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Benefits Cap Changes

Swale Borough Council helping households prepare for Benefit changes

Swale council is urging more than 300 households who will be affected by changes to the benefit cap to get in touch to help plan for how this will affect them.

The Government introduced a benefit cap for those receiving housing benefit or Universal Credit of £500 per week for single parents and couples with children in 2013.

From 7 November the cap is being lowered to £384.62 per week for these households, which will affect 323 families across the borough – with 88 seeing their benefits reduced by more than £100 per week.

To help prepare them for these changes, and avoid people getting into financial difficulties, the council has contacted all those affected, urging them to get in touch.

Cllr Ken Pugh, cabinet member for housing and wellbeing at the council, said:

“The way this works means that people who receive more than the cap from all their benefits will see their housing benefit reduced to meet the new limit.

“Often, housing benefit is paid directly to landlords, so people may be unaware of the changes until their landlord contacts them about rent arrears, which could lead to difficulties trying to repay them, or – in the worst case – homelessness.

“To avoid this, we urgently want to speak to people affected, to help them plan for the changes.

“There are exemptions for people such as those who receive Working Families Tax Credit, Disability Living Allowance, or Personal Independence Payments, and there is a lot of support available to help people get back into work.

“Both the council and the Department for Work and Pensions have contacted those affected, warning them about the changes and asking them to get in touch with us to discuss the implications. I strongly urge people not to ignore this, and contact us as soon as possible so we can help them avoid getting into financial difficulties.”

The benefits that are included in the cap are:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except where it’s paid with the support component)
  • Housing Benefit (although there are some exceptions)
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Widowed Mother’s Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension

Anyone affected by the changes should contact the council by email or on 01795 417622.

You can follow the link to the Swale Borough Council site for more help. http://www.swale.gov.uk/Benefits-cap-changes

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