The benefit cap and its mitigation payment apply in NI from today
From 31 May 2016 the benefit cap limits the amount, in total, that claimants can receive in benefit payments each week. In practice, this should not have an immediate financial impact on claimants as the related supplementary payment also applies from this date until 31 March 2020.
However, as benefit requirements change (for example if the family has a new child), their supplementary payment will not increase.
The cap will be applied to all affected households within two months and Department has sent them information about this. Frontline advisers should therefore expect to receive queries in the near future.
The cap for single claimants is currently £350 a week.
The cap for couples with or without dependent children, and for lone parents is currently £500 per week.
The following benefits are exempted from the cap:
- Disability Living Allowance (including if received for a dependent child)
- Working Tax Credit (or later, UC as long as one person is working at least 16 hours per week)
- Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits
- Employment and Support Allowance, only if paid with the support component
- War Widow's or War Widower's Pension.
- Carer’s Allowance
There are additional exemptions for people who have been in employment, parental leave or Statutory Sick Pay for 50 out of the last 52 weeks.
The Law Centre has published a briefing explaining the benefit cap and supplementary payments.