Click here to download a PDF version of this article.
Click one of the links below to jump to that section:
1) What is the Benefit Cap?
If you’re aged 16 to 64, there may be a limit on the total amount of benefit your household can get.
This is called a benefit cap.
If your income goes above this amount, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced until your income is below the limit again.
You won’t be affected by the benefit cap if you are getting Working Tax Credit or some disability benefits. This includes:
- Attendance Allowance
- ESA (Support group only)
If you’re not getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you also won’t be affected by the benefit cap.
To see the full list of benefits affected by the cap go to: https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap
To see who is not affected go to: https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap/when-youre-not-affected
2) How much is the Benefit Cap
If you live in Greater London, the cap is:
- £23,000 a year – if you’re in a couple, whether your children live with you or not
- £23,000 a year – if you’re single and your children live with you
- £15,410 a year – if you’re single and you don’t have children, or your children don’t live with you
If you live outside Greater London the cap is about £3000 less. To find out more go to: https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap/benefit-cap-amounts
If your household is made up of a couple (with or without children)
If you are a lone parent (and you have children living with you who you are responsible for when working out your Housing Benefit)
You will receive £442.31 a week in London
(or £384.62 a week outside London)
If you are a single person and either:
You have no children
You don’t have children living with you who you are responsible for when working out your Housing Benefit
You will receive £296.35 a week in London
(or £257.69 a week outside London)
3) Help with the Benefit Cap
If you need help with the Benefit Cap the government advises you to call Monday-Friday 8am-6pm
For Universal Credit
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
For any other benefits
Telephone: 0800 169 0145
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
If you get Universal Credit you can also contact the DWP through the journal in your Universal Credit online account.
Help if you can’t pay the rent
If you can’t pay the rent you can apply to your local council for a discretionary housing payment (DHP). See the DHP links section below for advice about how to claim a DHP.
If rent arrears mean you could be threatened with homelessness, you should contact housing options or the homelessness service at your local council for help and advice.
Shelter has an online directory to help you find local advice services: https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/advice_services_directory