Benefit Cap Changes:
The government announced in the Summer Budget 2015 that it would be making around £13 billion in cuts to the Benefit System. More details are now available:
- New exemptions from the cap – those entitled to Carer’s Allowance/ Carers Element of UC or Guardians Allowance will be now exempt from the benefit cap.
- Existing claimants of Carer’s Allowance/ Carers Element of UC or Guardians Allowance should have the cap removed from them from 7/11/2016.
- Instead of 2 rates of the Benefit Cap there are now 4. The rates have also been reduced. The new cap rate from 7/11/2016 is £20,000 in benefit nationally (£13,400 for single adults with no children) or £23,000 (£15,410 for single adults with no children) in Greater London, which is defined as the 32 London boroughs and the City of London.
- applying the cap for currently capped claims – The assessment will be undertaken automatically using the current data held by DWP and LA systems, but with the inclusion of the lower cap level figure in the calculation. All existing capped households will have the new cap levels applied at the same time. An ATLAS bulk update file will be made available to Local Authorities.
- applying the cap for not currently affected claims – As per existing benefit cap processes, DWP will undertake a manual check of benefit awards and exemptions. This is expected to be completed during a 12 week period commencing from the 7 November 2016 and completing by the end of January 2017. All Universal Credit claimants are to be reassessed by the end of January 2017. Following consultation with LAs the agreed implementation order will be ’low to high’, i.e. those LAs with the lowest volume of new claims will be processed at the beginning of the 12 week period. The LAs with the highest volumes will be processed at the end of the 12 week period.