Benefit Capping

What is the benefit cap?

The cap means there is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. The limits of the cap will reduce substantially from Autumn 2016.

What is the new limit of the cap?

  • £384.61 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
  • £384.61 a week for single parents whose children live with them
  • £257.69 a week for single adults who don't have children, or whose children don't live with them

Who won't it affect?

You are exempt from the cap if you:

  • get Working Tax Credit
  • get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
  • have reached the age for getting Pension Credit (although you may not be exempt if you are a couple where one is above this age, and the other is below this age)
  • get Guardians Allowance
  • get Carer's Allowance
  • Universal Credit claimants who recieve payments towards carer's costs

You can find a complete list of exemptions at www.gov.uk/benefit-cap

How much might you lose?

This depends on your circumstances. You can use a benefits calculator to work this out. Visit www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

How can you escape the impact?

If you work enough hours to claim Working Tax Credit then the cap won't apply to you, even if you don't get it becuase your income is too high.

Check if anyone in your household gets one of the benefits that mean the cap won't apply to you, or that some of your benefits won't be counted.

Also consider whether your circumstances are likely to change soon. For example, do you have a child that will soon be treated as financially independent from you? When this happens, your benefits may bring you under the limit of the cap. if you are expecting a baby, your benefits might go up, which means you may go over the limit of the 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 (unless you get the support 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

The following benefits will NOT be included when working out your total benefit payment

  • Bereavement Payment
  • Discretionary Housing Payment
  • Help with Council Tax (for example from your local council’s support scheme)
  • Pension Credit
  • Residency order payments
  • Social Fund payments (for example Budgeting Loans, Cold Weather Payments, Funeral Payments)
  • Short Term Advances while you wait for your first benefit payment
  • State Retirement Pension
  • Winter Fuel Payment
  • one-off payments made by your local authority to help you out in a crisis
  • non-cash benefits, for example, free school meals
  • Statutory Pay (for example Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay or Adoption Pay)

If you want to see if the benefit capping will effect you go to the Benefit Cap Information website