There is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap.

How much you get for certain benefits may go down to make sure the total you get isn’t more than the cap amount. The cap amount and the benefits that are affected by the cap will be changing in November 2016.

Who it applies to:
  • 16-64 year olds
Who is not affected:
  • If you work and are eligible for working tax credits
  • In receipt of Universal Credit and Household Income is more than £430.00/month after tax and National Insurance.

Benefit cap amounts for outside Greater London

Current rate New rate
£500.00/week 26,000 per year,  for couples whether they have children or not £384.62/week £20,000 per year
£500.00/week 26,000 per year,  for single parents £384.62/week £20,000 per year
£350.00/ week  18,200 per year for single parents whose children don’t live with them £257.59/week £13,400 per year

Benefits affected by the cap

Benefits included in the cap Benefits that aren't included
Bereavement Allowance Armed Forces Compensation
Carer's Allowance (not affected by the cap from autumn 2016) Armed Forces Indepenence
Child Benefit Attendance Allowance
Child Tax Credit Carer's Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance Disability Living Allowance
Guardian's Allowance (not affected by the cap from autumn 2016) Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
Housing benefit Guardian's Allowance
Incapacity benefit Industrial Injuries Benefit
Income support Personal Independence Payment
Jobseeker's allowance Universal Credit (sickness / not fit for work group or carer's cost element being paid or income more than £430 / month net)
Maternity allowance War Pensions
Severe disability allowance Working Tax Credit
Widowed parents allowance  
Universal Credit (unless you've had a work capability assessment and aren't fit for work)  

If you are affected by the benefits cap your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced to bring your total benefits payments to within the limit that applies to you.  This could mean that you will have to start paying towards the rent shortfall or increase current rent payments to avoid rent arrears.

Please contact the Financial Inclusion Team on 03333 204 555 if you need further information or if you are concerned about being able to afford your future rent payments.

More information can be found about the benefits cap at:

https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap

There is a benefits cap calculator that allows you to work out if you will be affected, unfortunately it does not work at the moment for people claiming Universal Credit:

https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap-calculator

A useful summary of other 2016 benefit changes including the benefits cap can be found at:

http://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/benefit_changes_april_2016