The benefit cap

There is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called a 'benefit cap'.

About the benefit cap

The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit that working age people can get. The aim of this is to make sure that people who are not working do not get more in benefit payments than the average earnings of a working household.

How much benefit you can get

  • Single people without children have their benefits, including housing benefit, capped at £257.69 a week
  •  Couples/families have a cap set at £384.62 a week

How you can find out more

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have various ways to help customers:

  • Visit The benefit cap - Gov UK to find out more information on the benefit cap, including calculators to show how much benefit you can get, and advice on other benefits you can claim
  • Call the helpline to find out general information about the changes, and about the help you can get, on the following numbers:
    • Benefit cap helpline telephone: 0345 605 7064
    • Textphone: 0345 608 8551

How the benefit cap might affect you

The cap applies to the total amount that the people in your household get from the following benefits:

  • Bereavement allowance
  • Child benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Employment support allowance (unless you get the support component)
  • Housing benefit
  • Incapacity benefit
  • Income support
  • Jobseeker's allowance
  • Maternity allowance
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Widowed parent's allowance (or widowed mother's allowance or widow's pension you started getting before 9 April 2001)

Who isn't affected by the benefit cap

You aren't affected by the benefit cap if you get working tax credit or any of the following benefits:

  • Disability Living Allowance ( care or mobility)
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance allowance
  • Carer's allowance
  • Guardian's allowance
  • Industrial injuries benefit/war disablement pension
  • Employment support allowance (but only if you get the support component)
  • War widow's/widower's pension
  • Armed forces independence payment/compensation payment

You might be affected by the cap if you have any grown-up children who still live with you and they qualify for one of these benefits. This is because they won't normally count as part of your household.

What you can do if you are affected by the benefit cap

There are various ways you can try to help manage your reduction in income, such as looking for somewhere cheaper to live, getting work or increasing the number of hours you work.

Getting help from Jobcentre Plus

You can contact Jobcentre Plus on 0800 0556688 (textphone 0800 0234888) to discuss help in finding work, Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

Shelter advice

Shelter also offers confidential housing, welfare benefits and debt advice. It has a free national helpline on 0800 8004444, which is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.

Please see some example of how you could be better off going back to work:

 
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