The Benefit Cap

What is the Benefit Cap?

In 2013, a limit was introduced to cap the total amount of benefit (including Housing Benefit) that an out-of-work household could receive. The cap was then reduced in November 2016.

Benefits that are counted

The cap applies to the total amount of money that the people in your household get from the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (unless you get the support component)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widows Pension you started getting before 9 April 2001)

Benefits that are not counted

  • Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Council Tax support / reduction
  • Budgeting loans / advances
  • Child Maintenance Payments
  • Winter Fuel Payments
  • Statutory Maternity / Paternity / Adoption pay
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Housing Benefit for supported accommodation
  • Bereavement Support Payment

How much is the Benefit Cap currently?

The current weekly Benefit Cap is set at:

  • £384.62 a week for single parents and couples with children
  • £257.69 a week for single people

The cap applies to the benefits you get as a household, which includes benefits received by you, your partner and dependant children who live with you. Your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced to ensure that you do not get more than the benefit cap level.

Who won’t be affected?

You won’t be affected by the benefit cap if anyone in your household qualifies for Working Tax Credit or gets any of the following benefits:

  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
  • Employment and Support Allowance, if you get the support component
  • War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension
  • War pensions
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Universal Credit (if it includes the Limited Capacity for Work-Related Activity Component)

What to do if you will be affected

If you think you will be affected by the Benefit Cap changes, please contact one of our Tenancy Sustainment Officers, who may be able to help you by:

  • Referring you to our Employment, Support and Training team, who can offer you assistance with practical job hunting help and tailored training programmes. They can also help to boost your confidence, self-esteem and presentation skills.
  • Helping you to look at your income and outgoings to see if you can save any money to account for the benefit changes.
  • Checking whether you can make savings on your energy or water bill.
  • Referring you to one of our Welfare Benefit Advisers to check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to.
  • Referring you to external agencies such as the Citizens Advice Bureau or Payplan, if you are struggling with debts.
  • Assisting you with applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment to help you cover your housing costs in the short term.


Thanks to for the information on this page. Page last updated 21 March 2018.

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