Fifteen families receive £26,000 or more a year in benefits – and would have their payments cut if the UK’s £500 a week cap was introduced here.
And no fewer than 61 claimants would see their handouts reduced if that cap was set at £400 a week.
The figures were released by the social security division after the Manx Independent submitted an access to government information request.
We asked: ‘How many existing claimants would be impacted if a benefit cap similar to the one which exists in the UK was introduced in the Isle of Man (a) at £26,000 and (b) at £20,000, and of those that would be impacted how many have dependent children?’
A limit on benefit payments of £26,000 (£500 a week or £350 for childless single adults) was introduced in July last year by the Coalition government in the UK.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is considering cutting that cap to £20,000.
In his reply, Darrin Oldam, deputy director of social security policy and legislation, said: ‘I can confirm that if a benefits cap similar in nature to the one which currently exists in the UK was adopted in the island then, based on current entitlements, 15 claimants would be impacted. This assumes the cap would maximise “specified benefits” to £500 per week (£26,000 per annum).
‘If a benefits cap similar to the one which currently exists in the UK was adopted in the island, but which maximised “specified benefits” to £400 per week (£20,800 per annum) then, based on current entitlements, 61 claimants would be impacted (including the 15 claimants whose reckonable benefits exceeds £500 per week).’
All of these claimants have dependent children – and so the figures include child benefit, he said.
Other specified benefits include income support, jobseeker’s allowance, incapacity benefit, bereavement allowance, carer’s allowance, guardian’s allowance, maternity allowance, severe disablement allowance, widowed mother’s allowance, widowed parent’s allowance and widow’s pension.
The benefit cap would not apply to any family or individual of state pension age or in receipt of employed person’s allowance, disability living allowance, industrial injuries benefit or a war pension.
To be entitled to employed person’s allowance a person must, among other things, work for a minimum number of hours a week – for lone parents this is 16 hours a week, in the case of couples, generally speaking, it is 30 hours a week.
Mr Oldam said compiling the data was not a straightforward matter as the benefit payments system database does not record household relationships, whereas the application of the benefit cap is dependent on household income.
Generally speaking, for income-related benefits only one member of a couple will claim the benefit and that person will receive all the allowances applicable to their family, including their partner and children.
The figures released by the social security division account for couples’ joint benefit income, as this is how the benefits cap operates in the UK.