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The benefit cap

There’s a limit to how much money you can get from benefits, called the benefit cap.  Here we explain how this works and what you can do if you’ve been affected.

The limit depends on where you live.

  • Single parent families in Greater London can’t get more than £486.98 a week or £25,323 a year.
  • Single parent families everywhere else can’t get more than £423.46 a week or £22,020 a year.

If your income goes over this amount, your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit will be reduced until your income is below the limit.

Use our quick online benefit cap checker to see if you could be affected. And if you’re worried about the benefit cap and would like some personal advice, talk to us.

Benefits included in the cap


What to do if you’re affected

Benefits included in the cap

Most benefits are included. The cap will apply to the total amount you get from:

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – only if you’re in the work-related activity group
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Universal Credit (unless you get the limited capacity for work and work-related activity element)
  • Widowed Parent’s Allowance, Widowed Mother’s Allowance or Widow’s Pension

The benefit cap and Universal Credit

You may get a ‘grace period’ for up to 9 months. This means the benefit cap will not affect your Universal Credit payments if:

  • You’re claiming Universal Credit because you stopped working or were earning less


  • You’re now earning less than £722 a month


  • In each of the 12 months before your earnings dropped or you stopped working, you earned at least as much as the earnings threshold (£658 up to 10 April 2023 and £722 from 12 April 2023)

If you’re on maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, or claiming Statutory Sick Pay, you’ll still be counted as being in work.


You won’t be affected by the benefit cap if you:

  • Get Working Tax Credit – even if you get £0
  • Get the work-related activity element of Universal Credit because you have a disability or health condition
  • Get the carer element of Universal Credit because you look after someone who’s disabled
  • Get Universal Credit and earn at least £722 each month after tax and National Insurance 
  • Are living in temporary or sheltered accommodation 

You also won’t be affected if you or any children living with you get:

  • Adult Disability Payment (ADP)
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Disability Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • War pensions
  • War Widow’s or War Widower’s pension

What to do if you’re affected

  • The benefit cap doesn’t apply if you’re on Universal Credit and earn at least £722 a month. So if you’re earning close to this amount, can you work more hours to raise your earnings?
  • If you or any of your children have a health condition or disability and don’t get a disability benefit, check whether you can claim one. The benefit cap won’t apply if you get Personal Independence Payment or your child gets Disability Living Allowance.
  • If you’re renting privately, could you find cheaper accommodation? Or could you negotiate a lower rent with the landlord?
  • If you’re in council housing, see if your housing provider can move you to a cheaper home or help with your finances.
  • You could apply to your council for a Discretionary Housing Payment to make up the shortfall in your rent if you’re on Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. The council will decide if you’re eligible – if they make a payment, it’s likely to be for a limited time. Our page on help with rent has more.

Ask for help

You can also call our helpline and we’ll talk you through your options.

Date last updated: 21 February 2024

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