Benefit Cap

Use the benefit cap calculator to find out if you'll be affected, and how much your benefits could go down by.

The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get including the Housing Benefit award. The amount your household gets from some benefits might go down to make sure you do not get more than the cap limit.. 

How might it affect you?   

The Department for Work & Pensions will calculate the total of benefit received and then notify the Council if this total exceeds the Benefit Cap thresholds shown below. We will then be instructed to reduce the Housing Benefit payable on your claim by the amount that exceeds the Cap.

  • £257.69 for single people without children, or whose children don't live with them;
  • £384.62 for single parents whose children live with them; or
  • £384.62 for couples with or without children in the home

If you are affected, your Housing Benefit payment will reduce, so that the total amount of benefits is not above the level of the cap.

If you currently receive Universal Credit, the reduction will be taken from the housing costs element payable (no reduction is made to any childcare element).

The Department for Work & Pensions will write to you if you are affected by the above. Please notify us immediately of such a change.

Income used in this assessment

All of the following benefits will be used to assess the Benefit Cap:

You will not be affected by the cap if you are over pension age (currently the state retirement age for women) or if you or a member of your household (claimant, partner or any children you are responsible for and who live with you) receives one of the following benefits:

  • Working Tax Credits
  • Disability Living Allowance (Personal Independence Payment from April 2013)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • The support component of Employment Support Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits
  • War Widows and War Widowers pension
  • If you have been in employment for 53 weeks or more when you claim benefit you will also be exempt for up to 39 weeks
  • the support component of Employment Support Allowance
  • the limited capability for work and work related activity element of Universal Credit
  • Carers' Allowance (including underlying entitlement)
  • Guardians Allowance.

You should not also be affected if you live in supported accommodation - please ask us if this is unclear

You can use the calculator on the Government's website to check when you reach 'pension age'.

How will the Cap Work?

The Department for Work & Pensions will decide if you exceed the Benefit Cap and then notify the District Council. The Benefit Cap will be applied at the point that your Housing Benefit is awarded.

This means that the amount above the Benefit Cap will be deducted from the amount of Housing Benefit paid to you (or your landlord). We will write to you to tell you about this decision.

For example, a family receives £490 per week in benefits inclusive of £126 per week of Housing Benefit. Because they exceed the Cap (set at £384.62 per week), the amount in excess of the cap will be deducted from their Housing Benefit. Because total benefit income exceeds the cap by £105.38 per week, Housing Benefit will reduce to £20.62 per week.

If you receive such a letter, please contact the Benefits Section.

What help is available to me?

The decision to 'cap' your benefit is one made by Jobcentre Plus and not the Council. 
  • If you consider the calculation of the Benefit Cap is incorrect i.e. you think the DWP has made a mistake - please tell the Benefits Section and we will be happy to write to the DWP to check this;
  • Where the Benefit Cap is calculated correctly and Housing Benefit has been reduced, you can request that we pay a Discretionary Housing Payment to reduce any resultant hardship. 
  • Citizen Advice Bureau may be able to help in completing a 'benefit health check' to see if other benefits or allowances may be claimed to take you out of Benefit Cap.

Please contact the Benefits Section for further advice or clarification where required.