Benefit cap

The government introduced a benefit cap from 15 July 2013 which puts a cap on the total amount of benefit working-age people can receive.

Prior to Universal Credit being introduced the cap will be applied by reducing housing benefit entitlement.

In Autumn 2016 the cap levels changed from:

  • £500 per week for couples (with or without children) and lone parents
  • £350 per week for single adults


  • £384.62 per week for couples (with or without children) and lone parents
  • £257.69 per week for single adults

Only some types of income and benefits are taken into account when calculating the benefit cap and if you are getting certain benefits you will be exempt from the cap.

The following benefits and income are counted when calculating the benefit cap:

  • Bereavement allowance/widowed Parent's/mother's allowance
  • Child benefit
  • Child tax credit
  • Employment and support allowance (except where the support component has been awarded)
  • Housing benefit
  • Incapacity benefit
  • Income support/jobseeker's allowance
  • Maternity allowance
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Widow's pension
  • Universal Credit (unless you have a work capability assessment and are not fit for work)

Any benefits or income not mentioned above that you receive, will not be taken in to account when calculating the level of the cap.

If you receive any of the following benefits you will be exempt from the benefit cap:

  • Working tax credit
  • Attendance allowance
  • Employment and support allowance (support component)
  • War widow/widower's pension/war Pension Scheme payments
  • Disability living allowance/personal independence payment
  • Industrial injuries benefits
  • Armed forces compensation scheme payments
  • Universal Credit (payment for limited capability for work and work-related activity)

In certain circumstances there will be a grace period which will delay when the cap is applied from.

The cap will not be applied for 39 weeks to those who have been continuously in work for the previous 12 months.

The Department for Work and Pensions will decide if a grace period applies and advise the council.

How will I know if I am affected by the benefit cap?

If you are affected by the changes to the benefit cap The Department for Work and Pensions should have already contacted you to explain how these changes will affect you and the support that they are able to provide.

The Department for Work and Pensions will advise the council if the benefit cap applies to you and confirm your income details. If your housing benefit entitlement changes as a result of the benefit cap we will write to you to confirm your new entitlement.

Discretionary housing payment

If there is a short-fall between your housing benefit and rent that you pay, you can request a discretionary housing payment. The council will consider each request and decide if it is appropriate to award additional help with housing costs. Usually discretionary housing payments are only paid for short periods of time as the amount that the council receives in funding is limited. You can find more information about discretionary housing payments, where you can download a form and apply online. 

Where can I go for more information and support?

The Department for Work and Pensions can provide support to help people find or move closer to work. You can get more information by visiting GOV.UK or you can contact them on 0845 604 3719. If you have an enquiry relating to the benefit cap you can contact the benefits cap helpline 0845 605 7064 or text phone 0845 608 8551.

Where can I get further advice?

  • Salford welfare rights service, They provide advice, support and representation on benefits and tax credits. Call 0800 345 7375.
  • Salford citizens advice bureau (CAB), They provide a wide range of advice and are based in Pendleton, Eccles, Swinton, Irlam and Walkden - for addresses look in the phone book, Yellow Pages or visit their website. Call 0844 826 9695.
  • Salford housing options, They provide advice and support with immediate housing problems or future housing needs.
  • Shelter, They provide confidential housing, welfare benefits and debt advice through a network of advice services. Call 0808 800 4444.
  • Money Advice Service, Provide free and impartial money advice. Telephone 0800 138 7777 8am to 8pm (Monday to Friday) 9am to 1pm (Saturday) closed Sundays and Bank Holidays, or visit the Money Helper Service for more information or to web chat.
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