Welfare Reform: Citz Eye View 1

Posted on: 06 June 2013

Written by: Anonymous

The role of IAG Worker has recently kept me very busy trying to keep up with the raft of welfare reforms coming our way. As part of this, I’ve been keeping the staff team updated on the changes but it recently struck us that we really ought to be making sure you guys know the facts too!

There are so many changes that if I were to put them all here at once, it would be a very lengthy blog post so I’m going to regularly contribute with snapshots of information that will hopefully help you make sense of what’s going on. So, let’s crack on with our first instalment!

Total Benefits Cap

What is it?

A limit will be placed on how much benefit that most people aged 16 – 64 can receive. The levels of the cap are as follows:
•    £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
•    £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them
•    £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them

When is it happening?

From April 2013, the benefits cap was rolled out in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey. It will be coming to a borough near you between 15 July – 30 September 2013.

How will it affect me?

If the benefits cap applies to you, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total benefit you receive doesn’t go above the caps mentioned above.

This will mean that you could have a shortfall in your rent that you will need to either budget for or else you may need to think about moving to a cheaper property.

BUT

If you qualify for Working Tax Credit, Disability Living Allowance or Employment Support Allowance (support component), you will NOT be affected by the benefits cap

AND

The benefits cap will be carried out by Local Authorities for those who are in receipt of Housing Benefit. Therefore, if you don’t qualify for Housing Benefit or you receive support for mortgage interest, you won’t be affected until you are moved over to Universal Credit.

Bottom Line

Be prepared!

While nobody enjoys it, make sure you read any letters you receive from the Department for Work and Pensions so you know when your benefits will be affected.

One way around the cap is being in receipt of Working Tax Credit. It’s a tough employment market at the moment so I don’t want to sound unrealistic and state that the answer to all of this is simply to get a job; however if you are working over 30 hours a week and earning £13,000 as a single person or £18,000 as a couple without children (though you can earn more if you have children), get claiming!

Otherwise, now is the time to know how much you are getting and how you might manage once the caps come in. Will you need to move? Can you find another way to make up a shortfall in your rent?

Further info on the Benefits Cap here:

If you are a Member of Cardboard Citizens and you need to have a chat about any this, feel free to get in touch and book an appointment to come in or else I can speak to you on the phone.

Tel: 020 7377 8948, Email: Tasneem@cardboardcitizens.org.uk

Gallery

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Arts Council England Lottery funded