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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)

Carers Element

You can get this addition of £160.20 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 Carers Allowance where you are prevented from claiming if you are earning above a certain level (£123pw for 2019/20), for the Carers Element your level of earnings does not prevent you from claiming. However, as the Carers Element is a part of Universal Credit,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 element each if you both qualify for it, but you cannot be caring for the same severely disabled person.

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 receive a higher element for a first or only child of £277.08 per month if you are responsible for a child born before 6 April 2017.  Otherwise you receive a child element of £231.67 per month per child.

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.

There are also two disabled child additions. 

  • Disabled child addition of £126.11 per month for each child or qualifying young person that is in receipt of DLA or PIP; or

  • Severely disabled child addition of £392.08 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

You can receive this 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)

You will get 85% of your childcare costs met, up to a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child and £1108.04 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 can get either the:

  • limited capability for work element (LCW) £126.11 per month (From 3 April 2017 the limited capability for work element will not be available to claimants who claim UC on or after this date, unless they were in receipt of a work related activity component in ESA immediately before they claimed UC); or

  • limited capability for work related activity element (LCWRA) £336.20 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

If you earn more than the equivalent of 16 hours a week, paid at the National Minimum Wage rate, you will not be able to get either of the capability for work elements unless you are also getting Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

You may have to wait three months for your LCWRA element to be added on. Though 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 components immediately prior to your Universal Credit claim.


Updated April 2019

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