The benefit cap and lone parents with children aged under two

On 22 June 2017, the High Court declared that the benefit cap is unlawful in the way that it applies to lone parents with children aged under two. 

Four families had taken legal action against the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), on the basis that they did not qualify for free childcare and were unable to work the 16 hours needed to exempt them from the benefit cap.

The DWP has said it is taking steps to appeal the decision.

What this means

For now, there is no change in the law.

If you are a lone parent facing the benefit cap and your youngest child is aged under two, the benefit cap still applies to you. If the DWP decides not to appeal or it loses the appeal, the government will have to change the law. In the meantime, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment. You can also talk to our Welfare Reform Team about your options for dealing with the benefit cap.

Where to get more information

The DWP has produced guidance for councils which includes a Q&A section. You can download a PDF of this from the GOV.UK website.