The benefit cap is changing
There is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most working age people can get. This is called the benefit cap.
From 7 November 2016 the level at which benefit is capped is changing. The new rates will be:
- £384.62 a week for couples (with or without children)
- £384.62 a week for single parents whose children live with them
- £257.69 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them.
The cap before 7 November 2016 is:
- £500 a week for couples (with or without children)
- £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.
If your benefit was already capped before 7 November 2016 rates the new cap rates will apply straight away.
When the cap doesn't apply
The benefit cap does not apply:
- to people who are old enough to qualify for pension credit
- if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit, or if you get certain benefits including Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, the support component of Employment and Support Allowance
- for the first 39 weeks of unemployment if you, or your partner, had been working continuously for the previous 12 months.
From 7 November 2016 the cap will also not apply to people who get Carers' Allowance or to people who get Guardians' Allowance.
See whether the cap applies to you, and how it’s worked out, on the government’s website: www.gov.uk/benefit-cap
The effect on Housing Benefit
If the cap affects you, we reduce your Housing Benefit so that your total income isn't above the limit. So you may have to use money from your other benefits to pay some or all of your rent.
Sometimes you could still have a total benefit income above the cap. But this only happens if the extra amount above the cap is more than your Housing Benefit. We would only pay the minimum Housing Benefit of 50 pence a week.
For more information and to get advice and support ring the benefit cap helpline on 0161 204 1744 Monday - Friday 9.30am to 5.00pm. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask someone to call you back.
The helpline is operated on behalf of the Council by Citizens Advice Manchester, Shelter and Cheetham Hill Advice Centre - it is a free, confidential and independent service.
What can you do?
- If you disagree with a decision we have made about your benefit cap contact our benefits service straight away
- Get debt and borrowing advice
- Consider moving to a home with a lower rent. Look for a home.
- If the benefit cap has caused real financial hardship, and your circumstances make it difficult for you to move you can apply for temporary ‘discretionary’ payments once you have received our letter telling you your benefit has gone down
- Contact Citizens Advice Manchester
- Contact Shelter
- Get job seeking advice or support
- Speak to your Jobcentre Plus work coach
- Call the Department for Work and Pensions benefit helpline on 0345 605 7064 or, for people with hearing or speech impairments, textphone 0345 608 8551.