In 2016 the government set a maximum amount it would pay in benefits to any household. This policy is called the "benefit cap". It means that you may not get all the benefits you are entitled to.
The benefit cap does not apply to everyone.
Benefit cap if you get Universal Credit
The benefit cap might not affect you if you get Universal Credit and
- you get the limited capability for work and work related activity component
- you get the carer's component
- you, or you and your partner combined, earn at least £617 a month after tax.
You won't be affected by the benefit cap for the first 9 months of your Universal Credit claim if
- you started claiming Universal Credit because you lost your job or your earnings reduced
- you’re now earning less than £617 a month
- you earned £617 or more each month in the 12 months before you applied for Universal Credit
Benefit cap if you get other benefits
The benefit cap may not apply to you if
- you are of pension credit age
- you get working tax credits
- you get certain sickness or disability benefits
- you get a war pension or armed forces compensation payment
- you or your partner lost your job, but worked for at least 50 of the 52 weeks up to the date you lost your job. If this applies to you, you will be protected from the benefit cap for 39 weeks
How much is the benefit cap?
The benefit cap is currently
- £384.62 per week for couples
- £384.62 per households with children
- £257.69 per week for single adults
You cannot receive more than this from benefits. If you are entitled to more money, the extra will be deducted from
- your Housing Benefit, or
- your Universal Credit
Extra help if you're affected by the benefit cap
Some people get extra help if they are affected by the benefit cap. This help is called a welfare supplementary payment.
Changes to the law in 2022 mean that
- you should this extra payment if you have children in your home
- your payment should cover the full amount of benefits you are losing because of the benefit cap and
- your payments can start again if they had previously stopped but you are still affected by the benefit cap
More help if you get housing benefit
You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment if your housing benefit was cut by the benefit cap and you aren't getting a supplementary payment to cover this loss.
People who get universal credit can only apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment if they rent privately.