The Benefit Cap - what you need to know

The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can get if you are of working age.

The Benefit Cap only affects you if you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If the cap affects you, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is reduced.

 

How will the Benefit Cap affect you?

You can use the benefit cap calculator on GOV.UK to find out how it impacts you.

If the cap applies to you, the amount of money you get above the Benefit Cap limit will be taken off your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit which will reduce the amount of benefit you receive.

This will only affect you if you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. No deductions will be made from your other benefits because of the cap. So, if you don’t receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, your benefits can’t be capped.

It's important to know the Benefit Cap doesn't apply to everyone - some people are exempt (see below for more information).

 

How much is the cap?

If you're getting Housing Benefit, the cap is:

  • £500 a week if you're a couple - with or without dependent children.
  • £500 a week if you're a lone parent with dependent children.
  • £350 a week if you're a single person without children.

From 7 November 2016, there are different rates for the Benefit Cap - one for Greater London and one for the rest of the country.

If you’re getting Housing Benefit, the cap outside Greater London is:

  • £384.62 a week if you’re a couple - with or without dependent children.
  • £384.62 a week if you’re a lone parent with dependent children.
  • £257.69 a week if you’re a single person without children.

If you're getting Housing Benefit, the cap in Greater London is:

  • £442.31 a week if you're a couple - with or without dependent children.
  • £442.31 a week if you're a lone parent with dependent children.
  • £296.35 a week if you're a single person without children.

If you don’t receive enough Housing Benefit, the cap won’t be applied in full.

However, some people could lose all their Housing Benefit, except for a nominal amount of 50p which will continue to be paid.

 

Who is exempt from the cap?

Some people are exempt from the Benefit Cap. This means their benefit isn't capped, even if their benefit income is above the limit of the cap.

For example, your benefit won't be capped if:

  • You get Working Tax Credit.
  • You get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.
  • You have reached the age for getting Pension Credit - although you may not be exempt if you're a couple where one of you is above this age and one of you isn't.

Please note this is not a complete list of exemptions.

 

Which benefits are included in the cap?

The cap applies to your household income from most benefits, including Child Tax Credit. However, there are some benefits which the cap doesn't apply to. These benefits are ignored when working out your total benefit income.

 

What can you do if you are affected by the cap?

If your benefit income is capped, your options are limited. However, there may be ways of making up any shortfall. For example, are there any benefits you can claim which aren't included in the cap? Can you or a member of your household claim any benefit that would exempt you from the cap?

If you're receiving housing benefit, you can find more information about the Benefit Cap, including a useful online calculator, on the GOV.UK website www.gov.uk/benefit-cap