By Daniel Hunter

The benefit cap started today (Monday) in four London boroughs — as the move to set a clear limit on benefits takes effect.

Claimants in Haringey, Enfield, Croydon and Bromley will see their benefit claims limited to £500 a week — or £26,000 a year — for couples and those with children and at £350 a week for single people.

The benefit cap will be implemented nationally from 15 July with all appropriate households capped by the end of September.

"The benefit cap is a key part of our reforms to restore fairness to the welfare state," Secretary for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said.

"It will provide clear incentives for people to get into employment and will give taxpayers the assurance that high claims out are no longer possible.

"We have also ensured vulnerable people are protected with clear exceptions for people claiming disability benefits.

"But we have a very clear message: we will provide support to those who need it, but the days of outrageous claims giving people incomes far above those of hard working families are over."

The cap will apply to combined income from the main out-of-work benefits; jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Employment Support Allowance - and other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit and Carer’s Allowance.

The benefit cap will not affect a household if a member is entitled to Working Tax Credit, increasing the incentive to find work.

All households which include somebody who is receiving Disability Living Allowance will be exempt as will those who receive a War Widow’s or Widower's Pension.

The benefit cap will not be applied for 39 weeks to those who have been continuously in work for the previous 12 months.

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