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The Benefit Cap, introduced by the Government, limits the amount that a household can get in certain benefits.

When benefits are calculated, Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, is reduced so that the total you are paid doesn’t go above the limit of £20,000 a year.

It only applies to people of working age (16-64 years old), and not pensioners who are exempt.

You can use the Government’s Benefit Cap Calculator to get an estimate of how much your benefit might be capped by visiting www.gov.uk/benefit-cap-calculator

The Cap will not apply if you work enough hours to claim Working Tax Credit, even if you don’t get it because your income is too high.

If you, or your partner, can get into work or increase your hours this could help.

It is also important to make sure that there isn’t anyone in your household who is entitled to one of the benefits that mean the Cap won’t apply to you.

If your benefits have been capped, Citizens Advice suggest a number of options if you are affected, which include:

  • Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment from your Council which may help to pay your rent in the short term or cover a deposit to move to cheaper accommodation
  • Speak to your Council’s children’s services department if you have a disabled child, who doesn’t qualify for Disability Living Allowance, or a child whose health could be damaged by the cut in benefit. They may be able to help with a cash payment or other assistance
  • Talk to family and friends to see if they can help to cover the cost of the reduction, these payments don’t affect your benefits.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, or need advice on benefits, please contact us.

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