Policy dashboard

What is the two-child limit? What is the benefit cap? How do these policies work and who do they affect? Use this policy dashboard to find out.

The two-child limit

The two-child limit restricts means-tested child-related benefits to the first two children in a family, for all new births since 6 April 2017

  • In 2021 over 300,000 families were affected by the two-child limit, including 1.1 million children
  • Affected families lose out on up to £237.08 per child
  • 4% of families that would usually be affected by the 2CL receive an exemption 
  • Most exemptions (73%) are for multiple births; 14% for non-parental care; 4% for adoption; 10% for non-consensual conception 
  • 43% of affected families are single parent families
  • 60% of affected families have 3 children; 26% have 4; 14% have 5 or more
  • 56% of affected families are in paid work
  • Families are capped by different amounts depending on their original benefits entitlement. As of August 2021, the average amount was £54 a week, but some families are capped by more than £300 a week
  • 62% of families affected by the benefit cap are single parent families
  • As of August 2021, 380,000 (68%) of ever-capped households had moved off the cap
  • ↪ Of those capped under Universal Credit, 18% of these moved off the cap due to earning more than the £617 exemption threshold
  • ↪ Of those capped under Housing Benefit, 30% of these moved off the cap due to moving into work (and claiming Working Tax Credit)

The benefit cap

The benefit cap limits the total amount of benefit income some low-earning or non-employed households can receive.

Interactive data map

For timely project updates, and nothing else

Your details are safe with us. We will never share them with anyone else, and it’s easy to opt-out at any time. Check out our privacy policy here.