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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

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