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The Benefit Cap

The ‘benefit cap’ was introduced in September 2013. It has placed limits on the amount of certain benefits that some working-age people can get. 

It has mainly affected people who have to pay high rents, and those with a large number of dependent children.

If you or your partner are old enough to get Pension Credit, and neither of you getting Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, or Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, then you will not be affected by the benefit cap.

If you are not getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, then the benefit cap will not affect you.

If You Are Claiming Housing Benefit

If You Are Claiming Housing Benefit


If You Are Claiming Universal Credit

If You Are Claiming Universal Credit



If you, your partner or a dependent child get one of the following benefits, then you will be exempt from the benefit cap:

  • Universal Credit (if you are getting the ‘limited capability for work-related activity’ component)
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Employment & Support Allowance (if you are in the ‘support group’)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Most industrial injuries benefits
  • A war pension
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme Guaranteed Income Payments
  • Working Tax Credit (even if your award is ‘nil’)
  • Carer’s Allowance (CA) (including the equivalent claimants in Universal Credit)
  • Guardian’s Allowance (GA).

You will still be exempt from the cap if the only reason you cannot get one of the benefits above is because you are in hospital or a care home.

What can I do about it?

You can challenge the decision to reduce your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit if you feel the benefit cap has wrongly been applied to you. For information on challenging Housing Benefit decisions, click here Link to External Website. To find out how to challenge a Universal Credit decision, click here

If you, your partner or a dependent child have a disability or health condition, check if it is worth applying for one of the disability benefits that would exempt you from the benefit cap.

Use the Turn2Us Link to External Website  benefit calculator to check if you are able to get Council Tax Support (which does not count towards your income limit) or Working Tax Credit (which will exempt you from the cap altogether). The Turn2Us website lists circumstances where their calculator will not be accurate. If this applies to you, seek advice instead.

You could increase your income by moving into work, or by increasing your hours or wages if you are already in work. The Turn2Us benefit calculator can be used to how this would affect your benefits.

You could try to move to cheaper housing, or ask your landlord to reduce your rent.

You could try to manage on less money. If you or your partner will soon be old enough to get Pension Credit, the benefit cap may not affect you for long. To check when you will reach Pension Credit age, please click here Link to External Website . The MiNT website has useful tips on how to manage your money effectively.

If your Housing Benefit is reduced because of the benefit cap, you could apply for Discretionary Housing Payments to make up the shortfall.