About the Benefit Cap

There is a limit on the total amount of benefit a household can receive.

For working-age households, the total household welfare payments will be capped to £500 per week for couple and lone parent households, and to £350 per week for single person households where no children are present.

If you are affected your housing benefit will be reduced to make sure that the total amount of benefit you receive isn’t more than the cap level.

Benefits included in the cap:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance (except when in the support group)
  • Guardian's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit (except Housing Benefit paid to households in supported exempt accommodation)  
  • Income Support
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Reduced Earnings Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance


1) One-off payments like Discretionary Housing Payment are not included.

2) You will not be affected by the cap if you, your partner or dependent children are entitled to the following support:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Disability Living Allowance 
  • Personal Independent Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Employment and Support Allowance with a support component.
  • War Pension Scheme payments (including War Widows/Widowers Pension and War Disablement Pension)

3) You will not be affected by the cap if you have recently been in work and qualify for the 4 week extended payment of Housing Benefit.

The benefit cap is intended to increase work incentives so there is an exemption for households that are considered to be "in work." You will be considered "in work" and be exempt from the benefit cap if you are entitled to Working Tax Credit, however if you don’t work sufficient hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit, the benefit cap will still apply.

In addition, there is a grace period of 39 weeks where the benefit cap will not apply for those claimants who have been in work for the previous 12 months and find that their circumstances have changed because their job has ended.

Additional Support

There is advice and support available to help you manage any change to your income:

Department for Work and Pensions

Contact the Department for Work and Pensions if you believe you shouldn’t be affected by the Benefit Cap

  • Telephone: 0845 605 7064
  • Textphone: 0845 608 8551

HM Revenues and Customs

Find out if tax credits can help you and your family

Get Oldham Working programme

Support to help you find a job

Oldham Citizens Advice Bureau

Free debt, benefits and housing advice

Welfare Rights Service

Help and advice to make sure you are claiming all that you are entitled to

Discretionary Housing Payment

You may be able to get some additional support for your housing costs through a Discretionary Housing Payment

Welfare Rights Service

Worried about how benefit changes might affect you? Phone lines are open 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Tel 0161 770 6655
Benefits Advisers

Advisers at Access Oldham can talk you through the benefits, how to claim them & additional support.

Civic Centre
West Street
Oldham, OL1 1UG
(For Sat Navs use OL1 1NL)

Welfare reform calculator

Use the welfare reform calculator to find out how you may be affected by recent changes to the benefit system.

Welfare reform calculator