The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit you can get.
The maximum amount of benefit you can receive in Rochdale borough is:
- £258 a week for single people without children.
- £385 a week for single parents and couples with or without children.
How benefits are calculated
Only the following benefits are included in calculating the amount of benefits you receive each week.
The calculation is based on the full award before any deductions are made.
- Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit
- Bereavement Support
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Child Benefit
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
Calculate your benefits
The Benefit Cap applies to most people aged 16 or over who haven't reached state pension age.
You can use a benefit cap calculator to get an idea of how your benefits might be capped.
You're exempt from the benefit cap if you or your partner meet any of the following criteria:
- You're over state pension age.
- You're working a certain amount depending on what benefits you receive.
- Housing Benefit: you're working enough to be eligible for Working Tax Credits.
- Universal Credit: you're working enough to earn at least £540 a month.
- You've been continuously employed for 12 months and you lost your job through no fault of your own. In this case, the benefit cap won't apply to you for the first 39 weeks of your claim.
- You receive Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Support component of Employment and Support Allowance, industrial injuries benefits, War widows' or war widowers' pension or you've got an in-work exemption.
How to stop the benefit cap from applying to you
The best way to stop the benefit cap from applying to you is to find work or increase your hours so you can receive Working Tax Credit or earn £540 a month if you get Universal Credit.
Finding meaningful employment which matches your skills, interests and family life, such as childcare commitments can be difficult.
You can consider:
- Applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment - help to manage in the short term until you find a job
- Getting help finding a job or career
- Finding training or courses to help you get the job you want
Applying the Benefit Cap
The benefit cap will be applied automatically and you don't need to do anything.
If you receive:
- Universal Credit: the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will deduct the excess from your payments. The DWP will contact you before the cap is applied to your benefit.
- Housing Benefit: the government has told us we must deduct the excess from your weekly Housing Benefit payments. We'll send you a letter before reducing your payments.
There's a range of help available if you're affected by the benefit cap.
- Citizens Advice Bureau - help if your benefits have been capped.
- Money Helper - what to do if you're affected by the benefit cap.
- Shelter - help if you can't pay your rent because of the benefit cap.
- Homeless service - see what help you can get if you're at risk of being homeless.
- Housing association contact details - if you rent from a registered housing association in the borough, such as Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, let them know you've been affected by the benefit cap. They may be able to offer support.
- Find a cheaper home to rent - moving to less expensive accommodation may help you cope with a reduction to your benefits.
- Find help with jobs, careers and training - this will increase your skills and help with employment opportunities.
- Get help with money - organisations that may be able to help you manage your money.
Why there is a Benefit Cap
In July 2013, the government decided to introduce a benefit cap so workless households no longer receive more in benefits than the average working family after tax and national insurance.
The government have said they aim for the benefit cap to:
- Make financial savings.
- Increase incentives to work.
- Make the system fairer for working people.
- Reduce long-term benefit dependency.