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What happens if my benefits are capped?

By Herald Express  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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I HAVE just had an official letter telling me my benefits might be capped. I'm worried about how I'll manage if they cut our money — we can only just afford the rent and other bills now. What is happening and what should I do?

FROM April next year, there will be a limit on how much money you can get from some benefits.

This is called the benefit cap. The Department for Work and Pensions is writing to people who might be affected to tell them about the changes.

You are only likely to be worse off than before if you're getting housing benefit. This is because your housing benefit will be cut if you're getting some benefits that, together with your housing benefit, take you over the cap.

The cap is expected to be:

£500 a week if you're in a couple, or a single person, and you have dependent children;

£350 a week if you're single and don't have children have or have children who don't live with you.

You won't be affected at all if you qualify for one of the following:

Working tax credit;

Disability living allowance or attendance allowance;

Employment and support allowance, if paid with the support component;

Industrial injuries benefits;

War widows or widowers pension.

There are also some benefits which won't be counted when working out whether you're over the cap. These are:

Council tax support, which replaces council tax benefit from April 2013;

Pension credit;

State retirement pension;

One-off payments, for example, social fund loans;

Non-cash benefits, for example, free school meals.

It's important you find out now if you might be worse off after the cap starts next year, so you can plan how to deal with it.

You can get more information on the Citizens Advice website www.advice guide.org.uk or at www.direct.gov.uk

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  • SmartyC  |  September 07 2012, 8:44PM

    You feel that "average Joes who choose not to work or can't because of child care issues" should get anything up to the equivalent of £35,000 a year!? No wonder we're in the mess we're in if this is considered reasonable...

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  • Mom55  |  September 07 2012, 10:13AM

    I think this is very fair! If you are a couple or single person with children and you earn over 26,000 you are not entitled to benefits. It's very good that the benefit's are now capped, as it was never fair that people who don't work should be entitled to more than families that do. Obviously it's completely different if these families are claiming disability or benefits likewise, as they obviously need more money to help them. For the average Joes who choose not to work or can't because of child care issues, then they should get the same as the rest of us, certainly not more. Finally, something done right!!

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  • Bod66  |  September 07 2012, 2:33AM

    Um, capped means you wont get more than, not you shall receive, and considering it all goes in Landlord Benefit, sorry Housing Benefit the rich are still laughing as the poor (Tax Payer) pick up the bill.

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  • Corsham999  |  September 06 2012, 10:05PM

    I suppose some of the people on benefits could get a job you know work for a living hey then they would'nt have to worry about caps and such.

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  • SmartyC  |  September 06 2012, 7:30PM

    £500/week cap is £26,000 a year, TAX FREE!! That means that a working person would have to be earning £35,000 just to draw level with a person on benefits at this level. Crazy. I've never understood why benefits and housing are adjusted depending on how many kids the claimant has. Imagine going into work one day and saying to the boss "my wife has just given birth, so you're going to have to pay me more, oh and organise a bigger house for me as we'll be needing more room". Yet this appears to be precisely what happens if you're on benefits...

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