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Benefits cap

There is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits most working age households can get. This is called a benefit cap. You are of 'working age' if you are under the qualifying age for Pension Credit.

The Government will add up how much money you get from a range of benefits that include:

  • Housing benefit
  • Universal Credit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Widowed Mother’s Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance

If the total comes to more than the most allowed we will reduce your housing benefit.

The most you can get

From November 2016, the maximum amount of benefit you can get will be limited to:

  • £384.62 a week (£20,000 a year) for single parents
  • £384.62 a week (£20,000 a year) for couples with or without children
  • £257.69 a week (£13,400 a year) for single people without children

This will not apply to you if:

  • you get Pension Credit or Working Tax Credit
  • someone in your household is claiming Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or the support part of Employment and Support Allowance

The cap won’t apply if you’re responsible for a child or young person gets Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence payment or an Armed Forces Independence Payment.

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

  • receive Working Tax Credits
  • work enough hours to claim working tax credits

Use the tax credits calculator to check if you're eligible.

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.

If you claim Universal Credit, you won't be affected by the cap if you or your partner are in work and your joint take-home pay is at least £520 per month.