New figures have revealed more than 2,000 households in the North West had their benefits capped by November 2013 - including nearly 150 in Preston and its surrounding areas.
Capping benefits so households can no longer get more in benefits than the average family earns is one of the Coalition Government’s key strategies.
The Department for Work and Pensions said the scheme was part of its long-term economic plan to make sure it “delivers for hardworking people” and fixes “the broken welfare system”.
Almost 33,000 households in Britain had their benefits capped by November 2013, including 2,292 in the North West.
This number includes 41 in Preston, 11 in South Ribble, 19 in Chorley, 15 in West Lancashire, 26 in Wyre, 32 in Lancaster and two in the Ribble Valley.
Manchester with 363, Liverpool with 176, and Bolton with 139 were the local authorities most affected by capping in the region.
Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, said: “These figures show the benefit cap is returning fairness to the system by ensuring families on benefits can no longer get more money than the average family earns. It is not right that some families on benefits were receiving amounts of money that hardworking taxpayers could only dream of and our welfare reforms are working to fix the system.
“By exempting people who are receiving Working Tax Credit, the benefit cap is increasing incentives to move into work and we already know that around 19,000 claimants potentially affected by the benefit cap have found jobs.”
The benefit cap was implemented nationally in Autumn 2013.
Local authorities continued to cap claimants after the rollout using new data, which highlighted other households whose benefit income rose above average household earnings.
The benefit cap limits welfare hand-outs to £500 a week for couples, with or without children, and lone parent households, and at £350 a week for households of a single adult with no children.
It applies to combined income from the main out-of-work benefits, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit, and other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit and Carer’s Allowance.
In recognition of their additional needs, all households which include somebody who is receiving the following benefits are exempt from the cap: Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Industrial Injuries Benefit, War Disablement Pension and the equivalent payments from the Armed Forces Compensation Payments Scheme, Attendance Allowance, the support component of Employment and Support Allowance and War Widows or Widowers Pension.
There is a ‘grace period’ during which the benefit cap will not be applied for 39 weeks to those who have been continuously in work for the previous 12 months.