A limit known as the Benefit Cap has been introduced by central government to the total amount of benefit working age people can receive.  

 

Who does it apply to?

 

The cap will not affect you if:

 

  • you, or your partner, are of Pension Credit qualifying age​​​​​​External link opens in a new window , or
  • You, your partner, or your dependent child gets Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.
  • you, or your partner, have recently finished work. You will be exempt for 39 weeks from the date you stopped working, or
  • you, or your partner, get any of the following:

    • Employment and Support Allowance (support component),
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Carer’s Allowance
    • Guardian's Allowance
    • Industrial Injuries Benefit 
    • A War Pension
    • Armed Forces Independence Payment
    • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Payments
    • Universal Credit, but only if:

    1. The award includes a Limited Capability for Work element, or
    2. You and your partner (if you have one) have gross earnings of at least £430 per month, or
    3. The award includes Carer's costs.

 


If you think that you meet the qualifying conditions for any of these benefits then make sure you claim them as this will mean the cap will not apply to you.

 

What is the limit?


 

  • £257.69 a week for single adults, and
  • £384.62 a week for couples and families.

The Benefit Cap reduced on 7th November 2016. Existing caps will be amended and families newly affected by the cap will be notified over the coming months.​ 


What income will be taken into account?

 

Income from these benefits will be added up:

 

  • Housing Benefit  
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance   
  • Income Support 
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except where Support component is awarded)
  • Universal Credit 
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Widowed Parents Allowance 
  • Widow’s Pension
  • Widowed Mother's Allowance
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Bereavement Support Payment

  

     

    If the total is more than the maximum amount allowed, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced.

     

    Only benefits in the list above will be counted.

     

    Can I claim Working Tax Credit?

     

    You can get Working Tax Credit if you or your partner work enough hours a week and your income is low enough. You do not need to have children to qualify.  

     

    How many hours must I work to claim Working Tax Credit?

    Circumstance

    Hours a week

    Age 25 to 59

    At least 30 hours

    Age 60 or over

    At least 16 hours

    Disabled

    At least 16 hours

    Single with 1 or more children

    At least 16 hours

    Couple with 1 or more children

    Usually, at least 24 hours* (with one of you working at least 16 hours)

     

    *There are exceptions to the 24 hour rule, use the tax credit calculator External link opens in a new window to check if you work the right number of hours.

     

    Find out more about Working Tax Credits External link opens in a new window on the central government website.

     

    Finding work could mean that the cap will not apply to you as if you qualify for Working Tax credit you will not be affected by these new rules.

     

    What can I do now?

    Visit one of our Hubs and Housing Offices​ where we can help you to:


     

    If you are worried about paying your rent you should ask for advice now. If you do not pay your rent you could lose your home, so talk to your landlord.


     

     

    National Advice


     

    You can use the benefit cap calculator External link opens in a new window to get an idea of how the cap will affect you.

     

    Get more information about the cap on benefits and help on finding work by calling:

     

    The Government’s information line: 0345 605 7064

    or text phone 0345 608 8551

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