Scottish Discretionary Housing Payment: guidance manual

Discretionary Housing Payment guidance manual for local authorities in Scotland, for use from 1 April 2024, issued by Scottish Ministers.

Section 11: Exemptions from the benefit cap

29. Exemptions from the benefit cap

29.1 Whilst LAs are expected to mitigate the benefit cap as fully as possible for anyone who is affected by it, the Scottish Government expect consideration to be taken as to whether a recipient can be made exempt from the cap in the first instance. If suitable, LAs should connect recipients to employment services and assess if they are eligible for any of the exemptions below. Exemption from the benefit cap is preferable to mitigation. However, for clarity, payment of a DHP for benefit cap mitigation is not dependant on assessments or job-seeking behaviour.

29.2 Individuals are not affected by the cap if they are over State Pension age. If they are part of a couple and one of them is under State Pension age, the cap may apply.

29.3 Individuals are not affected by the cap if they or their partner:

  • get Working Tax Credit (even if the amount is £0)
  • get Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition that stops them from working (this is called ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’)
  • get Universal Credit because they care for someone with a disability

29.4 An individual is also not affected by the cap if they, their partner or any children under 18 living with them gets:

  • Adult Disability Payment (ADP) (* see below)
  • Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Attendance Allowance (* see below)
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Child Disability Payment (CDP) (* see below)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) (* see below)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
  • Guardian’s Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (* see below)
  • War pensions (* see below)
  • War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension

*Where a person is not receiving ADP, CDP, DLA, PIP, Attendance Allowance or a War Disablement Pension because they are in hospital or a care home, the exemption will continue to apply.

29.5 If an individual is affected, the benefit cap might not start for 9 months depending on the individual’s earnings.

29.6 There is a grace period of 39 weeks in HB, or nine months in UC, for those individuals who have been in work for the previous 12 months and have earned the same as, or more than, the DWP earnings threshold. LAs should ensure the individual is not within this grace period.

29.7 HB paid to UC households living in specified or temporary accommodation is exempt from the benefit cap. These households are not exempt from the benefit cap in UC, rather their HB is not included in the UC calculation. The benefit cap applies in the normal way to HB claimants in specified or temporary accommodation who are not also entitled to UC.

29.8 Where an individual is not exempt from the benefit cap, an award should be made. A financial assessment will not be required and hardship will not need to be proved. 



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