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A Benefit Cap has been phased in across the UK for working-age benefit claimants.

What is the Cap?

The Benefit Cap is the maximum social security payment you can receive if you are not working. It is:

  • £296.35 a week for a single person
  • £442.31 a week for a lone parent
  • £442.31 a week for a couple

The Cap is not affected by how many children you have. It remains the same whether you have one child or more than one child.

How it works

If your total benefit payment, excluding Council Tax Benefit, is more than £296.35 a week (for a single person) or £442.31 a week (for a lone parent or couple) your Housing Benefit will be reduced, so that your weekly benefit payments are no more than £296.35 or £442.31 a week.

Benefits that count towards the Cap

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except where the support component is paid)
  • Housing Benefit (treated as nil for Specified Accommodation)
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance and Widowed Mother's Allowance
  • Widows Pension and Widows Pension age-related additions

Will it affect me?

Yes, if you are of working age and claiming out of work benefits such as Income Support, sickness benefits or Jobseeker's Allowance.

You will not be affected by the Cap if any of the following apply to you:

  • You or your partner qualify for Working Tax Credit
  • You or your partner qualify for Carer's Allowance
  • You or your partner qualify for Guardian's Allowance
  • You, your partner or dependent child claim Disability Living Allowance
  • You, your partner or dependent child claim new personal independence payments
  • You or your partner claim Attendance Allowance
  • You or your partner claim industrial injuries benefits and any equivalents paid as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • You or your partner claim Employment and Support Allowance with the support component
  • You or your partner claim any War Widows or War Widower’s pension paid under the War Pension scheme or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.

If Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or War Disablement Pension stops because a person is in a hospital or care home the Benefit Cap will still not apply.

What should I do if I get a letter telling me my benefit will be capped?

Get help and advice straightaway. Do not ignore the letter - if you act straightaway you will have time to prepare yourself for the change in benefits. Employment or self-employment would protect you from the Cap and is the best long-term solution for most families. You may be able to claim benefits such as Working Tax Credit and get help with your rent or Council Tax.

What help can I get?

The Government is running a Benefit Cap helpline:

Tel: 0345 605 7064

Textphone: 0345 608 8551

The helpline may refer you to your local Jobcentre Plus for help and support with finding work, or Richmond Council for other support.

You will want to know how much benefit you will be losing - it may be a lot or very little. Visit the online calculator at GOV.UK

Where can I find out more?

For the most up to date information please check the GOV.UK website.

Updated: 29 June 2017

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