Benefit capped to £500 or £350 per week
From 15th July 2013, the Government has introduced new rules where the total amount of benefits for working age claimants who are not working will be capped.
- Couples will only be entitled to get benefits to a maximum of £500 per week.
- Single people and couples without children, who are not working, the maximum benefit they will get is £350 per week.
These amounts include the following incomes:
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance work related component
- Housing Benefit
- Child Benefit
- Child tax credit
- Carer's Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Guardians Allowance
- Bereavement Allowance
- Widowed Parents Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
It does not include Council Tax Support, social fund payments, in work and return to work credits, one off payments, non-cash benefits (e.g. free prescriptions) and passported benefits such as free school meals or other disability related benefits such a Disability Living Allowance.
If your total benefit is more than these maximum amounts, your Housing Benefit will be reduced to meet these new rules. There will be transitional protection for nine months for people who:
- Have been in a job for more than 12 months and lose that job through no fault of their own (e.g redundancy)
- Have their hours reduced to a level where they no longer get working tax credit.
Preparing for the change
The Government advises that you should:
- Look at how much you will be affected by the cap and decide if you can meet the shortfall from other income or savings. This may mean taking up help to assist you into work;
- Speak to your landlord as soon as possible to negotiate a lower rent if possible;
- Apply for Discretionary Housing Payment - but please be aware these funds are limited and we will expect you to show what action you have taken in the list above.
Action you can take
Whatever you do - do something!
If you are affected by these changes, you will have been contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions. Once you know you will be affected by the changes above you should take action. Some of the action you can take might include:
- Get advice about getting into work - look out for incentives and help with getting into work over the next few months. The Government will be rolling out schemes to help with this.
- Review your budget. If the change is small you may find you can make small adjustments that mean you can afford the rent even though your Housing Benefit has reduced.
- Speak to your landlord as they will need to consider their options too. Your landlord may be willing to reduce the rent charge or negotiate a lower rent that you can afford.
- Renewing your tenancy If your landlord agrees to reduce your rent when your agreement is due to be renewed, we can consider direct payment of Housing Benefit to them.
- Finding a new home - Start looking at whether you need to find alternative cheaper accommodation when your 9 month's protection runs out.
- Investigate the further help the Local Authority and other agencies can give you help to prevent losing your accommodation
For more information, use the link to 'related articles' on the right or see the factsheet below.
|[454kb]||Benefit Cap factsheet||Information about the Benefit Cap|
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