The Benefit Cap - What you need to know

The Benefit Cap was introduced on Monday 28th November 2016 and there are now changes to the amount of benefit people can recieve.

If tenants are getting Housing Benefit, the cap (outside London) is: 

  • £384.62 a week if you’re a couple - with or without dependent children

  • £384.62 a week if you’re a lone parent with dependent children

  • £257.69 a week if you’re a single person without children

Working out whether the cap applies to you and your family, or how much it might affect you by can be confusing, and it's important that you get in touch with our Welfare Advisors to discuss exactly what it means for you, and what you need to do.

If the cap applies, it might mean that your Housing Benefit no longer covers your rent, and you will need to make arrangements to make sure you don't fall into arrears. 

If you are worried that you might have been affected by the Benefit cap please get in touch - we will be able to calculate the financial implication and give you advice on your options.

Who is exempt from the cap?

Some people are exempt from the Benefit Cap. This means their benefit isn't capped, even if their benefit income is above the limit of the cap.

For example benefit won't be capped if:

  • you get Working Tax Credit

  • you get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment

  • you have reached the age for getting Pension Credit - although you may not be exempt if you're in a couple where one of you is above this age and one of you isn't.

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

  • Attendance Allowance

  • The support component of Employment and Support Allowance

  • Industrial Injuries Benefit and equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or armed forces compensation scheme

  • War Widow's or Widower's Pension.

  • Carer’s Allowance or

  • Guardian’s Allowance

You will also be exempt from the Benefit Cap if a child or young person for whom you are responsible gets:

  • Disability Living Allowance

  • Personal Independence Payment

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

The Benefit Cap and Housing Benefit - which benefits are included?

The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can get if you're of working age. The Benefit Cap only affects people getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

The cap will apply to your household income from most benefits, including Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit. However, there are some benefits which the cap doesn't apply to.

The Benefit Cap - which benefits are included in the cap?

The cap will apply to your combined income from:

  • Bereavement Allowance

  • Child Benefit

  • Child Tax Credit

  • Employment and Support Allowance - except where it's paid with the support component

  • Housing Benefit - although there are some exceptions

  • Incapacity Benefit

  • Income support

  • Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Maternity Allowance

  • Severe Disablement Allowance

  • Widowed Parent's Allowance

  • Widowed Mother's Allowance

  • Widow's Pension.

Which benefits aren't included in the cap?

The following benefits aren't included when working out whether your total benefit income is more than the cap:

  • Council Tax Reduction

  • Pension Credit

  • State Retirement Pension

  • one off payments made by your local authority to help you out in a crisis

  • Winter Fuel and Cold Weather Payments

  • a short term benefit advance from the DWP to help you out over a crisis until your first benefit payment

  • non-cash benefits, for example, free school meals

  • Statutory Sick Pay

  • Statutory Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, Adoption Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Pay.

If you're unsure about what the Benefit Cap means for you and your family please get in touch with our Welfare Advisors.