Published: Monday, 7th November 2016

The Royal Borough advises residents who receive benefits to check if they are affected.

From 7 November 2016, the government is reducing the amount of benefits that most workless households can claim - this is known as the Benefit Cap.

What the changes are

The limits are currently £500 a week for lone parents and couples and £350 a week for single people. These will reduce to £442.31 and £296.35 per week respectively. The cap has traditionally affected larger families and people paying higher rents, but more families will be affected when the reduced cap is introduced.

The cap only applies to people of working age - people who have reached the minimum qualifying age for Pension Credit are not affected.

When the changes start

For residents in receipt of housing benefit, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) tells the Council when to apply the cap and how much individual payments should be reduced by.

For people in receipt of benefits who are already affected by the cap, their benefit will be automatically be adjusted from 7 November. For residents subject to the cap for the first time, the changes will be applied from 12 December 2016 in Royal Greenwich.

Find out what other support you can receive

Councillor Denise Hyland, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: "The new cap will make a significant difference to household income for families who are affected so I would urge you to talk to one of our dedicated team of Welfare Rights advisors to see if there is any other support that you can receive, or if you are worried about how you will manage with reduced finances.

"For residents who are on benefits and who want to get back into work, we can offer you a range of help via our Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB) team including free seminars, access to recruitment days, CV writing and more."

Some residents are exempt

Some residents in receipt of benefits, who qualify, will be exempt from the cap, such as:

  • households where the claimant, partner or child receives Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence payment
  • Employment and Support Allowance claimants who are in the support group
  • people receiving a War Widows or Widowers pension.

The government has also introduced a new exemption for carers - this will apply from 7 November 2016 for:

  • carers receiving Carer's Allowance
  • carers receiving a carer element in Universal Credit
  • carers receiving Guardian's Allowance.