Friday, December 26, 2014

Benefit cap

A benefit cap was progressively introduced in the UK and now the Irish are trying to introduce it as part of a host of other welfare reform changes.

A benefit cap limits the amount one household can claim in welfare. If it was applied in NZ it would mean a household might not automatically receive extra money if more children are added to a benefit. Or extra accommodation supplement might not be available if the family had already reached the maximum or cap.

However the cap is fairly generous.

How much is the benefit cap?

The level of the cap is:
  • £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
  • £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them
  • £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them
This may mean the amount you get for certain benefits will go down to make sure that the total amount you get isn’t more than the cap level.
The same amounts are proposed for Northern Ireland.

The cap doesn't apply to people who are working and receiving assistance though.

In November 2014 the Express reported:

MORE than 50,000 workless families have had their benefits cut because they were getting more from the state than the average worker brings home, official figures revealed yesterday.

And to prove that the Government’s radical reforms are working some 12,000 of them have been spurred into finding jobs.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said it showed the “staggering” positive impact of the decision to cap benefits for most unemployed households.

The cap applies even in the most expensive-to-live areas like London.

Meanwhile the pressure is on here to lift benefit incomes to accommodate high rents.


Brendan said...

Do you have any detail on the Irish Benefits cap?

I lived in Ireland for a while.

In the middle of a major recession I was getting 200 euro a week on welfare. Which is about 100 more than I would have gotten in NZ.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

Official site:

As I said the proposed caps are the same as in the UK so for a single person the cap would be 350 pounds weekly or 445 euros today.