Benefit cap

The Welfare Reform and Work Act (2016) has introduced some changes to the benefit cap (maximum amounts of benefits claimed in one year), since November 2016.


New benefit cap levels are:
£20,000 a year for couples with or without children and lone parents (previously £26,000)
£13,400 for single people without children (previously £18,000).

If your total amount of out of work benefits, plus child benefit and child tax credits comes to more than the maximum amount allowed, your Housing Benefit will be reduced.

In November 2016 the cap changed to £384 per week for families, couples and lone parents and £257 per week for single adults. Your local authority will apply the cap to new and existing claimants via a deduction from your Housing Benefit entitlement.

Some people are exempt from the cap. It will not apply if:
you or your partner are eligible for Working Tax Credit
you receive Pension Credit
any member of your household gets Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, the support component of Employment and Support Allowance, Industrial Injuries Benefits or a War Widows and War Widowers Pension.

There are also additional exemptions for recipients of Guardian’s Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit Claimants who receive payments towards carer’s costs.

What can you do if you are affected?

you will need to make arrangements to pay any shortfall in your rent

you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from your local authority. It is intended as a short-term assistance and it is a discretionary payment, so the amount and period of the award can vary

commence work or increase your hours of work so that you or your partner are eligible for Working Tax Credit

contact our Income team on 0300 123 8080 to discuss this in further detail

contact our Community investment team if need help finding work by emailing

for customers in Cornwall self-employment may be the best option. Outset Cornwall can help you decide on your next steps. Register for a session here

Use this benefit cap calculator and work out if you are affected

This can:
give you an estimate of how much your benefit might be capped
you’ll need to know the amounts of each benefit you get to use the calculator and the number of people in your household.