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Benefits Cap

From 7 November 2016 the government has reduced the level of the Benefits Cap to £20,000 per annum for couples and single claimants with children and £13,400 for single person.

The weekly cap is set at:

  • £384.62 per week for single parents
  • £384.62 per week for couples with or without children
  • £257.69 per week for single people

The Government will add up how much money you get from the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment & Support Allowance (unless it includes the support component)
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Bereavement Allowance

If the amounts you receive add up to more than the maximum amount you are allowed your housing benefit will be cut. As this amount is being taken from your housing benefit you will have to find the difference yourself to pay the rent.

Does this affect you?

Everyone affected by the benefits cap will be notified by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and JobCentre Plus.

The Benefits Cap wont affect you if:

  • You have reached state pension credit age (63 years and 6 months as at January 2017)
  • You have reached pension age (63 years and 6 months before April 2013)
  • You have been working for at least the last 12 months but have lost your job through no fault of your own (for example through redundancy), the benefits cap may not apply to your claim for the first nine months
  • You, your partner or children get disability living allowance, personal independence payment, attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance, and the support component of employment and support allowance
  • You or your partner is working enough hours to qualify for working tax credit (even if their income is too high to receive working tax credit). You will need to make a claim to the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) to see if you meet this criteria.
  • You receive a war pension

Case One

Sheila and George currently get £454 a week in jobseeker’s allowance, child benefit and child tax credit for themselves and their four children. They live in a housing association property where the rent is £90 a week and they currently receive £90 a week in housing benefit to help them pay for this. This means that their total benefit awards are £544 per week. So they will be affected by the benefit cap.

At the moment their housing benefit is paid directly to their landlord on their behalf. They will continue to receive the £454 a week but their housing benefit will drop to £46 a week. This means that their landlord will only be sent £46 a week towards the rent of £90. Sheila and George will need to find £44 a week themselves out of their £454 benefits to pay the difference in their rent.

Following the proposed changes to the Benefits Cap

Sheila and George currently get £454 a week in Jobseeker’s Allowance, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit for themselves and their four children. They live in a housing association property where the rent is £90 a week and they currently receive £90 a week in housing benefit to help them pay for this. This means that their total benefit awards are £544 per week. They will be affected by the benefit cap.

At the moment their housing benefit is paid directly to their landlord on their behalf. They will continue to receive the £454 a week in other benefits, but their housing benefit will drop to £0.50 a week. This means that their landlord will only be sent £0.50 a week towards the rent of £90. Sheila and George will need to find £89.50 a week themselves out of their £454 benefits to pay the balance of their rent.

  • If you are worried that you might be affected by the benefits cap think about how you will be able to cope. Don't leave it until your rent is due.
  • Start to budget now to make sure you are able to pay your rent so you don’t get into arrears and risk losing your home.
  • Try to find work as this will give you more money and will also mean you might be able to get Working Tax Credit and not be affected by the benefits cap. The job centre plus can help with your job search and preparing to work.
  • Get some help and advice with managing your money or debts now. There are links on our Help and Advice page to sites where you can get help.

Everyone affected by the benefits cap will be notified by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and Job Centre Plus.

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