The Benefit Cap - what you need to know

From November 2016 the total amount of benefits you can claim is reducing. The benefits that will be capped are Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

If you are affected consider one of the following:

Making a claim for PIP, or DLA / PIP for a child.

If on ESA in the Work Related Activity Group, take advice/ask for a review to be put in the Support Group.

If you are working, check to see if you meet the criteria for Working Tax Credit.

Even if your receive a nil award, entitlement to Working Tax Credit exempts you from the cap. 

To claim Working Tax Credit:

  • You must be 16 or over to qualify. 
  • You must be 25 or over if you don’t have children or you don’t have a disability.

You must work the following 

Aged 25 to 59

at least 30 hours

Aged 60 or over

at least 16 hours

Disabled

at least 16 hours

Single with 1 or more children

at least 16 hours

Couple with 1 or more children

at least 24 hours between you (with 1 of you working at least 16 hours)

 

You can claim if you work less than 24 hours a week between you and one of the following applies:

  • you work at least 16 hours a week and you’re disabled or aged 60 or above
  • you work at least 16 hours a week and your partner is incapacitated (getting certain benefits because of disability or ill health), is entitled to Carer’s Allowance, or is in hospital or prison.

A breakdown of what is included

Included

Excluded from the cap if someone in the household …

 

Receives Working Tax Credits or who work enough hours to claim Working Tax Credits.  (Even if awarded a nil entitlement, have to have made a claim though).

 

Has been employed continuously for 12 months and they then lose their job.  Cap won’t apply for first 39 weeks of your claim.

Of working age

Of pension credit age (HB needs 1 person at pension credit age / UC needs both people at pension credit age.)

Included benefits

Excluded from the cap if anyone in the household claims one of the following benefits…

Housing benefit (unless in supported housing)

Housing benefit for supported accommodation

Income support

DLA or PIP (you/partner or child)

JSA

Attendance allowance

ESA

ESA - Support component (gets paid, not credits only)

Incapacity benefit

Industrial injuries benefits

Child benefit

War widows/widowers pension

Child tax credits

War Disablement Pension

Guardian’s allowance

 

Carers allowance

Carers allowance (Lord Freud commented on this but no date yet)

Maternity benefits paid by DWP

 

Widows benefits paid by DWP

 

Severe disablement allowance

Benefits not included in the benefit cap total

 

DHPs

 

Council tax support / reduction

 

Budgeting loan / advances

 

One off council crisis payments

 

Free school meals

 

Child maintenance payments

 

Winter fuel payments

 

Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption pay

 

Statutory sick pay

Universal Credit (even if one at pension credit age)

Claiming UC – if you have an in-work exemption