Press release

Benefit cap: thousands move into work or off Housing Benefit

The benefit cap continues to provide an incentive to work, with thousands of people who had their benefits capped moving into work.


The benefit cap continues to provide a clear incentive to work, with over 22,000 people who had their benefits capped moving into work, reducing their Housing Benefit claim or no longer claiming Housing Benefit at all, according to new figures published today (14 May 2015).

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefits a household can receive to £500 a week for couples or lone parents, and £350 a week for single adult households. A cap of £26,000 a year for out-of-work families is the equivalent of a salary of around £34,000. Before the cap, there was no upper limit on benefit claims, with 300 of the highest claiming families getting over £10 million in benefits every year.

Today’s figures come as employment has reached an all-time high of 73.5%, with more than half a million more people in work compared with a year ago, and more women making the choice to work than ever before.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said:

As well as restoring fairness to the system, and saving the taxpayer money, these figures show the benefit cap provides a clear incentive to people to get into work.

By putting an end to runaway benefit claims, and introducing a system which guarantees you will always be better off in work, thousands of people who have been affected by the cap are gaining the financial security and esteem that comes with a job and a pay packet.

Since the cap was introduced in April 2013, around 58,700 households have had their benefits capped – 35,600 of those households are no longer subject to the cap, with nearly 22,400 of them moving into work, reducing their Housing Benefit claim, or no longer claiming Housing Benefit at all.

Recent research published showed that the cap is motivating people to find work. Such as:

  • those who would be impacted by the cap are 41% more likely to go into work than a similar group who fall just below the cap’s level, but this trend didn’t exist before the cap was in place – indeed those with higher weekly benefit used to be less likely to move into work
  • 38% of those capped said they were doing more to find work, a third were submitting more applications and 1 in 5 went to more interviews
  • where households said they intended to seek work because of the cap in February 2014 (45%), by August the vast majority of them (85%) had done so
  • 2 in 5 (40%) of those who said they had looked for work because of the cap in February actually entered employment by August

To increase the incentives for claimants to move into work, households where someone is entitled to Working Tax Credit are exempt from the benefit cap. All households with someone, including a child, in receipt of a disability-related benefit are also exempt from the benefit cap recognising the extra costs disability can bring.

More information

Read the statistics on the benefit cap: number of households capped to February 2015

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Published 14 May 2015