Changes to benefits - The Benefit Cap

Content owner : Last updated : 01/11/17

What is the change?

The Government has put a limit on the total amount of benefits that people aged 16-64 can receive. This is called a benefit cap. The cap is set at the average earnings after tax for a working household.

The maximum weekly benefit including housing costs that can be awarded is:

  • £384.62 a week (£20,000 a year) for a family, couple or a single person with children who live with you
  • £257.69 (£13,400 a year) for a single person without children who live with you. This includes any housing costs.

How will it affect you?

If your income from certain benefits is above the cap then your housing benefit or universal credit will be reduced. This will no longer cover all of your rent and you will be responsible for paying any shortfall.

What can you do?

The Government website has a calculator that you can use to work out whether you will be affected by the benefit cap (see useful websites below).

If you are affected by the cap then you could look at doing the following:

  • Increase your income through getting a job or working extra hours
  • Reduce your outgoings
  • Check whether you are entitled to a benefit that would exempt you from the cap
  • Consider applying to Kirklees Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) . This could help to make up the shortfall in your rent whilst you take action to find a more permanent solution.

Who else can help?

KNH has a dedicated team of officers who can provide you with advice on budgeting and managing debts. They can check that you are claiming the correct benefits and provide support in making an application for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Please contact the Money Advice Unit

KNH also has a Tenants into Work (TIW) team that can help you to find training or employment, put together a CV and provide advice on interview technique. More information on how they can help you find work is available : Help to find Work

Advice is also available from the Kirklees Citizens Advice Service.

Useful websites

More information, including a benefit cap calculator and a list of exempt benefits can be found on the government website at: Benefit Cap - GOV.UK

The BetterOff Kirklees website allows you to check which benefits you are entitled to, search for a job and more. BetterOff Kirklees can be found here: BetterOff Kirklees Home

The Turn2us website also includes information on your options if you are affected by the cap. It can be found here: Turn2us Website