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The benefit cap sets a limit on the total amount in benefits that most working-age people can claim.
- Your housing benefit may be cut because of the benefit cap
- The cap may not apply if you're working or disabled
The cap applies to the benefits you get as a household. This means that benefits received by you, your partner and dependent children who live with you, are all included.
Your housing benefit or universal credit will be reduced to ensure that you don't get more than the benefit cap limit.
Benefit cap amounts
The total amount a household can claim in benefits is:
- £442.31 a week in London
- £384.62 a week outside London
The total amount a single person can claim in benefits is:
- £296.35 a week in London
- £257.69 a week outside London
Are you affected by the benefit cap?
The benefit cap won’t apply to you if you, your partner or any children living with you can get any of the benefits listed below.
Industrial Injuries Benefits (and the equivalent payments as part of a war disablement pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- The support group amount of Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit (where you or your partner if you have one, are in receipt of the extra amount payable for having Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity)
- War pensions
- War Widow’s or War Widower's Pension
If you think you may be able to get one of these benefits, you can find out more at www.gov.uk/benefits-adviser
Please note that any adult children living with you would not normally count as part of your household. So, if they are claiming one of these benefits, the benefit cap may still change your own amount o payment.
The cap doesn't apply if you are of pension age.
If you claim universal credit, you won't be affected if you have an in-work exemption.
Benefits included in the cap
These benefits count towards the cap:
- Bereavement Allowance
- Child Benefit
- Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (except where it is paid with the support group amount)
- Incapacity Benefit
- Contributory Jobseeker's Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Universal Credit (except where you or your partner if you have one, are in receipt of the extra amount payable for having Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity)
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension, including the age-related component
- Carer’s Allowance**
- Guardian’s Allowance**
**Carer’s Allowance, the equivalent payment for carers in UC, and Guardian’s Allowance currently count towards the benefit cap. Once the changes happen, if you, your partner or any children you’re responsible for can get Carer’s Allowance, the equivalent payment for carers in UC, or Guardian’s Allowance, the benefit cap will not apply to you.
Benefits not included in the cap
These benefits and payments don't count towards the cap:
- Discretionary Housing Payments
- Council Tax Support/Reduction
- Budgeting loan/advances
- One-off council crisis payments
- Free school meals
- Child maintenance payments
- Winter fuel payments
- Statutory maternity, paternity or adoption pay
- Statutory sick pay
- Housing Benefit for supported accommodation. This usually includes domestic violence refuges and accommodation where tenants also get care or support
Action to take if you are affected
The benefit cap calculation is done automatically. You do not need to provide any documents.
If you are unable to cover your housing costs in the short term, ask us about a discretionary housing payment.
You can also get help and advice from
The Jobcentre Plus. They can help you to look for work and help you get the skills you need to find a job. You may already meet with one of their work coaches. If so, they will continue to help you. If you don’t have a work coach the Jobcentre should contact you and ask you to go in and see them. They can help you find work, learn new skills, support you to manage your money better and with options for child care. If you call their helpline, they can arrange an appointment for you more quickly.
The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). They provide free and confidential advice. Contact Norfolk CAB on 03444 111444 (open between 9:30am and 4:00pm Monday to Friday). Find your local CAB in the phone book or Yellow Pages, or go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk for England and Wales or www.cas.org.uk for Scotland.
If you need help managing your money please contact the Money Advice Service as soon as you can. They offer free independent advice about how to make the best of your money, including budgeting, savings and dealing with debt. To find out more, go to www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.
Shelter offers confidential advice on housing, benefits and debt. Call the Freephone Housing Advice Helpline on 0808 800 4444. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday to Sunday 8am to 5pm. Or you can go to www.shelter.org.uk in Scotland and England or www.sheltercymru.org.uk in Wales.