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Benefit Cap - Am I affected by the Benefit Cap?

Find out more about the Benefit Cap.

Am I affected by the Benefit Cap?

You can use our Benefits Calculator to check whether you are or will be affected by the Benefit Cap. (We tell you if you are affected by the cap on the Results page, in the Notes section for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit).

The Benefit Cap usually applies to you if you or your partner is working age and you receive:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Universal Credit Housing element

The Benefit Cap does not apply to you if you are exempt or you are in a grace period. 

Am I exempt?

You are exempt from the Benefit Cap if:

  • You are claiming Universal Credit and you (and your partner) earn at least the amount you would get for 16 hours per week on national minimum wage
  • You are claiming Housing Benefit and you (and your partner) work enough hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit

How much do I need to work to be exempt?

Universal Credit

If you are claiming Universal Credit and you are earning at least the amount you would get for 16 hours per week at national minimum wage, you are exempt from the Benefit Cap.

The amount you have to earn to be exempt depends on which national minimum wage applies to you. You are exempt if you are:

  • aged 25+ and earning at least £115.20 per week or £499.20 per month
  • aged 21-24 and earning at least £111.20per week or £481.87 per month
  • aged 18-20 and earning at least £88.80 per week or £384.80 per month
  • aged under 18 and earning at least £64 per week or £277.33 per month
  • an apprentice and earning at least £54.40 per week or £235.73 per month

Housing Benefit

If you are claiming Housing Benefit and you are working enough hours to claim Working Tax Credit, you are exempt from the Benefit Cap.

The number of hours you have to work to qualify for Working Tax Credit depends on your situation. If you are:

  • A lone parent, you have to work 16 hours per week
  • A couple with children and one of you is entitled to Carer's Allowance, one of you has to work 16 hours per week
  • A couple with children, you and your partner have to work a total of 24 hours per week and one of you must work at least 16 hours per week
  • Single and aged over 25, you have to work 30 hours per week

Am I in a grace period?

If you are claiming Universal Credit, the Benefit Cap will not be applied for a 9 month grace period if:

  • You (and your partner) earned at least the amount you would get for 16 hours per week at national minimum wage for the previous 12 months

If you are claiming Housing Benefit, the Benefit Cap will not be applied for a 39 week grace period if:

  • You (or your partner) was working for at least 50 out of the previous 52 weeks, and
  • Whilst you (or your partner) were working, you were not entitled to Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance

 

Updated April 2017

 

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