Benefit cap

The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit you can get. It applies to most people aged 16 or over who have not reached pension age.

The amount your household gets from some benefits might go down to make sure you do not get more than the cap limit. The benefit cap affects:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit 
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support 
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit

When you're not affected

You’re not affected by the cap if you’re over pension age. If you’re part of a couple and one of you is under State Pension age, the cap may apply.

You’re not affected by the cap if you or your partner:

  • get Working Tax Credit (even if the amount you get is £0)
  • get Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition that stops you from working (this is called ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’)
  • get Universal Credit because you care for someone with a disability
  • get Universal Credit and you and your partner earn more than £569 a month combined, after tax and National Insurance contributions

You’re also not affected by the cap if you, your partner or any children under 18 living with you gets:

Armed Forces Compensation Scheme; Armed Forces Independence Payment; Attendance Allowance; Carer’s Allowance; Disability Living Allowance (DLA); Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component); Guardian’s Allowance Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme); Personal Independence Payment (PIP); War pensions War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension.

The amount you get through the benefit cap depends on whether:

  • you live inside or outside Greater London
  • you’re single or in a couple
  • your children live with you (if you’re single)

If you’re in a couple but you do not live together, you’ll get the amounts for a single person.

The maximum amount of benefit you can receive is:

  • £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.

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 be able to 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, including moving to a smaller property
  • call your rent income officer (if you are a Kensington and Chelsea Council tenant) on Freephone 0800 137 111 to discuss your rent account, affordable payment methods, help with budgeting and debt problems
  • contact a local advice agency, 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.