Will the benefit cap affect me?
From November 2016, the government is reducing the limit on the total benefit a ‘working age’ household can get. This is known as the benefit cap. If you are affected, the Job Centre Plus will contact you.
If you live outside London, the new rules mean the cap on total benefit you can receive will fall from:
- £26,000 to £20,000 for couples or single parents with one child or more, and couples with no children.
- £18,200 to £13,400 for a single adult living without children.
Who will be affected?
If they are 16-64 years of age - single people, couples and families, including lone parent families, could all be affected by the benefit cap. People of pension age are not affected.
Money given to you from the following benefits count towards the cap. If your combined income from these benefits is more than the benefit cap limit, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced by the amount awarded that goes over the new reduced total.
- Universal Credit.
- Incapacity Benefit.
- Housing Benefit - unless you live in supported housing*.
- Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits.
- Income Support.
- Maternity benefits and widows benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions.
- Severe Disablement Allowance.
- Jobseekers Allowance.
- Employment and Support Allowance (unless you receive the support component).
* Supported housing is provided by a housing association, a registered charity, or a not for profit/voluntary organisation. That body, or someone acting for them, provides care, support or supervision at the property.
Who is exempt?
If you or your partner qualifies for Working Tax Credit you are exempt from the benefit cap. If you have been employed continuously for 12 months, and you lose your job through no fault of your own, the benefit cap won’t apply to you for the first 39 weeks of your claim.
You will not be affected by the benefit cap if you or your family receive any of the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.
- Attendance Allowance.
- Carer’s Allowance (from 7 November 2016).
- Guardian’s Allowance (from 7 November 2016).
- Industrial injuries benefit.
- Support component of Employment and Support Allowance.
The benefit cap doesn’t apply if you are a pensioner or receive war widow’s or war widower’s pension.
If you or your partner get Universal Credit, you won’t be affected if your household income is more than £520 per month after tax and national insurance.
Where can I get help?
If you are a social housing tenant please contact your landlord first as they can offer detailed advice on the benefit cap and details of help and support available.
If you are a private tenant our Benefits Maximisation Service can offer detailed advice. It can also offer private and social housing tenants the following advice and support:
- More details of how you may be affected and how much benefit you could lose.
- A benefit check to see if you could qualify for some benefits such as Carers Allowance or Disability Living Allowance which would make you not affected by the benefit cap.
- Details of temporary help with the costs of the benefit cap through a Discretionary Housing Payment, which may be available to you. These payments help people who need extra help with their rent when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit does not meet the full amount.