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Changes to the Benefit Cap

We explain what the change to the Benefit Cap is and who it will affect

Change to the Benefit Cap

From Autumn 2016, the government will be lowering the Benefit Cap.  This change will have a significant impact on some low income households. The Benefit Cap limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive, even if their full entitlement would otherwise be higher.

Current Benefit Cap

At present the cap is £500 per week (£26000 per year) for single parent families and couples with or without children and £350 per week (£18,200 per year) for single people without children.

If your total weekly income from the benefits included in the Benefit Cap is more than your Benefit Cap amount, and you are not exempt from the Benefit Cap, your Housing Benefit payment will be reduced by your local authority to bring you down to your cap level.  If you are on Universal Credit, your Universal Credit will be reduced to bring you within the cap level.

New Benefit Cap

From Autumn 2016, the cap will depend on where you live in the UK. If you live outside of Greater London, the cap will be £384 per week (£20,000 a year) for families and couples and £257.69 per week (13,400 a year) for single people without children.

If you live inside a Greater London borough, the cap will be £442.31 per week (£23,000 a year) for families and couples and £296.35 per week (£15,410 a year) for single people without children.

The cap will continue to work in the same way as before. It will reduce Housing Benefit or Universal Credit entitlement so that the total you receive in some benefits is below the cap.

Who will be affected?

More people will be affected by the Benefit Cap after these changes have come into force.

From 24 May to 10 June 2016, the Department for Work and Pensions sent letters to people who may be affected by these changes to tell them how it will impact their income.

People who are subject to the Benefit Cap now will be affected. If their circumstances stay the same as they are now, the amount of benefits they receive will go down when the new Benefit Cap applies to them.

Some people who are not subject to the Benefit Cap now may be affected when the new Benefit Cap comes into force. If their total entitlement to some benefits is more than the new Benefit Cap, the amount of benefits they receive will go down when the new Benefit Cap applies to them. 

We are waiting to hear when the change will happen and who it will affect straight away.  We will report any updates on the Turn2us website as soon as we get them, so keep an eye on our Benefits Changes section on our website.

What help is available if you are struggling on a low income?

Read our fact sheet for more information about the Benefit Cap.

You can also use our free Benefits Calculator to check your benefits entitlements. Even if you have checked before, it is worth checking again, especially if there has been a change in your circumstances. You can also search to see if you are eligible for a charitable grant or other support by using the Turn2us Grants Search.

You can get further details on all the upcoming benefit changes on the Turn2us Benefits Changes Timetable 2016.

If you are worried about any recent or upcoming benefit changes and would like further advice, you can use our Find an Adviser tool to locate face-to-face advice in your local area.