Adviceline

telephone advice for Haringey residents

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The Benefits cap is changing from 7th November 2016

The Benefits cap is changing from 7th November 2016

The Benefits cap is changing from 7th November 2016

What is the Benefits Cap?

The Benefits Cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can get if you're of working age. Some people are exempt from the Benefits Cap. The Benefit Cap will only affect you if you're getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

It doesn't apply to people who have reached the age where you can get Pension Credit - although it may apply if you're in mixed-age couple.

If the cap applies to you, this means that if your income from certain benefits is more than the cap, your Housing Benefit will be cut. The amount of money you get above the cap limit will be taken off your Housing Benefit.

No deductions will be made to your other benefits because of the cap, unless you're getting Universal Credit. This means that if you don’t receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, your benefits can’t be capped.

How much is the cap?

From 7 November 2016, there are different rates for the Benefit cap - one for Greater London and one for the rest of the country.

If you're getting Housing Benefit, the cap in Greater London is: £23000 per annum.

£442.31 a week if you're a couple - with or without dependent children

£442.31 a week if you're a lone parent with dependent children

£296.35 a week if you're a single person without children.

If you don’t receive enough Housing Benefit, the cap won’t be applied in full. However, some people could lose all their Housing Benefit, except for a nominal amount of 50p which will continue to be paid.

Example

A couple receive benefit income of £550 a week, of which £75 is Housing Benefit. The benefit cap for a couple is £500.

They receive £50 more in benefits than the cap. This is deducted from their Housing Benefit.

The amount of Housing Benefit they get is cut to £25.

How the benefits cap is applied

Your housing benefit or universal credit is reduced so that you don't get more than the benefit cap limit. The cap applies to the benefits you get as a household. It includes benefits received by you, your partner and dependent children who live with you.

The benefit cap is worked out weekly if you get housing benefit and monthly if you claim universal credit. If you were already claiming, your housing benefit or universal credit will be recalculated shortly after 7 November 2016 when the new benefit cap comes into effect.

Is anyone exempt from the Benefits Cap

Some people are exempt from the Benefit Cap.

This means your benefit won't be capped, even if your benefit income is above the limit of the cap.

You might be exempt from the cap if:

You work enough hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit, even if you don't get it.

You’ve reached the age for getting Pension Credit - although you may not be exempt if you're in a mixed-age couple.

You or your partner get certain benefits for sickness or disability.

You or your partner had been in employment for at least 50 weeks out of the 52 weeks before your last day of work.

You or your partner gets War Widows or Widowers Pension.

If your housing benefit won't cover the rent

A discretionary housing payment (DHP) could help you if your housing benefit doesn't cover the rent. Your council may award you a DHP if you're affected by the benefits cap; Ask your local council for a claim form or how to make a claim.    

 Citizens Advice Haringey

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