A quick reminder on the benefit cap and start dates.
The benefit cap is the maximum amount of benefit you can receive in a year previously set at £26,000 per year, it’s now being reduced to £23,000 for claimants in London and £20,000 for claimants outside London. (Different rates apply for single people and there are various exemptions and qualifications to this – please see gov.uk). If you receive benefits above the cap level, you will have a cut applied to your Housing Benefit. You will then be responsible to make up the resulting shortfall in your rent from your other benefit income. etc.
You might have seen media reports about the reduction in the benefit cap this week, saying that it came into effect from yesterday.
This is correct for claimants who have already been affected by the existing £26,000 cap. We have 122 of these cases in Sandwell. Their Housing Benefit has gone down with effect from yesterday (7th November) They could potentially lose all of their remaining Housing Benefit except for a small token payment of 50 pence per week.
However, the government is only applying the cap to all other cases (those who are being capped for the first time) on a rolling schedule, with each local authority area seeing the full cap come in on different dates. In Sandwell, the full cap will only apply from 16th January 2017.
All claimants who will be affected though, have already been informed by the Department of Work and Pensions. If you are a private landlord and your tenant needs advice or support about how they can manage once they have been capped, they should contact the council’s Welfare Rights team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0121 569 3158.