday to Friday. 

It won't apply if you or your partner is of 'pension age' (currently the state retirement age for women). You can use the GOV.UK State Pension Age calculator to check when you reach 'pension age'.

The benefit cap does not apply for 39 weeks from the date you claim benefit if you or your partner have been working continuously for the previous 12 months and you lost your job through no fault of your own.

Latest change for Benefit Cap from 7 November 2016

The Summer Budget 2015 announced changes to the level of the benefit cap so that households will no longer be entitled to receive more than £20,000 in benefit nationally (£13,400 for single adults with no children).

The regulations to support this welfare reform change to the benefit cap levels will come in to force on 7 November 2016 and households that meet the qualifying conditions for Working Tax Credit will be exempt from the cap. Households entitled to Carer's Allowance and Guardian's Allowance will be exempt from the benefit cap on 7 November 2016.

Cap from 7 November 2016

£384.62 per week for couples and single parent households
£257.69 per week for single households without children

 

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