If you are worried that the benefit changes will reduce the money you have coming in, it's a good idea to start thinking ahead.
For example, you could get a benefits check on your current entitlement and see whether there is any transitional protection available. You could also get some advice about budgeting as the new Universal Credit is going to be paid monthly.
From April 2013, there will be a maximum amount of benefit that a household can be entitled to.
A household is defined as an individual, their partner, and any children they are responsible for and who live with them.
This is to ensure individuals are no longer given more money when they are out of work than what they could reasonably expect to earn from working.
Until people are transferred onto Universal Credit the cap will be applied to Housing Benefit by reducing benefit entitlement.
The benefit cap applies to people of working age. Working age is defined as aged between 16 and the minimum qualifying age for State Pension Credit.
The cap will not apply to a couple where one member is over pension age provided neither person continues to receive an out of work benefit, working age benefit.
The level of the Cap will be:
The benefit cap is calculated by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
All the benefits an individual, their partner and any children they are responsible for and who live with them are entitled to are added together.
Benefits that will be taken into account when calculating the cap are:
Benefits that will not be taken into account when calculating the cap are:
If an individual, their partner or any children they are responsible for and who live with them in a household are entitled to any of the benefits listed below they will be exempt from the benefit cap.
*If the hours worked are not sufficient to qualify for Working Tax Credit, the benefit cap will still apply.
Individuals cannot appeal against the decision to apply the benefit cap.
If you think the benefit cap has been calculated incorrectly contact the DWP to review the calculation on the Benefit Cap Helpline 0845 605 7064:
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000