About the benefit cap
The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit working aged people can receive.
From April 2023, the government reduced the cap to £1,835 a month for couples or single parents with children, and £1,229 a month for single people. This figure will include how much you are given to help pay towards your rent.
Check if you're affected by the benefit cap
You can use the Benefit Cap calculator on the gov.uk website to check whether the cap will apply to you. You can contact the DWP by:
- visiting the JobCentre Plus website
- write to them via your Universal Credit journal
The DWP work out who will be affected by adding together your income from the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Bereavement Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (except where it is paid with the support component)
- Housing Benefit
- Incapacity Benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widowed Mothers Allowance
- Widow’s Pension
- Widow’s Pension Age Related
If, after adding these benefits together your income is over the benefit cap, we'll let you know if your housing benefit will be reduced. We have to apply this reduction from the Monday following the date we are notified by the DWP and will write to you as soon as we hear from them to tell you about the change in your benefit.
How the benefit cap affects you
How it affects you depends on the benefit you are claiming, if you have a legacy benefit, your Housing Benefit will be reduced. If you have a claim for Universal Credit, the DWP will reduce your living costs and you will see the deduction on your Universal Credit statements. If you have a legacy benefit, your Housing Benefit will be reduced.
1. If your amount of Universal Credit over the cap is less than the amount of living costs you get, it will be deducted from your living costs.
For example, your family receives a total of £242 in child benefit, £954 in Universal Credit living costs and £1,200 housing costs in Universal Credit a month. Your cap is £1,835, so you are over the cap amount and your living costs will be reduced by £561. You will receive only £393 after your housing costs are paid as part of your overall income of £1,835.
2. If your amount of Universal Credit over the cap is more than the amount of living costs you get, your cap will be deducted from your housing costs a well.
For example, your family receives a total of £173 in child benefit, £954 in living costs, £1,200 in housing costs, and Maternity allowance of £756. Your cap is £1,835, so you are £492 over the cap which should be deducted from your living expenses. But, as your Maternity allowance is deducted from your Universal Credit in full, your housing costs are also reduced by the cap and your full payment of Universal Credit is £906. If your Housing Costs are paid directly to your landlord, you will need to make additional payments to cover the shortfall.
The basic position is that any benefit income over the cap is deducted in total from your housing benefit entitlement.
1. If your amount of benefit over the cap is less than the amount of housing benefit you get, it will be deducted from your housing benefit so that you will receive less housing benefit.
For example, your family receives a total of £600 a week in benefits, of which £200 is housing benefit. Your cap is £423, so you are £177 over which will be deducted from your housing benefit. You will receive only £23 housing benefit as part of your overall income of £423.
2. If your amount of benefit over the cap is more than the amount of housing benefit you get, your housing benefit will be reduced to a set nominal sum of 50p a week.
For example. your family receives a total of £700 a week in benefits, of which £250 is housing benefit. Your cap is £423, so you are £277 over which should be deducted from your housing benefit. But, as you only get £250 housing benefit, your housing benefit would be reduced by £249.50 to the nominal amount of 50p.
Find out if you're exempt
You will not be affected by the cap if you, your partner or a dependent child who is living with you:
- work 16 hours per week at minimum wage or receive Working Tax Credit
- have been in employment for 52 weeks or more when claims out of work benefits. This exemption will last for up to 39 weeks.
- receive any of the following benefits:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance (AA)
- Industrial Injuries Benefits (IIB)
- ESA, if paid with the support component
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Payments (AFCS)
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
- War Pensions Scheme Payments (WPS) including War Widow’s or Widower’s pension and War Disablement Pension
- Carer's Allowance including the equivalent in Universal Credit from 7 November 2016
- Guardian's Allowance from 7 November 2016
If you are unsure whether you are getting any of these benefits you can contact JobCentre Plus.
If you are worried about the benefit cap and how it affects you, support is available. If you need advice, contact the Benefit Cap Support team. Send an email to email@example.com or phone 01273 291 954. You can also book an appointment to see one of our Move on Mentors on the same number.
If you rent from a private landlord and if you are worried that you might lose your home, contact the Housing team. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for work:
- visit the government’s Universal JobMatch website
- talk to your local JobCentre Plus or 'work programme' provider
- search for jobs within the council
If you need to speak to someone about managing your money or helping you with your debts:
- go to our budgeting advice page
- phone the Moneyworks advice line on 01273 664 040 for an appointment to see an advisor
- use the useful budget planner on the government’s money advice service website
You can check on GOV.UK if you are entitled to any other benefits.
You can apply for discretionary payments to help pay your rent or Council Tax.
Get more information: