The Benefit Cap

The Benefit Cap is a cap on the amount of benefits an individual/family is entitled to receive. The Benefit Cap only affects people getting Housing Benefit/Universal Credit.

Currently the capped amounts are:

Outside London

£384.62 for a couple (with or without children) or a single parent

£257.69 for a single person without children

Inner London

£442.31 for a couple (with or without children) or a single parent

£296.35 for a single person without children.

The cap applies to household benefits and includes benefits received by you, your partner and any dependant children.

How the Cap is Calculated

The cap applies to people of working age. People of pension age are currently exempt although this may change in the future.

When all your benefits are added together any amount over the cap is taken from your Housing Benefit/Universal Credit.

Benefits Included In The Cap

The benefits included in the cap are:

  • Housing benefit (unless you live in supported housing)
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except where you receive the support component)
  • Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Maternity benefits and widows benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Benefits NOT Included

The benefits not included in the cap are:

  • Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Pension Credit
  • State Retirement Pension
  • Free school meals
  • Crisis Loans
  • Winter Fuel and Cold Weather Payments
  • Short Term Benefit Advances
  • Bereavement Payments
  • Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption payments
  • Statutory Sick Pay

Exemption From The Cap

If you are exempt from the cap, this means that you won’t lose any benefit even if your income is higher than the cap.

You will be exempt from the cap if you/your partner are working enough hours to be eligible for Working Tax Credit / are claiming Working Tax Credits.

You will also be exempt of you, your partner or your children are in receipt of:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Attendance Allowance (AA)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • The Support Component of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits
  • War Widows' or Widowers' Pension
  • War Disablement Pension
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Carer’s Element of Universal Credit
  • Guardian's Allowance

Grace Period

A grace period of 39 weeks is applied to those people who have worked for at least 50 of the 52 weeks leading up to the last day of employment and:have not claimed Jobseekers Allowance, Universal Credit, Income Support or Tax Credits in the last year of employment.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions, the Frequently Asked Questions might provide the information you need.