Thousands of British households receiving regular payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may experience a reduction in entitlement starting April 2024. Despite the recent 6.7% increase announced by the Chancellor in the Budget, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has cautioned that not raising the benefit cap in line with the payment increase will effectively push more individuals above the cap’s threshold.
The CPAG explains how the benefit cap severs the connection between need and entitlement in the social security system, with households receiving less support than necessary if their total need exceeds the cap level. At present, the cap stands at £22,020 per year for families with children and £25,323 for families residing in London, resulting in a loss averaging £53 a week for affected families.
A DWP spokesperson claims that the government is already supporting the most vulnerable households with a record £94bn cost of living support package, amounting to around £3,700 per household, and has managed to halve inflation to alleviate financial strains. Furthermore, benefits have been raised by 10.1%, and an investment of £3.5bn aims to assist thousands in securing long-term financial security through employment.
The benefit cap is determined based on an applicant’s circumstances such as location, presence of children, and whether they are applying individually or as part of a couple. The rates differ depending on whether the applicant resides in London. However, individuals above state pension age, and those who meet certain criteria such as having a partner or children, are exempt from the cap.
In cases where the cap becomes a burden, the government advises individuals to seek help as soon as possible. Additional information on the benefit cap can be found on the official government websites or by visiting the charity Turn2Us’s website to determine personal eligibility.
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