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Universal Credit (UC) - Additional Elements of Universal Credit (UC)

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working-age who are on a low income.

Additional Elements of Universal Credit (UC)

All of these elements are means tested. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) adds up all the elements you are entitled to. This is called your maximum amount of Universal Credit. After that, your income is taken away from your maximum amount to work out the amount of Universal Credit you are entitled to. 

Carer's Element

You can get this addition of £162.92 per month if you are caring for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week. You do not have to claim Carer's Allowance to get this element. 

Unlike Carer's Allowance where you are prevented from claiming if you are earning above a certain level (£128pw for 2020/21), for the Carer's Element your level of earnings does not prevent you from claiming. However, as the Carer's Element is a part of Universal Credit (UC), which is means tested, your earnings and other income will affect whether you can get this and how much Universal Credit you are entitled to.

If you are making a joint claim, you can get a Carer's Element each if you both qualify for it. However, you cannot be caring for the same severely disabled person.

Getting the Carer’s Element of Universal Credit might affect the benefits of the person you care for. It might mean they lose their entitlement to the Severe Disability Premium.

Child Element

Your Universal Credit will include a child element if you are responsible for a child or qualifying young person who normally lives with you. You usually receive a child element of £235.83 per child per month. If your first or only child was born before 6 April 2017, you will receive a slightly higher amount for that child of £281.25 per month. 

You will not be paid a child element for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, unless an exception applies. This is called the Two Child Limit. If you have three or more children, check if you qualify for an exception to the Two Child Limit. You should still report all the children who live with you when you claim Universal Credit.

There are also two disabled child additions. 

  • Disabled child addition of £128.25 per month for each child or qualifying young person that is in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or

  • Severely disabled child addition of £400.29 per month if your child or qualifying young person gets the highest rate of the care component of DLA, the enhanced rate for daily living of PIP or is registered blind.

You can still receive a disabled child addition for a third or subsequent child, even if you cannot get the child element for that child.

Childcare Costs Element

Some childcare facilities are asking parents to continue to pay to keep their place during closures related to coronavirus. Universal Credit will not help with fees to retain a place. The Consumer and Markets Authority has said that providers should not be charging fees for a service they cannot provide. If your childcare provider is asking you to pay a fee, you can report them to the Consumer and Markets Authority

You can receive a childcare costs element if you pay for registered childcare when you go to work. There is no set number of hours you need to work. If you are part of a couple, then both of you must be in work unless the non-working partner:

  • Has limited capability for work or limited capability for work related activity, or

  • Has regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person, or

  • Is temporarily absent from your household (for example, they are in prison, hospital, or residential care).

If you live with a partner and one or both of you are furloughed and not going in to work, the DWP will expect the person who is at home to provide childcare and will not pay for childcare costs.

You will get 85% of your childcare costs met, up to a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child and £1,108.04 per month for two or more children.

Housing Costs Element

For details about the housing costs element, please see our Universal Credit housing costs guide

Limited Capability for Work Element

You will get one of these if you satisfy the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). See our Universal Credit - Work Capability Assessment information.

You might get either the:

  • Limited capability for work element (LCW) £128.25 per month (From 3 April 2017, the limited capability for work element will not be available to claimants who claim Universal Credit (UC) on or after this date, unless they were in receipt of a work-related activity component in Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) immediately before they claimed UC), or

  • Limited capability for work-related activity element (LCWRA) £341.92 per month 

If you are making a joint claim and you both have LCW or LCWRA, your award will only include one element:

  • If one or both of you have LCWRA, you will receive that element
  • If you both have LCW, you will receive that element.

You may have to wait three months for your LCWRA element to be added on. Although there are some instances where it can be added on straight away, such as if you are terminally ill or you were entitled to one of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) components immediately prior to your Universal Credit claim.

If you have already been assessed as having limited capability for work or for work-related activity as part of your UC claim, you can work while still being treated as having limited capability for work. If you are doing a lot of work, this might mean the DWP will want to do another Work Capability Assessment to check whether your condition has changed.

If you haven’t had a work capability assessment yet and are earning more than £140.00 per week, you won’t be able to have a Work Capability Assessment unless you are also getting PIP, DLA or Attendance Allowance.

Updated October 2020

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