Benefits Cap

From 7 November 2016 the government reduced the level of the Benefits Cap to £20,000 per annum.



The cap is set at:

  • £384.62 per week for single parents
  • £384.62 per week for couples with or without children
  • £257.69 per week for single people

The government will add up how much money you get from the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Employment & Support Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance
  • Bereavement Allowance

If the amount you receive adds up to more than the maximum amount you are allowed your housing benefit will be cut. As this amount is being taken from your housing benefit you will have to find the difference yourself to pay the rent.

Who will be affected?
Everyone affected by the benefits cap will be told by Maidstone Borough Council and JobCentre Plus.

You won't be affected by the benefits cap if:

  • You've reached pension age (63 years and 6 months)
  • You've been working for at least the last 12 months but have lost your job through no fault of your own (such as being made redundant), the benefits cap may not apply to your claim for the first nine months
  • You or your partner is working enough hours to qualify for working tax credit (Even if their income is too high to receive working tax credit). You will need to make a claim to the Department of Work and Pensions to see that you meet these criteria.
  • You receive a war pension

Or if you, your partner or children get:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Carers Allowance
  • The support component of Employment and Support Allowance

Ways to Prepare


Here's how you can prepare for the changes:

  • If you are worried that you might be affected by the benefits cap think about how you will be able to cope. Don’t leave it until your rent is due.
  • Start to budget now to make sure you are able to pay your rent so you don’t get into arrears and risk losing your home. Take a look at our Help and Advice pages for help with budgeting and ways to save money.

Everyone affected by the benefits cap will be contacted by us or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Example Cases


Case One

Sheila and George currently get £454 a week in Jobseeker's Allowance, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit for themselves and their four children. They live in a Housing association property where the rent is £90 a week and they currently receive £90 a week in housing benefit to help them pay for this. This means that their total benefit awards are £544 per week. So they will be affected by the benefit cap when it starts.

At the moment their housing is paid directly to their landlord on their behalf. They will continue to receive the £454 a week in other benefits, but their housing benefit will drop to 50p a week. This means that their landlord will only be sent the 50p a week towards the rent of £90. Sheila and George will need to find the other £89.50 a week themselves out of their £454 benefits to pay the difference in their rent.