The Government is has been rather quiet on its next phase of the Welfare Reforms which involves the introduction of a benefit cap. This cap will come into effect from autumn this year. It will affect residents who live in our communities in Cornwall.
As part of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, the current benefit cap levels are being reduced nationally in autumn 2016. An exact date is still to be confirmed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), although it is expected to be implemented nationally from November this year.
The new benefit cap levels will be:
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a family or couple
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a single person with children living with them
- £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) for a single person
The Benefits included in the new cap limits are:
- Housing Benefit (HB)
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Incapacity Benefit, severe disability allowance, maternity allowance, bereavement benefit and widows benefit
- Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance (assessment phase and work related activity group)
Anyone in receipt of the following benefits and allowances will be exempt from the cap:
- Working tax credit (receipt of or meeting the qualifying conditions for)
- Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Attendance Allowance, Industrial Injuries Benefit
- Employment Support Allowance Support Component
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- War Pension Scheme
- Carers Allowance*
- Guardian’s Allowance*
*Carers Allowance and Guardians Allowance are currently counted as part of the benefit cap, however the DWP has stated there will be a change of legislation to make both of these benefits exempt.
The DWP has written to all customers nationally who are likely to be affected by the new benefit cap levels. In Cornwall, based on current data, 625 customers are likely to be impacted, with 84 of those affect reside in Cornwall Housing properties. This figure includes those customers whose Housing Benefit is currently capped.
A leaflet has been made available: leaflet/bite size guide. Information is available on Cornwall Council’s website: www.cornwall.gov.uk/benefitcap, and will also be available in libraries, one stop shops, and GP surgeries in the form of a leaflet with key information and contact details.
If you feel you be affected by these chances, Cornwall Council has advisors ready to discuss options with residents on 0300 1234 121 option 5.