The benefit cap limits the total amount of benefit that working age people can receive.
The maximum total benefit cap is:
- £384.62 a week for couples or single parents with children
- £257.69 a week for single people.
How the benefit cap works
If, after adding together your total income from the following benefits your income is over the benefit cap, then your Housing Benefit will be reduced to bring your total benefits income down to the level of the cap. This will be shown on your Housing Benefit notification letter.
- Bereavement Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (except where it is paid with 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
- Widow's Pension Age Related
- Universal Credit (unless you’ve had a work capability assessment and aren’t fit for work).
If your amount of benefit over the cap is less than the amount of Housing Benefit you get, it will be deducted from your Housing Benefit so that you will receive less Housing Benefit.
For example: Your family receives a total of £400 a week in benefits, of which £150 is Housing Benefit. Your cap is £384.62, so you are £15.38 over which will be deducted from your Housing Benefit. You will receive only £134.62 Housing Benefit as part of your overall income of £384.62 (£150 Housing Benefit, less £15.38 ‘excess’ = £134.62 Housing Benefit).
If your amount of benefit over the cap is more than the amount of Housing Benefit you get, your Housing Benefit will be reduced to a set nominal sum of 50p a week.
For example: Your family receives a total of £600 a week in benefits, of which £150 is Housing Benefit. Your cap is £384.62, so you are £215.38 over which should be deducted from your Housing Benefit. But, as you only get £150 Housing Benefit, your Housing Benefit would be reduced by £149.50 to the set nominal amount of 50p.
You will not be affected by the cap if you, your partner or a dependent child who is living with you:
- receive any of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer's Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Guardian's Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits
- Employment and Support Allowance, if paid with the support component
- War Widow's or War Widower's Pension
- work and receive Working Tax Credit.
If you have been in employment for 52 weeks or more when you claim benefit you will be exempt from the cap for up to 39 weeks.
Find more about the benefit cap on the GOV.UK website