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The Two Child Limit means that you can only get more Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for your third (or more) child if:

  • For Child Tax Credit, they were born before 6 April 2017
  • For Universal Credit, they were on your claim before 6 April 2017
  • They are disabled (Disabled Child element only)
  • You qualify for an exception in Child Tax Credit or special circumstances apply in Universal Credit

You qualify for an exception or special circumstances for each third (or subsequent) child if:

  • You have adopted them
  • You receive Guardian’s Allowance for them
  • They are the second (or more) child born in a multiple birth
  • They are the child of one of your children who is under 16 years old
  • They are not your child or stepchild and you look after them under a Court Order 
  • They are not your child or stepchild and you look after them under an arrangement with Social Services (except for formal foster care)
  • They were conceived as a result of rape and you do not live with the perpetrator

For more details about the exceptions in Child Tax Credit, see the Child Tax Credit: Exceptions to the 2 child limit page of the gov.uk website or call HMRC on 0345 300 3900.

For more details about the special circumstances in Universal Credit, see the Universal Credit and families with more than 2 children page of the gov.uk website or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723.