Benefits Cap

There’s a limit on the total amount of benefits that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the Benefit Cap .

Since autumn 2016, the Benefit Cap in London is being cut from £500 per week to £442.31 per week for couples, families and single parents, and from £350 to £296.35 for single people. This is £50 a week less cash per household.

Watch a short video about the Benefit Cap

The following short video explains the changes to the Benefit Cap and summarises the key information.  

 

What does it mean for me?

The Benefit Cap means that if you currently receive more than this new amount, your housing benefit will be reduced to bring what you receive into line with the new cap level. This could cause you problems in paying your bills especially your rent.

Benefits that count towards the cap

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except where it is paid with the support component)
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent’s and Widowed Mother’s Allowance
  • Widow’s Pension
  • Bereavement Allowance

Exceptions from the cap

  • Attendance Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • The support component of Employment and Support Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • War Widow or War Widower’s Pension
  • Carer’s Allowance (from Autumn 2016)
  • Guardian’s Allowance (from Autumn 2016).

Remember the cap applies to working age claimants, so pensioners are also exempt (provided that in the case of a couple, both members are pensioners).

What I can do about it?

  • Finding work: Getting work could bring in some extra cash into your home which would help reduce the effect of the new benefit cap - and if you work enough hours, you will be completely exempt from the cap.
  • Applying for working tax credit: If you’re entitled to working tax credit, your benefits won’t be capped. To qualify, you will need to work at least 16 hours per week if you are a single parent; 24 hours per week between you if you are a couple - with one of you working at least 16 hours per week; or 30 hours per week if you are a single person.
  • Contacting us: Discuss your situation with the Financial Inclusion Team here at BHP on 020 8937 2790
  • Reassessing your weekly budget: If you are only capped by a small amount, you may be able to take a look at your current outgoings and see if there are any savings you could make, such as where you do the weekly shop.
  • Getting an exemption from the cap: If you think you may be eligible, apply for one of the benefits that may exempt you from the cap.

Further information

Further details on the Benefit Cap are available on the Gov.uk website.

 

Further information on the Overall Benefit Cap and options that may be available to you locally can be found on the Brent Council website.