What is it?
The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of income you can receive from certain benefits.
The amount your household gets from certain benefits may be reduced to ensure you do not receive more than the benefit cap.
How much is the benefit cap?
The amount at which your benefits will be capped depends on your circumstances. The current benefit cap levels are:
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you're in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
- £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you're single and your children live with you
- £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you're single and you do not have children, or your children do not live with you
These amounts include housing costs (housing benefit and local housing allowance).
Which benefits are affected by the cap?
The benefit cap affects the combined income from all of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Bereavement Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widow’s Pension if you started getting it before 9 April 2001)
The income you get from any other benefits is not taken into account for the benefit cap.
Who is affected by the cap?
The benefit cap applies to most people aged 16 or over who have not yet reached state pension.
Mixed age couples
Usually, if you have reached state pension age the benefit cap will not apply but if your partner is under state pension age then the benefit cap will apply, unless of course, you are exempt from the cap for any other reason.
Who is not affected by the cap?
You are not affected by the cap if any of the following circumstances apply to you (or your partner if you have one):
- you get Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition that stops you from working (this is called ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’)
- you get Universal Credit because you care for someone with a disability
- you get Universal Credit and you and your partner have a combined household income of at least £604 a month, after tax and National Insurance contributions
- you get any Working Tax Credit
You’re also not affected by the cap if you, your partner or any children under 18 living with you gets any of the following 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
Can I challenge the decision?
You can challenge a decision about the benefit cap if you are unhappy with it or believe it is wrong.
Find out how to challenge a decision.