5. Benefit Cap
The Benefit Cap was first implemented in April 2013 and stipulated that working age customers that had certain amounts of benefit income would have their benefit capped dependent on their circumstances.
How much is the cap?
If a customer is in receipt of Housing Benefit the Cap is:
- £500 a week for single parents with children and couples with children
- £350 a week for single people
The cap applies to all benefits that are included in the calculation.
What benefits are included in the cap?
- Income support
- Jobseekers allowance
- Employment and support allowance (unless in a supported agreement)
- Incapacity benefit
- Child benefit and child tax credits
- Guardians allowance
- Carers allowance
- Maternity benefits and widows benefits paid by the Department for Work & Pensions
- Severe disablement allowance
- Universal Credit
- Housing Benefit (unless in they live in supported accommodation)
What is not included in the cap
- discretionary housing payment
- council tax support/reduction
- budgeting loan/advances
- one-off council crisis payments
- free school meals child maintenance payments
- winter fuel payments
- statutory sick pay
- Housing benefit for supported accommodation. This usually includes domestic violence refugees and accommodation where tenants also get care or support.
On Monday 7 November 2016 new legislation was passed with changes made of which placed further restrictions to the benefit cap and will depend on where you live.
Outside Greater London
If you live outside the area the cap will be:
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you're in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you're single and your children live with you
- £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you're single and you don't have children, or your children don't live with you
Inside Greater London
If you live in a Greater London borough, the cap will be:
- £296.35 per week (£15,410 a year) if you're single and you don't have children, or your children don't live with you
- £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) if you're in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
- £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) if you're single and your children live with you
In addition carers allowance and guardians allowance won't be affected where previously they were.
The Housing Benefit Team has been contacting customers that are affected by the benefit cap offering appointments to work through options available. We are helping through personal budgeting and support, working with our housing associations, local jobcentres, citizens advice bureau and making discretionary housing payments to help reduce financial hardship.
This legislation is available from Statutory Instrument 2012/1994 The Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit) Regulations 2012, Statutory Instrument 2013/54, 2016/909, The Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 and 2016.