Since September 2013, the maximum amount of benefit payments that a working-age household can receive has been capped at:
£500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
£500 a week for single parents whose children live with them
£350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them
A small number of households in North Kesteven are affected by the benefit cap. All have four or more children and therefore receive Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and one of the other means-tested benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance and are subject to the £500 a week benefit cap.
The Benefit Cap is currently implemented through reductions to Housing Benefit if their income is above the cap limit, for example, if their total income is £525.00 a week when all the benefits and tax credits are added up then the excess of £25 a week is deducted off their Housing Benefit. Once Universal Credit is implemented the benefit cap will be applied via Universal Credit.
Options to avoid being affected by the benefit cap include finding work and getting Working Tax Credit. Alternatively if you cannot work you may require Money Advice to help you devise a budget to reduce outgoings or increase income and the Council provides a service to help with this. You can also claim a Discretionary Housing Payment from the Council to top up your Housing Benefit if you are struggling to pay your rent and other bills.
Use our Welfare Reform Calculator to see if you might be affected.
The summer budget in July 2015 confirmed that the annual cap has been reviewed will be reduced to £20,000 (£384.62 per week). The cap for single claimants is to be reduced to £13,400 (£257.69 per week) from 7 November 2016.
You can find a full breakdown of benefits included in the cap as well as those that that are not on the Gov.UK benefits included in the cap web page.