What is the Benefit Cap?

The benefit cap limits the amount you can be paid if you claim certain benefits. It applies to people of working age. People of pension age are exempt.

When all your benefits are calculated, your housing benefit or universal credit is reduced so your total benefits don't go above the benefit cap limit of £385 each week.

The benefit cap is worked out:bc

  • weekly if you get housing benefit
  • monthly if you get universal credit

The weekly amounts are:

  • Couple (with or without children) or a single parent:  £384.62 per week  
  • Single person without children or not living with your children:  £257 per week

The cap applies to the benefits you get as a household. It includes benefits received by you, your partner and any dependent children who live with you.

What you need to do is add all the benefits you receive from the following list.

Benefits included in the cap

The benefit cap calculation includes these benefits:

  • Housing benefit
  • income support
  • jobseeker's allowance
  • employment and support allowance (unless you are in the support group)
  • incapacity benefit
  • child benefit and child tax credits
  • maternity benefits and widows benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • severe disablement allowance
  • universal credit

The benefit cap doesn't apply if you or your partner:

  • receive working tax credits
  • work enough hours to claim working tax credits

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, the benefit cap won't apply for the first 39 weeks of your claim. You must have been employed for 50 out of the last 52 weeks. Time working abroad or on zero-hours contracts counts for this.

You are exempt from the benefit cap if you, your partner or children receive certain benefits and some benefits and payments don't count towards the benefit cap – see the link for the list of these.