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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 receive, even if their full entitlement would otherwise be higher.

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 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:

  • 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 Living 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 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 £139.52 per week or £604 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 Living 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) 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: April 2020

 

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