|The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has written to local families who may be affected by the new benefit cap that will be introduced in April 2013. |
It is thought that up to 220 Basildon families could be affected by the governments plans that will see benefits capped to a maximum of £500 a week. Losses will range from £1 to £437 per week. Initial estimates suggest that the cap will result in £972,400 being taken out of the benefits system locally, 70% of which will be lost from the local economy.
The DWP letters set out the help that will be provided to get people into work as well as exemptions to the cap, online help and an information helpline.
The benefit cap will limit the amount of benefit couples and lone parent households can receive to around £500 a week or £26,000 a year – the equivalent of the average household income after tax or a gross household salary of £35,000.
Cllr Phil Turner, Basildon Council’s cabinet member for resources said that the local authority welcomed the new rules, but were committed to supporting the local community through the changes: “Welfare reform is now legislation and will come into force from April 2013.
“I am pleased that the DWP are writing to families a year in advance of the changes, and we will of course do all that we can to support those members of our community that are adversely affected.
“People should not be better off on benefits than at work, so these changes will be very tough on some people, but ultimately, they are fair.
“They will restore integrity to the welfare system and that has to be welcomed. We are looking into the potential problems that this could create for some of our local people and the affect it may have on the local economy. We will support and help those who struggle because of the new changes, and no member of our community who is in genuine need will be left high and dry.”
Families who have received a letter and want to speak to the DWP can call the helpline on 0845 605 7064 or textphone 0845 608 8551 for people with hearing or speech impairments
The helpline staff will provide general information about the changes and the support you can get but they will not have access to all of your benefit information.
The helpline is open from 8am to 6pm and will be available from today (9 May 2012).
You can also find more information online at www.direct.gov.uk/benefitcap