Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of (a) universal credit and (b) working tax credit have been affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to those benefits in response to the covid-19 outbreak; and how many children are resident in the households of those claimants so affected.

Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate the Government has made of the number of (a) kinship carers and (b) children raised in kinship care that have been affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to welfare benefits in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

i) Entitlement to Working Tax Credit provides an exemption to the application of the benefit cap. Therefore, no benefit cap implications apply to Working Tax Credit claimants. There are a range of exemptions for when the cap should not be applied, including exemptions for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits. Information relating to Universal Credit claimants affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to Universal Credit in response to the covid-19 outbreak is not readily available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs. ii) No estimate has been made of the number of kinship carers or children raised in kinship care households that have been affected by the benefit cap as a result of the temporary increase made to welfare benefits. The Government acknowledges the immense value of care given by family and friend carers who look after children whose parents are unable to provide the necessary care themselves. The Special Guardian’s Allowance which may be awarded to a kinship carer to support the long term placement for children is disregarded when calculating the benefit cap.

Claimants can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment from their Local Authority if they need additional help with rental costs. Kinship carers are listed in Local Authority Guidance as one of the priority groups for Discretionary Housing Payments.

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