Benefit Cap

The Benefit Cap limits the total amount of money you can get from benefits. Your benefits will be reduced if your income is above the limit.

What is the Benefit Cap?

The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit people of working age can receive. If your current income goes above this limit, your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit might be reduced.

Which benefits will be reduced?

If your income from benefits goes above the cap, your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will be reduced until the amount you receive falls below the limit

Will the Benefit Cap affect me?

You can find out if you're over the Benefit Cap by adding up all the benefits you receive using the DWP Benefit Cap calculator.

The cap applies to your whole household; that includes you, your partner and any children you're responsible for. You'll need to know the benefits everyone in your home gets to know whether you'll be affected. It doesn't include the benefit income of any non-dependant.

There are, however, a number of exemptions which mean you won't be affected by the cap, and won't have your income reduced.

You won't be affected by the Benefit Cap if you or your partner:

  • Claim Working Tax Credit (even if you don't receive it due to your income)

  • Earn more than £520 a month combined and receive Universal Credit

  • Are over Pension Credit Age

  • Are in the support group of Employment or Support Allowance or found to have limited capability for work-related activity in Universal Credit because of a health condition or disability that prevents you from working

  • Receive Carers Allowance or the care component of Universal Credit because you care for someone with a disability

You also won't be affected by the Benefit Cap if anyone in your household receives any of the following benefits:

  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

  • Attendance Allowance

  • Carer's Allowance

  • 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 can I do?

Ask us for a benefit check. You or a member of your household may be entitled to a benefit that will exempt you from the cap.

  • Challenge the decision - If you think there has been a mistake when calculating your benefits, you should challenge the Benefit Cap decision. Contact us for advice and sign-posting.

  • Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment - If you're worried about paying your rent and covering your costs you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment from your local council to help in the short term. Click here to find your local council and make an application.

  • Draw up a budget - Now might be a good time to make a list of all your income and outgoings. Drawing up a budget will help you figure out whether you can still make ends meet if you're ever affected by the Benefit Cap. 


  • Cut costs - It can be difficult to increase your household income when you regularly have more money going out than you have coming in.


  • Increase your income - If you can, consider taking on another job, or request to work more hours in your current job.


  1. Non Dependent Deductions

Why might my benefit be reduced?

Most adults living with you are expected to contribute towards the rent. If you claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Cost payments, the amount you receive could be reduced regardless of whether the other person gives you a contribution towards the rent.

What is a non-dependant?

A parent, adult child, relatives or friends are all counted as non-dependants.

Adults who are not counted as non-dependants include:

  • Your partner

  • A lodger

  • Joint tenants

  • A temporary guest who lives elsewhere

  • Someone you receive child benefit for

What do I have to do?

It is your responsibility to tell the council or the Department for Work and Pensions if a non-dependant lives with you, so ensure that you report any change in circumstances straight away.

How much is a non-dependant deduction?

Housing Benefit deductions range from £0 or £14.80 per week to £95.45 per week depending on the non-dependants gross income, their age or whether they receive income related benefits.


Universal Credit Housing Costs Contributions are taken at a flat rate of £70.06 per month (£16.17 per week) per non-dependant.

Are there any exemptions?

Some non-dependants, such as 18-25 year olds in receipt of means tested benefits, or older people in receipt of Pension Credit do not attract a non-dependant deduction under Housing Benefit (but 18-25 year olds in the same circumstances will be expected to contribute to housing costs if you are in receipt of Universal Credit).

If you have an award of certain benefits, such as Personal Independence Payment (Daily Living or the care component of Disability Living Allowance), non-dependants are ignored for Housing Benefit purposes.

Universal Credit
 rules are different, and there may be other reasons why a non-dependant does not cause your payments to be reduced. If, for example, your non-dependant child or friend receives Personal Independence Payment (Daily Living), they will not be expected to make a housing costs contribution.

Remember: Non-dependant deductions apply to council tax reductions, too, and can be as high as £11.55 per week.

The non-dependant I live with refuses to contribute. What can I do?

If a non-dependant in your home refuses to contribute to the household budget it can lead to financial problems. Non-dependants are not entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit for their contributions to housing costs.

If you’re worried about falling into arrears because of this, try speaking to your family member or friend and explain the situation.

A Local Authority may apply the highest non-dependant deduction of £95.45 per week if it thinks you have a non-dependant living with you but does not have evidence of their income or any exemptions. If this is the case, your Housing Benefit may drop to as low as 50p per week.

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