Last Night the BBC showed this programme: BemThousands on 50p-a-week housing benefit, Panorama finds.
More than 7,500 households have lost their housing benefit and instead receive a nominal 50p a week because of the welfare cap, the BBC has found.
A Panorama survey of hundreds of councils shows at least 67,600 homes in England, Scotland and Wales have lost some money due to the policy.
The cap is £23,000 in London and £20,000 in the rest of the country.
The nominal amount is paid so that those households can claim access to an emergency fund if they need to.
They have to be in receipt of some housing benefit in order to be eligible to apply for discretionary housing payments, a special government fund set up for those particularly affected by the cap.
The cap is part of the government’s drive to get unemployed people back into employment by cutting out-of-work benefits.
The amount of money above the limit is taken from either housing benefit or Universal Credit.
The Mirror, a paper which has consistently stood up for us lot, reports on this,
Tories’ benefit cap leaves thousands of families left with just 50p a week for rent
People have been made homeless and separated from their children as a result of the new welfare rules, according to a BBC Panorama probe
And in a further story,
Unemployed mother-of-four receives just 50p A WEEK to cover rent after Tory housing benefit cap changes
Desperate Kim Carmichael was threatened with eviction at the start of the year and says her life has altered dramatically as a result of the government’s adjustments
They used to get £500 a week in benefits to look after their four children but their payments were cut by £120 in November under the changes.
They say their rent used to be covered by housing benefit but that has since been cut to the minimum amount.
Steve said: “Now it’s only 50p a week – so that’s £2 a month, which they may as well keep. It costs more to send a letter out.”
The family was threatened with eviction at the end of January because of their rent arrears.
They then got a payment from a special government fund set up to help those who have been affected by the cap.
But this payment also ran out at the end of March and they will now have to apply for more money. If they don’t get it, they could lose their home.
The government says the benefit cap tries to level up “the playing field between families who are in work and who are reliant on benefits.”
The misery the government is inflicting specifically through Universal Credit is spread wider.
Serious stories are appearing in the better regional papers.
This is from the Chronicle, Newcastle.
How much money do people claiming Universal Credit benefits actually get?
We look at how people live on the benefit, which has now been rolled out across Newcastle
Last week, we reported on Newcastle City Council’s fears over the impact of a new benefits system on some vulnerable people in the city.
The city is one of the first in the country where the Universal Credit system has been rolled out in full — but what does that actually mean for the people who rely on it?
The whole article is worth reading, but the concluding bit stands out,
According to DWP figures, in Newcastle there were just over 5,000 people claiming Universal Credit as of February 9.
Of these, the majority, around 2,717 were looking for work.
But 1,484 claimants were working.
On top of that, 488 people had no requirement to look for work, while a handful more were classed as “preparing for work” or “planning for work”.
But it’s not quite that simple
According to Donna, some people may be struggling to claim everything they’re entitled to.
One of the big problems is for those who’ve been used to claiming housing benefit, which goes directly to their landlords, and now have to pay themselves out of their monthly claim.
They may not have the right documents to show what they’re paying in rent – someone who signed a tenancy agreement ten years ago is unlikely to be paying the same amount now, for example.
Donna said: “Some people are putting themselves in financial hardship because they don’t know what they can claim. If you’re unsure, talk to your landlord.
On top of that, one of the major issues some claimants face is the up to six week wait before payments start – for people who’ve lost work and don’t have an alternative source of cash, this wait could prove a very difficult time, with people claiming food parcels or even racking up debts to tide them over.