'I'm worried about the benefits cap'
I HAVE just had an official letter telling me my benefits might be capped. I'm really worried about how I'll manage if they cut our money – we can only just afford the rent and other bills now. What is happening and what should I do?
From April next year, there will be a limit on how much money you can get from some benefits. This is called the benefit cap. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is writing to people who might be affected to tell them about the changes.
You are only likely to be worse off than before if you're getting Housing benefit. This is because your housing benefit will be cut if you're getting some benefits that, together with your housing benefit, take you over the cap.
The cap is expected to be:
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â £500 a week if you're in a couple, or a single person and you have dependent children
â £350 a week if you're single and don't have children or have children who don't live with you.
You won't be affected at all if you qualify for one of the following:
â Working tax credit
â Disability living allowance or attendance allowance
â Employment and support allowance, if paid with the support component
â Industrial injuries benefits
â War widows or widowers pension.
There are also some benefits which won't be counted when working out whether you're over the cap. These are:
â Council tax support, which replaces council tax benefit from April 2013
â Pension credit
â State retirement pension
â one off payments, for example, Social Fund loans
â non-cash benefits, for example, free school meals.
It's important that you find out now if you might be worse off after the cap starts next year, so you can plan how to deal with it. You can get more information about the benefit cap on the Citizens Advice website www.adviceguide.org.uk or the government website www.direct.gov.uk.