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30 March, 2021 Open access

Total number of households subject to the benefit cap has more than doubled during Covid-19 outbreak

New DWP statistics show that 180,000 households were capped as at November 2020 compared to 89,000 prior to the pandemic taking hold in March 2020

The total number of households subject to the benefit cap has more than doubled during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to new DWP statistics.

In Benefit cap: number of households capped to November 2020, published today, the DWP reports that 180,000 households had their housing benefit or universal credit capped at November 2020, an increase of 6 per cent (10,000 households) on the previous quarter to August 2020 and more than double the number capped in March 2020 (89,000).

The statistics highlight that while the number of capped households on housing benefit continues a downwards trend, dropping to 25,000 at November 2020 from 29,000 in March 2020, numbers of capped households on universal credit have increased sharply during the Covid-19 pandemic -

NB - the DWP advises that figures for point-in-time totals of capped households may not sum with other figures in the releases as a methodology to differentiate between households that remain capped and households that are returning to the cap is yet to be developed.

In relation to the number of households newly subject to the cap through the pandemic, the DWP says this peaked in the month of April 2020 (51,000 households), with 54,000 households newly capped in the next three months to the end of July 2020, and 33,000 newly capped in the most recent quarter covered by these statistics up to the end of October 2020.

In addition, the statistics highlight that -

NB - in Benefit Cap Statistics - November 2020, the Department for Communities reports that 1,120 households in Northern Ireland had their universal credit capped and 750 households had their housing benefit capped at November 2020, representing 0.9 per cent of universal credit households and 1 per cent of working-age housing benefit households respectively.

Benefit cap: number of households capped to November 2020 is available from