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John
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Benefit cap

Between 20 September and 5 October 2012, DWP will send letters to claimants potentially affected by the benefit cap from April 2013. The letters to claimants whose benefits are currently over the cap levels will include an estimate of the amount of Housing Benefit they may lose each week, in bandwidths of £50.

Letters will also be sent to claimants receiving benefits currently below cap levels, but which are likely to exceed the levels after benefit uprating in April 2013, assuming their circumstances stay the same.

All the letters will include details of the support available to claimants through DWP, local authorities and other advisory groups that will help them adjust to the change.

Information about the benefit cap is on the DWP website.<

John
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Joined: 09/03/2008

HB/CTB G92/2012 Benefit Cap

Benefit cap – September/October direct mail and local authority scans

 

1.    Local authorities (LAs) will receive a full data scan from 17 September 2012 listing all cases potentially affected by the cap at the time the scan was run. The scans will be issued via the secure email accounts that we have used for previous scans.

 

 2.  A further benefit cap direct mail exercise will take place between 20 September 2012 and 5 October 2012. The direct mail will be sent to individual claimants providing information about how the benefit cap may affect them and what support is available. There will be four versions of this letter in order to ensure we capture those households potentially impacted now or those that may be impacted in the future. LAs will have received a copy of each letter with the data scan on 17 September 2012. The 4 letter types are explained below.

 

3.   Letter A- will be posted to 'existing' (stock) cap cases (previously mailed in either May or July) who are currently over the cap threshold using current (2012) benefit award data. The letter will include a financial bandwidth to give an estimate of the affect on HB and will also signpost them to the helpline to ask for employment support if they now want to seek that help.

 

The bandwidths will be based on a weekly cap of either:

  • ‘up to £50’
  • ‘between £50 and £100’
  • ‘between £100 and £150’
  • ‘over £150’  

 

4.   Letter B- is for 'new' cap cases (i.e. not appeared on previous scans and therefore not previously mailed) who are over the cap threshold, using current (2012) benefit award data. This will also include the appropriate bandwidth and will inform the claimant that they will be contacted to discuss the offer of employment support 

 

5.   Letter C -  is for 'existing' (stock) cap cases (previously mailed in either May or July) who are currently under the cap threshold with their current benefit award data, but who are likely to be over the cap threshold with the April 2013 increase in benefit rates. This letter will not include a bandwidth as all of them would be affected by ‘up to £50’ but the majority will be much less than £50. All the letters advise the claimant to use the online calculator but this letter has the added message that they will need to repeat this when they know their benefit rates from April 2013. As with letter A we have asked the claimant to ring the helpline if they require employment support as it will have previously been offered.           

 

6.   Letter D-  is for 'new' cap cases i.e. not appeared on previous scans and therefore not previously mailed, who are under the cap threshold with their current benefit award data, but who are likely to be over the cap threshold with the April 2013 benefit rates. This letter is similar to letter C in that no bandwidth is used and we ask them to use the calculator again when they know what they will receive from April 2013 – however it informs the claimant that they will be contacted about employment support as this will not have been offered previously.

Funding LAs for additional work connected to the benefit cap

 

7. We are working on quantifying the additional work that the benefit cap will cause LAs. As soon as we have any decisions we will let LAs know. 
 

Planned solution for delivering the benefit cap

 

8.   The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is currently working in partnership with its own IT suppliers, the LA IT suppliers and LA practitioners to design and deliver an IT solution for applying the benefit cap. The proposed solution needs to be in place to deliver the cap from April 2013. We will provide more detail as soon as we have it. Guidance on delivering the benefit cap from April 2013 will be issued in due course.

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