The benefit cap
The benefit cap puts a limit on the total amount of benefits you can receive.
The benefit cap sets a limit on the amount of benefits you can receive.
It only applies if you are under State Pension age and you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. If you get either of these benefits then your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit may be reduced if your total benefit payments are more than the benefit cap amount below.
Some people are exempt - more details about this are below.
Benefit cap amount
The benefit cap amount is:
£384.62 per week for couples (with or without children) and single parent households
£257.69 per week for single adults.
(There are increased limits for people living inside Greater London. See the Gov.uk page Benefit cap amounts if this applies to you).
Some people are not affected by the cap.
Benefits included in the cap
When calculating your income the following benefits are included:
Child Tax Credit
Employment and Support 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 benefit cap
The benefit cap won't be applied to you if you:
get Working Tax Credit (even if the amount you get is £0)
get Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition that stops you from working (this is called ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’)
get Universal Credit because you care for someone with a disability
get Universal Credit and you and your partner earn £604 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
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension
If you are claiming Universal Credit you can check whether the benefit cap will apply to you on the Gov.uk page Benefit cap calculator.
If you're affected by the benefit cap
If the benefit cap means you are struggling to pay your rent you could be eligible for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) - if you receive this it is not counted as income when calculated the benefit cap. Find more information about this on our page Discretionary Housing Payment.
If you need more advice about benefits
How to check if you're entitled to benefits
Turn to Us has an online benefit calculator. You can use this to check if you are entitled to any extra money. It can be useful to have information with you about any money you have coming into your household already and what your monthly rent payments are before you use this tool.
Scotland’s Financial Health Service Advice offers lots of useful information about money and finances and has helpful links to services by council area.
Last updated: 19 January 2021
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.