5 facts about the Benefit Cap


The Benefit Cap has now been in place since April 2013. Over six years later what have we found out about the policy?

1. Single parents

Seven in 10 households that have their benefits capped are single-parent families. 69% of these families have at least one child under the age of 5, including 24% who have a child under the age of 2.

2. Lower caps

When the cap was introduced in 2013 it was originally set at £26,000 per year for families and £18,200 per year for single adults with no children. However in 2016, the cap was lowered to £20,000 for families and £13,400 for single adults with no children. In London it is £23,000 for families and 15,410 for single adults with no children.

Around eight in 10 people who have been affected by the cap were only capped because of the introduction of the lower cap levels.

3. How much is capped?

The average amount that Housing Benefit is capped at is £55 per week – this comes to around £2,860 per year. The average weekly equivalent that Universal Credit is capped by is £50 – approximately £2,600 per year.

4. Children

92% of households that had their benefits capped include children, with the figure at 94% for Housing Benefit, and 89% for Universal Credit.

5. Northern Ireland exemption

In Northern Ireland, any households with children who have their benefit reduced due to the cap can get 'Welfare Supplementary Payments'. The payments will match the amount by which their benefit is reduced, effectively meaning they are no worse off. These payments will remain until 31 March 2020.

If you have been affected by the cap, find out what your options are.