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Benefit cap

Security and solidarity in our social security system

21 January 2021
The social security system is there for all of us. The pandemic has exposed how precarious our incomes are and how much we all need a social security system that prevents poverty, provides income security and promotes social solidarity. Whether or not we are out of work, in ‘insecure’ work, or have recently lost jobs, our current system is falling short on all fronts, but it can change.

Early Warning System E-Bulletin - December 2020

In this edition of the e-bulletin, we provide a brief update on the habitual residence test and the benefit cap, and consider in detail three further topics which emerged over the past month.

“My rent alone takes up 95% of the benefits I receive, but my family are stuck here... until we’re made homeless.” Challenging poverty in a time of COVID

22 December 2020
I am a widow and solo parent, who lost my husband, leaving two young children. I have been affected by multiple changes to the benefits system. I’m both affected by the benefit cap (which limits how much I can receive, irrespective of my family’s needs) and penalised for having an extra bedroom. My rent alone takes up 95% of the benefits I receive, but my family are stuck here in high rent accommodation until we’re made homeless. Because of the benefit cap, I’m not eligible for the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit – a one-year increase intended to help people at their time of greatest need, during the pandemic.

Capped in the New Year

22 December 2020
An estimated 35,000 households on universal credit (UC) - mostly families (77%) - will have their benefits capped in the New Year because they lost jobs or earnings to Covid-19 in March and their grace period has now expired, new analysis from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) finds.

Capped in the New Year

22 December 2020
The benefit cap grace period gives claimants nine months’ exemption from the cap, starting from when their earnings first fall below the threshold, if in the previous 12 months they have earned over £604 in every month. COVID-19 has meant that hundreds of thousands of households’ earnings have fallen below the threshold. Some did not have a strong work history and were capped immediately, and some were able to find enough earnings to move above the cap. However, many households are stuck in limbo, where they are not yet capped due to the grace period, but are unable to find work as jobs are so scarce.

Falling Through the Net - briefing 1

18 December 2020
This is the first in a series of bi-monthly briefings, Falling Through the Net, which highlight some of the persistent gaps in support that exist for children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence of these gaps is drawn from our Early Warning System (EWS) which collects case studies from frontline practitioners working directly with families on the problems they are seeing with the social security system.

New survey shows deteriorating living standards for low-income families as a result of Covid-19

14 December 2020
Low-income families with children are even worse off now than they were in the summer, the latest Poverty in the Pandemic report from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the Church of England shows. Nearly 9 in 10 families report a significant deterioration in their living standards because of the pandemic – up from 8 in 10 families who responded to an earlier survey between May and July 2020.

Poverty in the pandemic: An update on the impact of coronavirus on low-income families and children

14 December 2020
In August, Child Poverty Action Group and the Church of England published a report, Poverty in the Pandemic, which offered a glimpse into the lives of low-income families trying to survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This report provides an update on how families with children are managing financially, based on an additional 393 online survey responses received in the period since the last report was published, up to the end of November 2020.

170,000 households hit by benefit cap

26 November 2020
Official figures out today show the number of households subject to the benefit cap has reached 170,000, an increase of 8% since May 2020. Most of the increase is in London. The cap limits the total amount of benefits low-earning or non-working households can receive.

Mind the gaps - briefing 14

30 October 2020
This is the fourteenth and final in a series of briefings, Mind the Gaps, which highlight some of the gaps in support that exist for children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence of these gaps is drawn from our Early Warning System (EWS) which collects case studies from frontline practitioners working directly with families on the problems they are seeing with the social security system.