From April 2013, the government introduced a 'cap' (a maximum limit) on the total amount of benefit that people can get. This means that the amount of benefit a household can receive will be limited to:
Up to 7 November 2016 the levels of the cap are £500 per week for couples (with or without children) and lone parents; and £350 per week for single adults.
From 7 November 2016 the £500 level above has been reduced to £384.62 per week and the £350 per week above has been reduced to £257.69 per week (see Autumn 2016 and the additional advice below).
This means that people should not get more in benefit payments than the average wage paid to people in work. This will mostly apply to working-age people, although there may be some people of pension age who will also have this rule applied to them.
The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 will see changes to the current benefit cap levels and the introduction of additional exemptions. Claimants who could be affected by the changes to benefit cap levels will be informed of them by DWP and offered support to help them adjust their circumstances. Claimants will also be able to receive employment support either through their regular work coach intervention or by requesting voluntary support. Helplines and GOV.UK will be updated with information about the changes. Additional advice is available at GOV.UK.
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The benefit cap was introduced in Dorset on 15 July 2013.
In the first instance, for Poole residents, the cap will be administered jointly by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Borough of Poole through deductions from Housing Benefit payments. In the longer term it will form part of the new Universal Credit system.
You can find more details about the benefit cap on the Money Advice Service website.
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