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Benefit Cap

Benefit Cap

If you are worried that the benefit changes will reduce the money you have coming in, it's a good idea to start thinking ahead.

For example, you could get a benefits check on your current entitlement and see whether there is any transitional protection available. You could also get some advice about budgeting as the new Universal Credit is going to be paid monthly.

What is Benefit Cap?

There is a maximum amount of benefit that a household can be entitled to.

A household is defined as an individual, their partner, and any children they are responsible for and who live with them.

This is to ensure individuals are no longer given more money when they are out of work than what they could reasonably expect to earn from working.

Until people are transferred onto Universal Credit the cap will be applied to Housing Benefit by reducing benefit entitlement.

Who does the Benefit Cap apply to?

The benefit cap applies to people of working age. Working age is defined as aged between 16 and the minimum qualifying age for State Pension Credit.

The cap will not apply to a couple where one member is over pension age provided neither person continues to receive an out of work benefit, working age benefit.

What is the Benefit Cap level?

The level of the Cap will be:

  • £384.62 per week for couples (with or without children) and Lone Parents
  • £296.35 per week for single adults
Who Calculates Benefit Cap?

The benefit cap is calculated by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

How is the Cap Calculated?

All the benefits an individual, their partner and any children they are responsible for and who live with them are entitled to are added together.

What benefits does it effect?

Benefits that will be taken into account when calculating the cap are:

  • Bereavement Allowance/Widowed Parent's/Mothers Allowance
  • Carers Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance(ESA/C & ESA/IR) except where the Support Component has been awarded
  • Guardians Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance(JSA/C & JSA/IB)
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widows Pension

Benefits that will not be taken into account when calculating the cap are:

  • Bereavement Payment
  • Council Tax Reduction Scheme
  • Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Social Fund Payments - all one off payments:
    • Budgeting Loans
    • Cold Weather Payments
    • Community Care Grants
    • Crisis Loans
    • Funeral Payments
    • Sure Start Maternity Grants
  • Pension Credit
  • Residency Order payments
  • Statutory Adoption Pay - paid by employers
  • Statutory Maternity Pay - paid by employers
  • Statutory Paternity Pay - paid by employers
  • Statutory Sick Pay - paid by employers
  • Winter Fuel Payment
What benefits exempt claimants from the Cap?

If an individual, their partner or any children they are responsible for and who live with them in a household are entitled to any of the benefits listed below they will be exempt from the benefit cap.

  • Working Tax Credit (even where they have nil entitlement)*
  • Attendance Allowance
  • support component of ESA
  • War Widow/Widowers Pension
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)/Personal Independence Allowance (PIP)
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Payments
  • War Pension Scheme payments (includes War Widows/Widower's Pension and War Disablement Pension)

*If the hours worked are not sufficient to qualify for Working Tax Credit, the benefit cap will still apply.

Is there an appeal against being capped?

Individuals cannot appeal against the decision to apply the benefit cap.

If you think the benefit cap has been calculated incorrectly contact the DWP to review the calculation on the Benefit Cap Helpline 0845 605 7064:

For Further Information Contact

Revenue Services
Kilncraigs, Greenside Street, Alloa, FK10 1EB
Tel: 01259 450000