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Benefit Cap - Am I affected by the Benefit Cap?

The Benefit Cap is a limit to the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can get.

Am I affected by the Benefit Cap?

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

The benefit cap will not affect you if your total benefit entitlement is less than the Benefit Cap amount.

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

The Benefit Cap does not apply to you if you are exempt from the Benefit Cap (see below) or you are in a grace period

Am I exempt from the Benefit Cap?

You are exempt from the Benefit Cap if:

How much do I need to work to be exempt from the Benefit Cap?

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 Living Wage, you are exempt from the Benefit Cap.

You are exempt if you are earning at least £617 per month. 

If your employer pays you on a schedule that is not monthly (for example weekly pay, fortnightly pay, or four-weekly pay), you might not be treated as earning enough to lift the cap in some months. If you earn more than £142 per week but less than £155 per week and you are paid weekly, fortnightly, or four-weekly, you are particularly likely to be affected. There is a court case looking at whether this is right. For now, it would be a good idea to get advice if the cap is being applied to your claim. 

Housing Benefit

If you are claiming Housing Benefit and you are getting Working Tax Credit, you are exempt from the benefit cap.

You are also exempt if you have an open claim for Working Tax Credit and meet the qualification requirements, but are not receiving payment because your income is too high.

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 (or your partner) earned at least £617 per month for each of 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) were 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 (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Updated: October 2021


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