What is the Benefit Cap?

First introduced in 2013, the benefit cap places a limit on the total amount of welfare benefits that most claimants of working age can receive.

Hence, if you are older than sixteen (16), and not yet reached the State Pension age, you are likely to have your benefits capped.

So, how does the benefits cap work? In short, it lowers the final amount that households get from some of the different benefits and allowances.

Thus, a reduction in payment would ensure you do not receive more than the upper limit that this kind of financial ceiling allows.

Benefits Affected by the Cap

Note: A guide explaining how the benefit cap works is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg) on the GOV.UK website.

Who is Exempt from the Benefit Cap?

Individuals over State Pension age will not affected by the benefit cap. But, the cap may affect a couple if one of the partners is below the qualifying age for the State Pension.

So, to get full exemption from the benefit cap, either you or your partner should already be getting:

  • Working Tax Credit (even if the amount is £0)
  • Universal Credit due to disability or health condition that stops you from working. The benefits office call it ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’.
  • Universal Credit because you take care of someone with a disability.
  • Universal Credit and you and your partner are earning at least £569 per month (combined) after deductions for tax and National Insurance contributions.

Also, you will be exempt from the benefit cap if you, your partner, or any children under the age of eighteen (18) that are living with you, is receiving:

Benefit Cap Amount 2020

Three different factors influence the amount you get through the benefit cap. As a general rule, it will depend on whether you:

  • Are single or part of a couple.
  • Have children living with you (for singles).
  • Live inside or outside the area covered by the London Government Directory.

It is not uncommon for some partners to associate themselves as a ‘couple’ – but live apart. If this applies to your situation, you would get the same benefit cap amount as a single person.

Benefit Cap Outside Greater London

CircumstancesAmount per WeekAmount per Year
Single parent with children living with you£384.62£20,000
Single (adult)£257.69£13,400

Benefit Cap Inside Greater London

CircumstancesAmount per WeekAmount per Year
Single parent with children living with you£442.31£23,000
Single (adult)£296.35£15,410
Tables showing the different benefit cap amounts 2020 depending on whether you live inside or outside Greater London.
Note: Using a benefit cap calculator will help you determine how much your benefit might be capped (details below).

Extra Help with the Benefit Cap

You can get extra help and information by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Telephone: 0800 169 0145
Telephone (Welsh): 0800 169 0238
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Next Generation Text Service (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0145
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Information about call charges

If You’re on Universal Credit

However, you can sign in to your Universal Credit account for DWP help with the benefit cap.

Benefit Cap Calculator

Using the benefit cap calculator on the GOV.UK website will give you an estimate of how much your payment might be capped. You will need to know:

  • The total amounts of each benefit you are getting.
  • The number of people living in your household.

Keep in mind that your ‘household’ should include you, your partner, and any children that live with you (if you are responsible for them).

Note: If you are claiming Universal Credit you will not be able to check if the benefit cap affects the amount you get.

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