Benefit cap

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

The Benefit Cap will only affect you if you’re getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If the cap affects you, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit is reduced.

How much is the cap?
If you’re getting Housing Benefit, the cap from 7th November 2016 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 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.

Benefits which are included in the cap
The cap will apply if the amount you receive from any of the following benefits when added together are more than the Benefit Cap:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance – except where it’s paid with the support component
  • Housing Benefit – although there are some exceptions
  • 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 cap?
The following benefits aren’t included when working out whether your total benefit income is more than the cap:

  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Pension Credit
  • State Retirement Pension
  • one off payments made by your local authority to help you out in a crisis
  • Winter Fuel and Cold Weather Payments
  • a short term benefit advance from the DWP to help you out over a crisis until your first benefit payment
  • non-cash benefits, for example, free school meals
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Statutory Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, Adoption Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Pay.

Some benefits are not included in either of the above lists because they exempt you from the Benefit Cap altogether.

Exemption from the Benefit Cap if you get certain benefits
The Benefit Cap won’t apply if either you or your partner get any of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • the support component of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or armed forces compensation scheme
  • War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Guardian’s Allowance

You will also be exempt from the Benefit Cap if a child or young person for whom you are responsible gets:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Carer’s Allowance (even if it’s not actually being paid because they’re entitled to another benefit instead)
  • Guardian’s Allowance

What to do if you are affected by the Benefit Cap
Talk to us – we have a dedicated team who can help and advise you including helping you apply for Discretionary Housing Payment to help you pay your rent in the short term.  Our Welfare Reform Transition Team can be contacted on 0800 0280350.