The benefit cap limits the amount of state benefits your household can receive. It affects people aged between 16 and 64 who are unemployed but who are able to work. It takes into account your benefits, and if you have a partner and/or children, their benefits as well. It does not include the income of other adults living with you.
The limits are:
- £384.62 a week (£20,000 a year) for couples, with or without children.
- £384.62 a week (£20,000 a year) for single parents whose children live with them.
- £257.69 a week (£13,400 a year) for single adults who do not have children, or whose children do not live with them.
How the cap is applied?
If the cap affects you we will reduce your Housing Benefit by the amount your income exceeds the threshold. If the amount of the reduction is greater than your Housing Benefit we will pay you a nominal amount of 50 pence a week, but none of your other benefits will be affected.
If you receive Universal Credit, instead of Housing Benefit, the full reduction will be made from this benefit.
This means you may have to use money from your other benefits to pay some or all of your rent.
Reductions to the benefit cap in November 2016
The benefit cap was introduced in 2013, and the thresholds were reduced in November 2016. If your benefit was already capped before November 2016 rates the new cap rates apply from 7 November 2016.
For households who start to be capped in November 2016 the new cap rates will be applied over a 12 week period starting on 28 November 2016. If you are affected by the new benefit cap we will write and tell you.
Exemptions from the benefit cap
The cap will not apply if:
- you, or your partner are working and receive either:
- Working Tax Credits
- Universal Credit, and your household income is more than £430 a month after tax and National Insurance
- you, or your partner are a pensioner
- you, or your partner or children are disabled and receive either:
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer's Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance (support component)
- Guardian's Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits
- Personal Independence Payment
- Universal Credit payments for either 'limited capability for work', 'work-related activity', or 'carer's costs'.
- you or your partner receive either:
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- War Pensions schemes - including War Widow's or War Widower's pension and War Disablement Pension
- you, or your partner, had been working continuously for the previous 12 months and you lost your job through no fault of your own - if this applies, you will be exempt from the cap for 39 weeks
If your Housing Benefit has been reduced because of the benefit cap, and you fall into one of these exempt groups please contact us straightaway.
What are your options?
For the most up to date information please check the government's Gov.UK website. It contains details of all the benefits included and a calculator to work out if you will be affected by the cap.
The government is also running a benefit cap helpline on 0345-605-7064.
Working and receiving Working Tax Credits will mean that you will be exempt from the benefit cap. Find out more about Working Tax Credits, including how many hours you need to work to get it.
If you are a Six Town Housing tenant please contact them on 0161-686-8000 to discuss your situation.
If the benefit cap has caused financial hardship, and your circumstances make it difficult for you to move, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.