Benefit Cap

The benefit cap limits the amount people can be paid if they claim certain benefits. It applies to people of working age; people of pension age are exempt. When all a person's benefits are added up, their housing benefit or universal credit is reduced so that total benefits don't go above the cap limit.

The benefit cap calculation includes these benefits:

  • Housing Benefit (unless living in supported housing)
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance (unless in the support group)
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits
  • maternity benefits and widows benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Universal Credit

In October 2016 there were 59 households in Wakefield District affected by the overall Benefit Cap of £500 per week for couples and lone parents and £350 per week for single people without children. From 7th November 2016 the cap has been lowered to £384.62 per week for couples and lone parents, and £257.69 per week for single people without children. An impact assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions prior to the change estimated 400 households would be affected by the new Cap level. As the graph below shows, that estimate was fairly accurate. Months such as February and August 2017 have unusually low counts of households who have been capped. This is probably a consequence of when and how the data are being collected.

Source: DWP Stat-Xplore API.

In July 2017, around three-quarters of all households affected by the cap were single parent households (see table below). The cap tends to affect families with higher numbers of dependent children. Half of the families affected have four or more dependent children.

Number of capped households by family type and number of dependent children in households
Source: DWP (Stat-Xplore API) Period: July 2017

In July 2017, the amount a household was capped varied from less that £25 per week to between £100 and £150 per week (see table below). Overall, just over one hundred households were being capped between £75 and £150 per week. Over the course of a year this would equate to between £3,900 and £7,800 benefit being lost, assuming benefit claiming profiles remained constant.

Number of capped households by weekly cap amount (£)
Source: DWP (Stat-Xplore API) Period: July 2017

Print Friendly, PDF & Email