The benefit cap

Money Advice Service

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?

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
  • If your household is made up of a couple (with or without children), or
  • If you are a lone parent (and you have children living with you who you are responsible for when working out your Housing Benefit)
£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:

  • You have no children, or
  • You don’t have children living with you who you are responsible for when working out your Housing Benefit

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?

Read a transcript of this video

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).

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.

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.

Look at ways to cut costs

You might also find it useful to read some of our pages on saving money on household bills.

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.

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Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

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