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The benefits cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit a household can receive. If you have children your total benefit payments will be limited to £500 per week. The limit for single people with no children is £350 per week.

The benefits cap is being phased in gradually across the country. It was introduced in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey in April 2013 and will be introduced in other parts of Great Britain between 15th July and 30th September 2013.

The cap will administered by your local council through reduced Housing Benefit payments. Your local council may though be able to provide some compensation through a Discretionary Housing Payment

Benefits included in the cap

Most benefits are included except for disability benefits. The cap includes:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Benefit & Guardian's Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except when in the support group)
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance & Bereavement Allowance

Council Tax Support, the replacement for Council Tax Benefit, is not included in the cap. One-off payments like the social fund are also not included.


You will not be affected by the cap if:

  • you are over pension age
  • you are in work and entitled to Working Tax Credit
  • you have recently been in work
  • you, your partner or a child receives a disability benefit
  • you live in supported exempt accommodation
  • you do not live in rented accommodation (unless you claim Universal Credit)

Exemptions for disability

Disability benefits that qualify to make you exempt from the cap are:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance with a support component.
  • War widows and widowers will also be exempt.

Exemptions for current or recent work

The benefit cap is intended to increase work incentives so there is an exemption for households that are considered to be "in-work." You will be considered in-work and be exempt from the benefit cap if you are entitled to Working Tax Credit.

In addition, there is a “grace period” of 39 weeks for people who are over the benefits cap but have been in work for the previous 12 months. The grace period means that if your circumstances have changed because your job has ended there is a 9 month breathing space before your benefits are reduced. The grace period will include any periods when you are claiming statutory sick pay or statutory maternity/adoption pay.

The grace period will apply equally to those whose job finishes before or after the introduction of the cap. For example, in the case of somebody who finishes work in February 2013, prior to the cap's introduction, the cap would not apply until 39 weeks later in November 2013.

Exemption if you live in supported accommodation

The benefit cap does not apply to people who live in supported exempt accommodation.