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Benefit cap – how does it affect residents

Which benefits it applies to, and how we work it out.
Universal Credit this year

Every five to six years, the calendar makes it so we have 53 Mondays instead of the usual 52. This coming financial year, 2024 / 2025, is one of those special years.

If you get Universal Credit, the Department for Work and Pensions will only pay for 52 weeks of your rent in a year. In a 53 week financial year, this means there will be one week of rent that will not be covered by Universal Credit.

Find out what we're doing to help and what to do if you're affected and already struggling with the cost of living.

How much benefits are capped at

The level of cap is:

  • £486.98 per week for lone parents or couples
  • £326.29  per week for single people without children

How the cap is worked out

The benefit cap applies to the total amount that the people in your household get from the following benefits:

  • bereavement allowance / widowed parent’s / mother’s allowance
  • carer’s allowance
  • child benefit
  • child tax credit
  • employment support allowance (except where the support element has been awarded)
  • guardians allowance
  • housing benefit
  • incapacity benefit
  • income support
  • jobseekers allowance
  • maternity allowance
  • severe disablement allowance
  • widow’s pension

Example of how the cap is worked out

A resident is a lone parent with five children and has a weekly income of £413.35, made up of:

  • income support: £339.45
  • child benefit: £73.90

Currently they get £108.70 a week in housing benefit. The total amount of income, including housing benefit, is £522.05.

This is £79.74 above the benefit cap, meaning the resident’s housing benefit award would be reduced by £79.74 to £28.96 a week. The resident will need to make up the £79.74 shortfall from their other income.