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Benefits, Finance and money

Online tool helps residents discover if they are affected by benefit cap

An innovative online tool developed by Lambeth Council gives residents the opportunity to find out if they will be affected by the benefit cap.

The benefit cap – which will be introduced by Government in April 2013 – means the amount of benefit that families and single people can claim will be capped at a certain amount.

While the Department of Work and Pensions has written to those it says will be affected, Lambeth Council is concerned it may impact upon many more, and has produced the new tool so that residents can get a good idea of whether they are affected.

By logging onto http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/benefitcap, residents can click on the benefit cap online calculator. They will be asked to complete a number of questions related to their personal circumstances and the calculator will work out whether this means they are likely, or not, to be impacted by the cap. For people it says are affected, it will signpost them to relevant and local advice services, or give them the option to be contacted by our advice staff.

Councillor Paul McGlone, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The benefit cap will mean some Lambeth residents will really struggle to pay rent and household bills as the amount they will receive is significantly less. We hope by introducing this online tool residents who are on benefits or carers supporting people who think they might be impacted can use it to get an idea of whether they are or not and seek advice about ways they can improve their personal circumstances.”

The benefit cap will take affect from April 2013 and is part of the Welfare Reform Act, which became law earlier this year.

It means the total amount of out-of-work benefits available to working-age people will be capped at £26,000 a year.

The cap applies to the combined income from the main benefits received by claimants, including Jobseeker’s allowance, Income Support and Employment Support Allowance.

Claims for single people will be limited to £350 a week. Couples and lone parents will see their benefits capped at the higher rate of £500 a week.

The restriction is designed to ensure these benefits do not add up to more than the average household weekly wage. However, in reality the impact of benefit cap could mean:

  • A single father living with two children living in a £350 per week private rented property may be £110 per week worse off.
  • A single mother living with 4 children in a £375 per week, four bedroom private rented property may be £400 per week worse off.
  • A couple living in a 3 bedroom council property with their 4 children, paying £118 a week in rent may be £120 a week worse off.

The launch of the benefit cap calculator is part of Lambeth Council’s response to the Welfare Reform Act and we are committed to supporting residents who are affected by it.

The launch of the benefit cap calculator is part of Lambeth Council’s response to the Welfare Reform Act and we are committed to supporting residents who are affected by it.

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