Benefit cap

  • In 2013 a cap was introduced on the total amount of benefit that working age people could receive, so that workless households would no longer receive more in benefits than the average working families, after tax and national Insurance.

What benefits are included in the cap?

This cap applies to the combined income of any:

  • out of work benefits (Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support and Employment and
    Support Allowance, except where the support component is in payment);
  • Housing Benefit;
  • Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit;
  • Universal Credit or
  • Other benefits such as carers allowance and maternity allowance

Council tax benefit (and its local replacement) and payments for child care costs will not be included in the assessment of the cap.


There are exemptions to this cap where someone in the household:

  • obtains work and becomes entitled to Working Tax Credit; or
  • is in receipt of war widows or widowers pension, Disability Living Allowance (Personal Independence Payment from April 2012), Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or the support component of Employment and Support Allowance

People who have been in employment for 52 weeks or more when they claim benefit, who lost their job through no fault of their own, may be exempt from the cap for up to 9 months.

2016 Update

In the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement, The Chancellor confirmed that the reduction of the Benefit Cap would reduce from November 2016 to:

  • £20,000 per year for couples and claimants with children (£384.61 per week)
  • £13,400 per year for single claimants without children (£257.69 per week) 

Carers Allowance will be removed from The Cap.

Claimants are being advised to use the online calculator to see exactly how much they will be affected by each week.