What is the benefit cap?
As part of the Government's Welfare Reform changes the total amount of benefit that can be received will be a set amount for both single people and couples. This is called the benefit cap.
The benefit cap was brought in to make sure that no family received more in benefits than the average working household. The cap is currently:
£384.62 a week if you are a couple or have children
£257.69 a week if you are a single person
Which benefits are included in the benefit cap?
Employment Support Allowance
Child Tax Credit
Widowed Parents Allowance
Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)
Which benefits are not included in the benefit cap?
If you or a member of your household are receiving one of the benefits below then the benefit cap will not apply to you:
Working Tax Credits
Disability Living Allowance / PIP
War Widows / widowers benefits
Armed Forces compensation scheme payments
Industrial Injuries Benefits
Which benefits will be reduced if I am affected by the benefit cap?
If you receive Housing Benefit this will be reduced by the amount you are over the cap. If your Housing Benefit entitlement is reduced due to the cap amount, you will receive at least 50p of your Housing Benefit entitlement.
If you receive Universal Credit your entitlement will be reduced by the amount that you are over the cap.
A couple who receive £585 per week in benefits which includes Housing Benefit entitlement of £100 per week would see their Housing Benefit reduced to 0.50pence per week.
If the same couple were claiming Universal Credit their Universal Credit would reduce by £200.38 per week – this is because the Benefit Cap will be applied in full to Universal Credit claims whereas the DWP were unable to do this with the old legacy benefits.
How can I find out if I'm going to be affected by the benefit cap?
The DWP has put together a benefit cap calculator you can use that can tell you if you will be affected or not. It's really easy to use and can be completed in five minutes.
What can I do?
Increase your payments - If you have the money available you can use it to cover the cost of any changes and stay in your current home. The best thing you can do is pay a little extra in order to get in advance on your rent account and build up some savings for other bills. Even small amounts will mount up over the weeks.
Take a lodger - You may be able to earn additional income from a lodger, but remember to check with us first to ensure your tenancy agreement allows it.
Find a job – If you need help getting back into work, getting a better job, training, education, or work experience please contact your DWP Work Coach if you have one or if not contact your local JobCentre Plus. There are also some useful websites available to support you:
Manage your money - If you have any cash concerns please contact your neighbourhood coach.
To access any of the above services please contact us.