What is the benefit cap? How much is it? This page tells you about the benefit cap, including who is affected and who is exempt.
- What is the benefit cap?
- How does the benefit cap work?
- How much is the benefit cap?
- Benefit cap exemptions
- Which benefits are included in the benefit cap
- Which benefits aren’t included in the benefit cap?
- What to do if you’re affected by the benefit cap
- Get more information
What is the benefit cap?
If you’re aged 16 to 64, there might be a limit on the total amount of benefit your household can get. This is called the benefit cap. If your income is above this limit, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit might be reduced.
How does the benefit cap work?
If you’re getting certain benefits, there might be a limit to how much income you can get.
If your income goes above this amount, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is reduced until your income falls below the limit.
You will be exempt from the benefit cap if you are getting Working Tax Credit or some disability benefits.
If you’re not getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you won’t be affected by the benefit cap.
If you live in Northern Ireland
Find out more about the benefit cap in Northern Ireland on the nidirect website
How much is the benefit cap?
There are different limits, depending on whether you live in London or elsewhere. You might now be affected if you get more than the following amounts in benefit:
|Maximum benefit amount
|Who does this affect?
|£1,916.67 a month (£442.31 a week) in London ; £1,666.67 a month (£384.62 a week) outside London
|£1,284.17 a month (£296.35 a week) in London; £1,116.67 a month (£257.69 a week) outside London
|If you are a single person and either:
Check if you live in London on the London Councils website
Benefit cap exemptions
You won’t be affected by the benefit cap if you or your partner:
- work enough hours to get Working Tax Credit (even if you’re not claiming it)
- are over Pension Credit age
- get Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition stopping you from working, or because you care for someone with a disability
- get Universal Credit and your household’s monthly income is more than £520 after tax and National Insurance contributions.
You won’t be affected by the benefit cap if you, your partner or any children under 18 who are living with you, get any of these benefits:
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
- Guardian’s Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- War pensions
- War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension.
If you’re not claiming any of these benefits and think you might be entitled to, it might be worth making a claim.
Which benefits are included in the benefit cap
The following benefits are included when working out whether your total benefit income is more than the cap:
- Bereavement Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the Work Related Activity Group component)
- Housing Benefit
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension.
Which benefits aren’t included in the benefit cap?
- Bereavement payment (the new bereavement support payment will also be disregarded)
- Budgeting loans
- Cold weather payments
- Council tax reduction
- Discretionary housing payments
- Free school meals
- Funeral payments
- Pension credit
- Local Welfare Assistance payments (England)
- Scottish Welfare Fund payments
- Discretionary Assistance Fund payments (Wales)
- State Retirement Pension
- Statutory Adoption Pay
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Statutory Paternity Pay
- Statutory Shared Parental Pay
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Sure Start maternity grants.
What to do if you’re affected by the benefit cap
Watch our video - Worried about paying your rent?
Contact your landlord
If you’re worried about finding the money to pay your rent, the first thing you should do is to talk to your landlord to explain your situation and talk about what your options are.
If you rent a social housing property, your council or housing association might be able to offer you a cheaper property (if any are available).
Find out more about talking to your landlord on the Shelter website.
Apply to your local authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment
You might be able to apply to your council to help in the short term with a Discretionary Housing Payment.
- Find out more about Discretionary Housing Payments on the Turn2Us website
- Contact your local council to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment
Draw up a budget
If you don’t already have a household budget (a list of all your income and outgoings) then now’s the time to draw one up.
And if you do have a budget, you will need to see whether you can still make ends meet after your Housing Benefit is reduced.
- Go to our Budget planner to draw up a budget of all your household income and outgoings
- How to budget for a monthly benefit payment
Look at ways to cut costs
You might also find it useful to read some of our pages on saving money on household bills.
Get help with your job search
More about finding a job on the GOV.UK website.
Take on more work
You could also consider taking another job, or working more hours in your current job.
Read our guide Second job tax and pay to find out more about tax when you’re working more than one job.
Get more information
Find out more about the benefit cap on the GOV.UK website.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.