Benefit Cap Hits More Than Fifty-Five Thousand Households

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has today released statistics revealing that more than 55,000 households have been hit by the controversial ‘benefit cap’.

The benefit cap was introduced in April 2013 and limits the amount households can claim in benefits to no more than £26,000 a year.

The level of the cap is set at £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them), £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them and £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them.

Some welfare payments are excluded from the cap, such as disability benefits and the support group of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Households in receipt of Working Tax Credit are not affected by the cap on benefits.

The Conservatives have pledged to reduce the cap from £26,000 to £23,000, if the win a majority in the next general election.

Labour are considering setting different levels across the country, dependent upon local living costs and other measures.

Main findings: 

  • 55.3 thousand households had their housing benefit capped.
  • 45% of households affected by the benefit cap were found in London.
  • Of the top 20 Local Authorities with the highest number of households affected by the benefit cap, only one was outside London – Birmingham.

Of data extracted in November 2014:

  • 24.3 thousand households had their housing benefit capped. This is a decrease of 3 thousand (11%) from 27.2 thousand households in August 2014.
  • 60% of capped households had between 1 and 4 children and 34% had 5 or more children.
  • 62% of capped households constituted a single parent with child dependants.
  • 82% of capped households were capped by £100 or less a week.

Off-flow measures

  • 31.0 thousand households (56%) who have (previously) been capped are no longer subject to the cap as at November 2014.
  • Of these, 12.5 thousand are exempt with an open Working Tax Credit claim, which is 40% of those no longer subject to the cap.

Click here for the full statistics.