Recent changes to housing benefit and support for council tax

Pages in Recent changes to housing benefit and support for council tax

  1. 1. Updates to housing and support for council tax effective from April 2013
  2. 2. You are here: Benefits cap
  1. 3. Help and advice

2. Benefits cap

There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap.

How much you get for certain benefits may go down to make sure the total you get isn’t more than the cap amount.

You’re not affected by the cap if you or your partner work, and either of the following apply:

  • you or your partner are eligible for Working Tax Credit

  • you or your partner get Universal Credit, and your household income is more than £430 a month after tax and National Insurance

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (unless you get the ‘support’ component)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widows Pension if you started getting it before 9 April 2001)
  • Universal Credit (unless you’ve had a work capability assessment and aren’t fit for work)

You’re not affected by the cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Universal Credit payments towards carer’s costs or for ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’
  • War pensions
  • War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension

If you have adult children or non-dependants living with you and they qualify for any of these benefits, you may be affected by the cap. This is because they’re not usually included in your household.

The Department for Work and Pensions has written to anyone who is likely to be affected from November, including households who are already experiencing a reduction in their Housing Benefit. The Council is also contacting people who are going to be affected by these changes.

Your benefit cap depends on where you live in the UK.

If you live outside a Greater London borough, including Reigate & Banstead, the cap is:

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re single and your children live with you
  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you’re single and you don’t have children, or your children don’t live with you

If you live in a Greater London borough, the cap is:

  • £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) if you’re in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
  • £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) if you’re single and your children live with you
  • £296.35 per week (£15,410 a year) if you’re single and you don’t have children, or your children don’t live with you

Universal Credit

In some parts of the country, new claimants of working age will get a single payment for all benefits, including Housing Benefits. The system is intended to simplify the way benefits are paid, the majority of claims will be made online.

A significant difference to the current system is that payments will be made directly to tenants. There will be exceptions for some vulnerable people. Roll out in this area took p in early 2016, but it was only for new claims at the Jobcentre from certain types of household.

Changes only affecting private sector rents

Young individuals and the shared accommodation rate

For any new Local Housing Allowance claims, any single claimant under 35 years old is treated as a young individual and receives the shared accommodation rate. There are exceptions to this rule, details of which can be found below.