Benefit Cap

Since July 2013 there has been a limit on the total amount of benefit a household can receive.

From 7 November 2016, for working-age households, the total household welfare payments have been capped to:

  • £384.62 per week if you're in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
  • £384.62 per week if you're single and your children live with you
  • £257.69 per week if you're single and you don't have any children, or your children don't live with you.

If you are affected your Housing Benefit will be reduced to make sure that the total amount of benefit you receive isn’t more than the cap level.

You may be able to get some additional support for your housing costs through a Discretionary Housing Payment

Benefits included in the cap:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except when in the support group)
  • Guardian's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Reduced Earnings Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance

Benefits that aren't included

You're not affected by the cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the Support Component)
  • Guardian's Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • University Credit payments towards carer's costs or limited capability for work and work-related activity
  • War Pensions
  • War Widow's or War Widower's Pension

If you have adult children or non-dependants living with you and they qualify for any of these benefits, you may be affected by the cap. This is because they’re not usually included in your household.

What it could mean for you

You may receive less benefit as there’s a limit to the overall amount of benefit you can claim. So the more benefits you receive, the bigger the cut in your benefit. Use the welfare reform calculator to see how you could be affected.

Preparing for the changes

Here are some things you may wish to consider:-

  • Talking to your landlord - negotiate a rent reduction to one which is more affordable
  • Finding a cheaper home to rent - moving to cheaper accommodation
  • Getting a bank account - How to open a bank account, what you need to think about and more
  • Opening a bank account with a direct debit facility - if you haven’t already got a bank account you may want to open one to help you manage your money each month. This will mean you can pay bills by direct debit or standing order so you know what you are paying and when, and you can have your wages, benefits or cheques paid into your account directly
  • Contacting an advice agency for help on how to manage your money, for example the Money Advice Service

Further information

The Department for Work and Pensions administer this benefit and has comprehensive information available on the GOV.UK website.

Last updated 1 April 2020

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