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The Benefit Cap and Housing Benefit - which benefits are included?

This advice applies to England

The Benefit Cap is a limit on the total amount of certain benefits you can get if you're of working age.

The Benefit Cap only affects people getting Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. This page is about people getting Housing Benefit.

The cap will applies to your household income from most benefits, including Child Tax Credit. However, there are some benefits which the cap doesn't apply to. If you're getting Housing Benefit, read this page to find out which benefits are included in the cap, and which ones aren't.

What's meant by your household?

Your household includes you, your partner and any children you are responsible for and who live with you.

Your benefit income is taken into account before any deductions, for example, for recovery of overpayments. The income of any non-dependants living with you, such as adult children, won't count.

Benefits which are included in the cap

The cap will apply to your combined income from:

  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance - except where it's paid with the support component
  • Housing Benefit - although there are some exceptions
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Maternity Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Widowed Parent's Allowance
  • Widowed Mother's Allowance
  • Widow's Pension.

Which benefits aren't included in the cap?

The following benefits aren't included when working out whether your total benefit income is more than the cap:

  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Pension Credit
  • State Retirement Pension
  • one off payments made by your local authority to help you out in a crisis
  • Winter Fuel and Cold Weather Payments
  • a short term benefit advance from the DWP to help you out over a crisis until your first benefit payment
  • non-cash benefits, for example, free school meals
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Statutory Maternity Pay, Paternity Pay, Adoption Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Pay.

Some benefits are not included in either of the above lists because they exempt you from the Benefit Cap altogether.

If you're getting Housing Benefit in supported accommodation

If you're in a certain type of supported accommodation, your Housing Benefit won't be included when working out your total benefit income. This applies if you're living in one of the following types of accommodation, known as specified accommodation:

  • a resettlement place
  • accommodation where the accommodation provider or someone acting on their behalf provides you with care, support or supervision
  • accommodation you were admitted to in order to meet your need for care, support or supervision
  • temporary accommodation for people who’ve left home because of domestic violence
  • a hostel.

The Government has also confirmed that 18-21 year olds in supported accommodation claiming Universal Credit will retain Housing Benefit after April 2017.

What is a resettlement place?

A resettlement place is a place in temporary accommodation if you haven’t got a settled way of life. The accommodation aims to help you lead a more settled way of life. The accommodation must have originally been funded through the resettlement grant from the government, although this grant is no longer available.

What is accommodation where the accommodation provider or someone acting on their behalf provides you with care, support or supervision?

This means accommodation that one of the following organisations provides:

  • a non-metropolitan county council
  • a housing association
  • a registered charity
  • a voluntary organisation

The accommodation provider or someone acting on their behalf must also provide you with care, support or supervision.

Examples of these types of accommodation include sheltered housing, adapted housing for disabled people, or a supported living complex for people with mental or learning disabilities, but not care homes.

What is accommodation you were admitted to in order to meet your need for care, support or supervision?

This means accommodation where you get care, support or supervision. You must have been admitted to the accommodation to get the care, support or supervision. It does not matter whether the accommodation provider, someone acting on their behalf, or someone else altogether provides the care, support or supervision.

One of the following organisations must provide your accommodation:

  • a county council in a county where there is a district council for each part of the county
  • a housing association
  • a registered charity
  • a voluntary organisation.

What is temporary accommodation for people who’ve left home because of domestic violence?

Temporary accommodation for people who've left home because of domestic violence is accommodation that meets the following conditions:

  • a local authority, housing association, registered charity, or voluntary organisation has provided you with it
  • they provided you with it because you left home as a result of domestic violence
  • it’s in a building or part of a building which is used or mainly used as temporary accommodation for people who’ve left home because of domestic violence.

For example, this includes a women's aid refuge for women suffering from domestic violence.

Domestic violence can be any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling behaviour, coercive behaviour, violence, or abuse. It includes physical, sexual, psychological, financial or emotional abuse.

You can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, and regardless of whether the person carrying out the violence is a man or a woman.

You can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of your sexuality and regardless of the violent person's sexuality.

What is a hostel?

A hostel means accommodation that a local authority owns and manages. It must not be separate and self-contained, and food must be provided or there must be facilities so you can prepare your own food. You must also be getting care, support or supervision in the hostel.

If you're in a hostel that doesn't meet all these conditions, it may count as one of the other types of specified accommodation.

Care homes, Abbeyfield homes and independent hospitals don’t count as hostels.

Next steps

Other useful information

  • You can get more information about the Benefit Cap on the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk
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