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Benefits Cap

1. Child Tax Credit 2. Housing Benefit 3. Income Support
4. Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) 5. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) 6. Working Tax Credits
7. Universal Credit 8. Benefit Cap

7. Benefit Cap

Benefits Cap is used to limit the total amount of benefits most people get between 16-64 years of age.  The amount your household receives in certain benefits may reduce so you don't go over the limit.  To find out if you will be affected, you can use the Benefits Calculator.  The benefits cap affects:

  • Bereavement Allowance;
  • Child Benefit;
  • Child Tax Credit;
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA);
  • Housing Benefit;
  • Incapacity Benefit;
  • Income Support;
  • Jobseekers Allowance (JSA);
  • Maternity Allowance;
  • Severe Disablement Allowance;
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance (or Widowed Mother's Allowance or Widow Pension if you started getting it before 9th April 2001);
  • Universal Credit


When am I not affected?

You will not be affected by the Benefits Cap if you or your partner:

  • Work enough hours to get Working Tax Credit (even if not claiming for it);
  • Are over the Pension Credit Age;
  • Currently get Universal Credit due to a disability or health condition that stops you from working (limited capability for work and work-related activity);
  • Currently receive Universal Credit due to caring for someone with a disability;
  • Currently receive Universal Credit and you and your partner earn more than £520 a month together (this is after tax and National Insurance contributions)

You will also not be affected if you, your partner or any children under 18 living with you receives:

  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme;
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment;
  • War Pension;
  • War Widow's or War Widower's Pension;
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits;
  • Attendance Allowance;
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)- only if you get the support component;
  • Guardian's Allowance;
  • Carer's Allowance;
  • Disability Living Allowance (CLA)


How much do I have to earn to be exempt?

The cap changed in April 2017.  Now, how much you earn to be exempt depends on your age.  You are exempt if you are:

Age Per Week Earnings    Per Month Earnings 
Apprenticeship   £54.40 £235.73
Under 18 £63.00 £277.33
18-20 £88.80 £384.80
21-24 £111.20 £481.87
25+  £115.20 £499.20


How much is the Benefit Cap?

The current Benefit Cap (for outside Greater London) is:

Situation   Cap Per Week    Cap Per Month 
Couples and Lone Parents  £384.62 £1,666.67
Single and don't have children, or children don't live with you     £257.69 £1,116.67


I am affected by the Benefits Cap - What are my Options?

If you find yourself being affected by the cap, you can look into making sure you are claiming for everything you are entitled to as some benefits do not get affected by the cap.  You can check this by searching for all the benefits and using the Benefits Cap Calculator.

Increase Work Hours

You may want to increase your work hours, if this is a possibility, so that you become exempt from the cap.  If you are still unsure then you can find out more about exemptions by looking at the Benefit Cap - Will I be affected by the Benefit Cap? page. 

Housing Benefit

As Housing Benefit, or the Housing Element of the Universal Credit, is part of the Benefit Cap, you may be able to apply to your local council for Discretionary Housing Payment if you find yourself struggling to pay your rent. 

If this is something that will affect you long term, you may have to look into moving to a cheaper/smaller accommodation or speak to your landlord to agree a rent reduction. 


Further Advice

For further advice please contact your Jobcentre Plus and speak to an advisor or find an adviser within your area to help with benefits or taking other steps to increase your income. 

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