The Benefit Cap is the maximum amount of benefits you are allowed to receive each week. The total amount you can currently claim is:
- £500 a week for couples or single parents with children who live with them
- £350 for single people or parents whose children don’t live with them.
Changes in the benefit cap
The Government has announced that in autumn 2016 the benefit cap is being lowered across the country. The total amount you will be able to claim will change to:
- £385 a week for couples or single parents with children who live with them
- £258 a week for single people or parents whose children don’t live with them.
Please note all of the information about this relates to our customers. There are different cap levels for people living in London.
What does this mean for you?
You should check now to see if you are going to be affected by the benefit cap. It will depend on the size of your family, the weekly rent for your home and which benefits you receive.
If you think you may be affected by the cap then please contact your Income Management Officer, who will be able to offer information and refer you for support and training. They will also be able to put you in touch with Support Agencies who can offer advice.
You can also use the Government’s online calculator to see how much your benefits may change at www.gov.uk/benefit-cap. Finding work or increasing the amount of hours you already work, so that you are eligible for Working Tax Credit, will mean that the cap won’t apply to you.
What benefits are included in the cap?
The benefits that are counted towards the cap include:
- Housing Benefit (unless you live in supported housing)
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits
- Guardian’s Allowance (until autumn 2016)
- Carer’s Allowance (until autumn 2016)
- Maternity Benefits
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Universal Credit
If you currently receive certain benefits then the cap will not apply and you will receive your full benefit allowance. You will not be affected by the new lower cap if you receive:
- Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment
- Support Group Employment & Support Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits, War Disablement Pensions
- War Widow / Widowers Benefits
- Guardian’s Allowance
You will also not be affected if:
- You work enough hours to receive Working Tax Credit; or
- If you are on Universal Credit and you are earning more than £430 a month.
The Benefit Cap will also not be applied for the first 39 weeks if you have recently been in paid employment for 50 of the 52 weeks before your last day of work.