The Benefits Cap sets a limit on the total amount in benefits that most working-age people can claim. It applies to the benefits you get as a household. This means that benefits received by you, your partner and dependent children who live with you are all included.
The total amount you can claim in benefits has recently reduced to £384.62 per week for single parents and couples with or without children, and £257.69 per week for single people.
You will not be affected if you are working enough hours to get Working Tax Credit, or if you're on Universal Credit and you're earning £430 or more a month.
You’re also exempt if you or your family receive
- Disability living allowance
- Personal independence payment
- Support Group Employment and Support Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits
- War widows or widowers' benefits
- Carers Allowance
These benefits count towards the Cap:
- Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit
- Income support
- Jobseeker's allowance (JSA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (unless you’re in the support group)
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Widowed Parent's Allowance
- Bereavement Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Widowed Mother's Allowance
If you are affected by the Benefit Cap, and are on Housing Benefit, your award will be cut - for some to as little as 50p a week. Your other benefits cannot be cut.
The rules are different under Universal Credit, which is a single benefit replacing Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. If you are on Universal Credit then your total benefit (and not just the housing element) will be cut to reduce it to the maximum allowed in the Benefit Cap.
If you're affected you must pay the shortfall between your rent and your Housing Benefit.
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit you must make sure that your rent is paid, even if the housing element does not cover this.
Please contact us if you need support and advice.