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Information sheet 13 Rent arrears

Taking a lodger booklet

Bedroom Tax booklet

BENEFIT CAP

The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can get if you are working age.

The Benefit Cap will only affect you if you're getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If the cap affects you, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is reduced.  Currently the cap if you're getting Housing Benefit is:

  • £442.31 a week if you are a couple or have children and live in London
  • £384.62 a week if you are a couple or have children and live outside London
  • £296.35 a week if you are a single person and live in London
  • £257.69 a week if you are a single person and live outside London

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

This will only affect you if you're getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. No deductions will be made from your other benefits because of the cap. This means that if you don’t receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, your benefits can’t be capped.  Also, if you don’t receive enough Housing Benefit, the cap won’t be applied in full.  However, some people could lose all of their Housing Benefit, except for a nominal amount of 50p which will continue to be paid.

Exemptions

The Benefit Cap doesn't apply to everyone - some people are exempt, for example if:

  • you qualify for Working Tax Credit
  • If you are in a care home or hospital
  • you or your partner are above the qualifying age for Pension Credit
  • 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 get certain benefits for sickness or disability or a war pension

You are exempt from the benefit cap if you or your partner claims the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • the support component of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or armed forces compensation scheme
  • War Widow's or Widower's Pension
  • Carer’s Allowance (also Carer's element of Universal Credit)
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • You will also be exempt from the Benefit Cap if a child or young person for whom you are responsible gets DLA, PIP or AFIP.

What can you do if you are affected by the cap?

  • Consider if there are any benefits you can claim which aren't included in the cap? Can you or a member of your household claim any benefit that would exempt you from the cap?  One of the services provided by our Welfare Rights Service is a benefit check-up.  Even if you think you aren’t entitled to anything, you can make an appointment and our Welfare Rights Assistant will check this for you.  She can then assist with the application process of any benefit.
  • Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment from your local authority. If you can get one, this may help in the short term to pay your rent, or pay for a deposit or removal expenses to help you move to cheaper accommodation
  • If you have a disabled child who does not qualify for Disability Living Allowance, or a child or children whose health or development is likely to be damaged because of the reduction in your benefit, contact your local authority Social Work Department. They may be able to help with a cash payment or other assistance.
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