The benefit cap

The benefit cap

The total amount of benefit you can receive is capped. The Government will add up how much money you get from a range of benefits, including:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit

If the total comes to more than the maximum allowed amount, your Housing Benefit payments will be reduced.

When you move onto Universal Credit, the benefit cap will be incorporated into it.

The maximum amount of benefit you can receive

  • £441 per week for single parents
  • £441 per week for couples with or without children
  • £296 per week for single people without children

These figures are for London; lower caps apply to the rest of the country.

Thc cap does not apply if:

  • you are “pension age” (this is about 63 in April 2016)
  • you get Working Tax Credit
  • you are working enough hours to claim Working Tax Credit, even if you are not receiving it
  • you are receiving Carer's Allowance or Guardian's Allowance
  • a family member is claiming Disability Living Allowance
  • a family member is claiming the support element of Employment and Support Allowance

There are different rules if you live in supported housing.

What should I do?

If you are worried about being able to afford to pay your rent you should ask for advice as soon as possible. If you don’t pay your rent you could lose your home, so talk to your landlord about different ways to pay. You can also:

  • try to obtain employment. If this work is for enough hours it will exempt you from the benefit cap. Your employment advisor at the Jobcentre will give you information and support you. If you live in postcodes W8, W10 or W11 the number is 020 7941 6633. If you live in any other postcode in the borough the number is 020 7560 5336. Many social landlords can help you to access employment support, including training. Visit our Housing and employment pages for more information 
  • contact the Council’s Benefits Service to ask how someone moving into a spare bedroom would affect your Housing Benefit, or ask about claiming discretionary housing payment towards your housing costs
  • contact the Council’s Housing Service on 020 7361 3008 to get advice on your housing options. This could include moving to a smaller property
  • call your rent income officer (if you are a KCTMO tenant) on freephone 0800 137 111. You can discuss your rent account, affordable payment methods, and help with budgeting and debt problems
  • contact an advice service, such as Citizens Advice, Nucleus Legal Advice Centre, North Kensington Law Centre, or World’s End Neighbourhood Advice Centre.

You can see more information about the benefit cap on the Government’s website.