Benefit cap

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 state pension age.

The benefit cap is:

  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re in a couple
  • £384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) if you’re a single parent and your children live with you
  • £257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) if you’re a single adult

What benefits are included in the cap?

  • Universal Credit
  • 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 (or Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widow’s Pension if you started getting it before 9 April 2001)

Exemptions to the cap

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

You will be exempt from the cap if you or your partner get:

  • Working Tax Credit (even if the amount you get is £0)
  • Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition that stops you from working (LCWWRA group only)
  • Universal Credit because you care for someone with a disability
  • Universal Credit, and you and your partner earn £617 or more 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
  • Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • War pensions
  • War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension

When the benefit cap affects your Universal Credit payments

The benefit cap might not affect your Universal Credit payments for up to 9 months. This is called the ‘grace period’.

You’ll get the grace period if all of the following are true:

  • You’re claiming Universal Credit because you stopped working or your earnings went down
  • You’re now earning less than £617 a month
  • In each of the 12 months before your earnings went down or you stopped working, you earned the same as or more than the earnings threshold (this was £604 up to 11 April 2021 and is £617 from 12 April 2021)

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