Calculate your maximum amount  


A standard allowance is always included in your Universal Credit maximum amount. The amount depends on your age and whether you are claiming as a single person or making a joint claim with your partner.
Note: 
if one member of a couple does not satisfy the rules of entitlement for Universal Credit, the other partner may be able to claim as a single person. In this case, the standard allowance for a single claimant applies. 

Rates of Standard Allowance Per month
Single claimant
Under 25 £292.11
25 or over £368.74
Joint claimants
Both under 25 £458.51
One or both 25 or over £578.82

Now you have you Standard Allowance figure, you can proceed through the different elements, adding the applicable figures that apply to your household circumstances.


 

A housing costs element is included in your maximum amount for qualifying housing costs. Housing costs can be either rent or service charges. See here for when you are entitled and the amount of housing costs element.
Note: you cannot get a housing costs element for your mortgage interest payments or for a loan for repairs and improvements. Instead, the DWP may offer you a loan. 

Social Housing  

Living in a social housing property, your housing costs element will be based on your eligible rent. To calculate your housing element, you need to work out the rent as an average monthly amount – this is not four-weekly. Your weekly rent will be multiplied by the number of weeks the rent is payable in a year then divided by 12 months to give you the monthly average. UC will take into account any rent-free weeks that you have. 

An example of this will be:


Weekly rent is £98.90, and you have 0 rent free weeks - £98.90 x 52 (weeks in a year) = £5142.80 
£5142.80 divided by 12 (months) = £428.57 per month.
or
Weekly rent is £114.75, and you have 4 rent free weeks - £114.75 x 48 (weeks that rent is payable) = £5508.00
£5508.00 divided by 12 (months) = £459.00 per month.

 

The 'Bedroom Tax'

If you a social rented sector tenant, a deduction is usually made from your housing cost element when you have more bedrooms in your home than you are entitled to under the eligibility rules. This is commonly referred to as the 'bedroom tax'.

Your housing element may be reduced by bedroom tax which makes a deduction if you are classed as having spare rooms. 14% deduction for one spare bedroom, 25% deduction for two or more spare bedrooms.

 

Housing cost contribution

If your extended benefit unit includes a 'non-dependant' a set deduction is usually made from your housing costs element. This is because it is assumed that the non-dependant makes a contribution to the housing costs while living with you, whether or not s/he actually does so. 

Note: 

  • If you are a owner-occupier, no deduction is made from your service charge payments unless you have shared ownership tenancy.
  • A non-dependant can only be a member of the extended benefit unit of one UC claimant (or pair of joint claimants), so a deduction is only made from that UC claimant's (or pair of joint claimants) housing cost element. 

Exception to the Housing Costs Contribution Deduction 

No housing cost contribution deduction for any of you non-dependants if you (or your partner, if you are joint claimants):

  • get AA (or equivalent benefits paid because of an injury at work or a war injury), the middle or highest rate of the DLA/CDP care component, the daily living component of PIP/ADP or armed forces independent payment, or would receive one of these but for being in hospital; or
  • are certified as severely sight impaired or blind by a consultant ophthalmologist.

No housing cost contribution deduction is made for any non-dependant who is

  • getting AA, the middle or highest rate of the DLA care component, the daily living component of PIP/ADP, or armed forces independent payment, or who would receive it but for being in hospital. This is also expected to apply to CDP; or
  • getting Carer's Allowance; or
  • getting pension credit; or
  • a prisoner; or
  • under 21 years old; or
  • your (or your partner's, if you are a joint claimant) son, daughter, stepson or stepdaughter who is in the armed forces and is deployed on operations. (Note: this only applies if s/he lived with you immediately before leaving and intends to live with you at the end of the operations); or
  • responsible for a child under 5

 

If a deduction must be made, it is made for every non-dependant who is a member of your extended benefit unit. The deduction is a fixed amount of £85.73 for the assessment period, whether or not s/he is a member of a couple, irrespective of her/his income and what s/he pays you.

Claimants who rent privately  

The amount of housing element you are entitled to is based on your Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate or your actual rent – whichever is lower. There may be a deduction for any other adults who live as part as your household (non-dependents).

Your Local Housing Allowance is based on the number of bedrooms for your circumstances, not the number of bedrooms that you have.

Your LHA amount will depend on:​

  • Where you live

  • Your housing element is based on the number of bedrooms you are entitled to, not how many bedrooms are in your home. The number of bedrooms in your home is not relevant.

  • You can usually only get shared accommodation rate if you are single and under 35 but there are exceptions to this. 

You can check your LHA rate by clicking this link https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/ and enter your postcode into the relevant box or selecting your local authority. 

Once you have your LHA rate for your circumstances, you can work out what your housing element will be:

If your rent is less than LHA rate - you'll receive the rent amount

If your rent is more than LHA rate - you'll receive the LHA rate

there may be a non-dependent deduction of £85.73 for any other adult who lives in your house, unless an exemption applies.

 


 

If you are responsible for a child or young person, you can get a child element included in your universal credit (UC) maximum amount. You are ‘responsible’ for a child if s/he is normally living with you. The child must be aged under 16, or 16–19 and a ‘qualifying young person’ for UC purposes.

 

Before 6th April 2017, you got a child element for each child or young person you or your partner were responsible for.

From 6th April 2017, a ‘two-child limit’ applies (see below).

You may get a higher rate of the child element for the eldest or only child. This was abolished from 6th April 2017 but continues to apply if your eldest or only child was born before that date.

 

Disabled Child Element

If a child is disabled, the child element is increased by a ‘disabled child element’.

You get the lower rate if the child is entitled to disability living allowance (DLA), child disability payment (CDP), personal independence payment (PIP).

You get the higher rate instead if s/he is entitled to the DLA / CDP care component at the highest rate, the daily living component of PIP at the enhanced rate, or if s/he is certified as severely sight impaired or blind by a consultant ophthalmologist.

NOTE: You can still receive the disabled child element for a child even if you cannot get the child element for them due to the two-child cap.

 

THE TWO-CHILD LIMIT

You cannot get an element for a child born on or after 6th April 2017 if you already have two or more other children included in your award unless an exception applies. This is known as the ‘two-child limit’. You can always get an element for a child born before 6th April 2017.

When establishing the number of children you have for this purpose, a child who is covered by either of the first two exceptions (i.e., you have adopted her/him or s/he is living with you under a ‘non-parental care arrangement’) is ignored.

So, you can get an element for:

any child born before 6th April 2017; and

a child born on or after 6th April 2017 who is not counted as your third or subsequent child; and

a third or subsequent child born on or after 6th April 2017 to whom an exception applies.

The number and order of children (i.e., whether a child is the first, second, third or subsequent child) is determined by allocating each child a date according to her/his date of birth, so that the eldest child is regarded as the first.

The child element can become payable for a third child to whom the two-child limit would apply when an older child leaves the household (as you are no longer responsible for her/him), or when a young person leaves education (as s/he no longer qualifies). In these situations, you should report the change as soon as possible to ensure you continue to receive the maximum two child elements.

 

Exceptions

The two-child limit does not apply to the following children.

A child living with you under a ‘non-parental caring arrangement’. This means either that s/he is a child whose parent is aged under 16 and you are responsible for the parent, or that the child is living with you on a long-term basis because s/he is unable to live with her/his parents and you are caring for her/him as a family member or friend. You or your partner must not be the child’s parent or step-parent and you must:

be named in child arrangements order under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 or a residence order under Article 8 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 as a person with whom the child is to live; or

be the appointed or special guardian, or be entitled to guardian’s allowance, for the child; or

have a kinship care order under section 72(1) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, or parental responsibilities or rights under section 80 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007; or

continue to be responsible for the child if any of the above bullet points applied immediately before the child’s 16th birthday; or

be caring for the child because otherwise it is likely s/he would be taken into the care of the local authority.

A child who is being adopted by you from local authority care or who has been placed with you for adoption. This exception does not apply if:

you or your partner were the child’s step-parent immediately before the adoption; or

you or your partner have been the child’s parent (other than by adoption) at any other time; or

the child is being adopted direct from abroad

A child born in a multiple birth, other than the first born if you already have two or more children. So, if you have:

no older children, you get the child element for all children in a multiple birth;

one older child, you get the child element for all children in a multiple birth;

two or more older children, you get the child element for all but one of the children in a multiple birth.

A child who is likely to have been conceived as a result of rape, or in a controlling or coercive relationship (a ‘non-consensual conception’). You must not be living at the same address as the alleged perpetrator for this exception to apply, even though you might have been living with that person at the time of conception. A ‘controlling or coercive relationship’ includes behaviour that causes you to fear, on at least two occasions, that violence will be used against you, or that causes you serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on your day-to-day activities. You must provide evidence from an ‘approved person’ that you have had contact with her/him or another approved person about the rape or relationship. A list of ‘approved persons’ is in official guidance and includes healthcare professionals, social workers, and approved organisations such as specialist rape charities. Third-party evidence is not required if there has been a conviction for rape or coercive, controlling behaviour in the UK, or for a similar offence abroad, or if you have been awarded criminal injuries compensation after a sexual offence, physical abuse or mental injury, and it is likely that the offence or injury resulted in the conception. You can be treated as having provided evidence if you have already provided it to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for child tax credit (CTC).

 

 

Rates of Child Element Per month
First child born before 6th April 2017 £315.00
First child born on or after 6th April 2017 £269.58
Other eligible children £269.58
Disabled Child Element
Lower rate £146.31
Higher rate £456.89

A carer element is included in your maximum amount if you have 'regular and substantial' caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person. This means that you satisfy or would satisfy were it not for the level of your earnings, the condition for Carer's Allowance. You do not need to have claimed Carer's Allowance (however, if you live in Scotland and you do claim Carer's Allowance, it can be increased by a Carer's Allowance Supplement).

If you do get the carer element, the severely disabled person cannot get a severe disability payment in her/his legacy means-tested benefit. 

Note: you do not qualify for the carer element if you have earnings from your caring responsibilities.

 

If you're claiming as a single person, only one carer element can be included, even if you care for more than one disabled person. If you are making a joint claim, you can get two carer elements if both you and your partner satisfy the conditions, provided you are not caring for the same person.

If you are both caring for the same person, you get one carer element. You can decide between you which partner should be entitled - e.g., if it is necessary for your partner to be entitled to the carer element so you can also get limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work-related activity element. If you do not decide which one of you should be entitled to the carer element, the DWP decides for you. Similarly, if someone other than your partner is caring for the same person, only one of you can get Carer's Allowance or the carer element of Universal Credit for that care. You should decide between you should be entitled. 

 

Rate of Carer Element Per month
Carer Element £185.86

The limited capability for work element was abolished for new claims from 3rd April 2017. You can no longer get the element if you are making a new claim for UC, unless you are covered by one of the exceptions listed below. If you (or your partner in a joint claim) are also entitled to the limited capability for work and work-related activity element, you receive that instead - you cannot get both elements. If you are also entitled to the carer element, usually the carer element is included instead of the limited capability for work element - but if you have a joint claim for UC, see below.

You can get the limited capability for work element if you (or your partner) are entitled to UC and have limited capability for work and:

  • you were getting the element in your current award of UC (or had limited capability for work and were waiting for the element to be included in your UC) immediately before the 3rd April 2017; or
  • you were getting the limited capability for work and work-related activity element in your current award of UC immediately before the 3rd April 2017 and on a reassessment, it is decided that you are entitled to the limited capability for work element instead; or
  • the decision that you had limited capability for work before the 3rd April 2017 is not made until after this date and you have supplied a medical certificate, including if the decision is made following a revision or appeal; or
  • you were entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or to National Insurance (NI) credits for limited capability for work immediately before the 3rd April 2017, and remained entitled after this date until you claimed UC; or
  • you claimed ESA before the 3rd April 2017 but the initial decision on your claim was changed following a revision or an appeal, and on or after the 3rd April 2017 your UC award needs to be changed to take account of this; or
  • you were entitled to incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, income support 'on the grounds of disability' or NI contribution credits for incapacity for work immediately before the 3rd April 2017, and you remained entitled after this date until you claimed UC. 

There may be a three-month waiting period before the element can be included in your UC for the first time. In practice, it is usually included straight away, either under the same rules that allow the limited capability for work and work-related activity element to be included straight away or because you are transferring to UC from ESA.

NOTE: your entitlement to the element can continue if your UC stops then starts again because you have become, or stopped being, a member of a couple, or your UC stops because your income is to high but then starts again within six months. If you work and earn an amount at least equal to a certain earnings threshold, you may be treated as not having limited capability for work or you may be reassessed. 

Rate of Limited capability for work element Per month
Limited capability for work £146.31

A limited capability for work and work-related activity element is included within you maximum amount if you (or your partner in a joint claim) have been assessed as having limited capability for work-related activity. If this applies to you, you are also regarded as having limited capability for work.

If you are qualifying for the element for the first time, there is usually a three-month waiting period before it is included in your maximum amount. The three-month period begins on the day on which you provide a medical certificate (or, where it would have been unreasonable to require you have provided one, other evidence sufficient to show you had limited capability for work).

In practice, you may of already provided a medical certificate or more ago (e.g., as evidence of having limited capability for work), in which case you will have already served the waiting period. The element is then included from the beginning of the assessment period that follows the assessment period in which the three months ended.

The element can be included straight away if you (or your partner in a joint claim):

  • are terminally ill; or
  • were entitled to the element (or the limited capability for work element) immediately before your current UC award started and your previous UC award ended because you become a member of a couple or stopped being a member of a couple; or
  • were entitled to the element (or the limited capability for work element) and your previous UC award ended within the six months before your current award started, because your income was to high; or
  • are entitled to an award of ESA that includes the support component; or
  • are entitled to the limited capability for work element in your UC but are then assessed as entitled to the limited capability for work and work-related activity element. 
Rate of Limited capability for work and work-related activity element Per month
Limited capability for work and work-related activity £390.06

ESA claimants transferring to UC

If you move from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to Universal Credit and have already been assessed as having limited capability for work or limited capability for work and work-related activity, and there is no break in your claim, UC may be able to use the ESA WCA outcome decision.

This means if you received the work-related activity component in ESA and there is no break in your claim, you will receive the limited capability for work addition in Universal Credit.

If you received the support component in ESA and there is no break in your claim, you will receive the limited capability for work and work-related activity addition in Universal Credit.

The following is the equivalent awards 

Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) Universal Credit (UC)
Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) Limited capbility for work (LCW)
Support Group Limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA)

A childcare costs element is included in your maximum amount if you are working (or have an offer of work) and you have paid childcare costs for 'relevant childcare' (see below for what this covers).

The amount of the element is 85% of your childcare costs, up to a maximum of £646.35 for one child and £1108.04 a month for two or more children.
Note: 

  • if you have upfront childcare costs (e.g. a deposit, retainer or fees) in advance of the childcare starting and you have started work but not yet received you first wages, the government has said that your work coach can pay those costs direct to the childcare provider using the Flexible Support Fund (speak to your Work Coach about this), you cannot get those costs covered by the childcare element. Once you have received your first wages, any further upfront childcare costs (e.g., during school holidays) can be met from a budgeting advance. If you get a budget advance, you can still get up to 85% of the childcare costs (subject to the overall limits above) covered by the childcare costs element. once you have a paid receipt. 
  • if you are entitled to UC, you cannot also get tax-free childcare payments. In the future, if you register for the tax-free childcare scheme, all your UC could be terminated.

To get the childcare element, you must be in paid work (there are no minimum hours), or have an offer of paid work that is due to start before the end of your next UC monthly assessment period. If you are in a couple, your partner must be in paid work, unless s/he cannot provide childcare her/himself because s/he has a limited capability for work, or s/he is caring for a severely disabled person and gets (or would be entitled to) Carer's Allowance, or s/he is temporarily absent from the household. 
You are treated as still in paid work if you are getting

  • statutory sick pay (SSP)
  • statutory maternity pay (SMP)
  • statutory adoption pay (SAP)
  • statutory paternity pay (SPP)
  • statutory shared parental pay (SSPP)
  • statutory parental bereavement pay (SPBP)
  • maternity allowance (MA)

You are also treated as still in paid work if your work ended during your current assessment period or in the previous one. 

In addition, you must meet all the following conditions;

  • you have paid charges for 'relevant childcare' for a child for whom you are responsible - e.g., s/he normally lives with you. The rules require you already to have paid the charges, rather than be just liable to pay them.
  • the child is aged under 16 or has not reached the 1st September following his/her 16th birthday. 
  • the childcare is to enable you to do paid work (or was to enable you to do paid work but that work has stopped).
  • you report the charges to the DWP no later than the end of the monthly UC assessment period that follows the assessment period in which the charges were paid. The DWP may allow you to report later than this, under the same rules that apply to late notification of a change in circumstances. 

The following does not count as relevant childcare:

  • care provided by a 'close relative' of the child (e.g., parent, parent-in-law, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, and a partner of any of these) wholly or mainly in the child's home.
  • care provided by a foster parent, foster carer, or kinship carer for a child who the person is fostering or looking after as a kinship carer.

 

Rates of Childcare costs element Per month from 28th June 2023
Maximum for one child £950.92
Maximum for two or more children £1630.15

For new UC claimants, SDP element can be included for you if:

  • have been entitled (or been part of a couple where one member was entitled) to an award of Income Support (IS), Income-based JSA or Income-related ESA that included severe disability premium within the month before you became entitled to UC and

  • continue to meet the eligibility conditions for SDP at the time of your UC claim.

If you claim Universal Credit as part of a joint claim and your partner was already claiming Universal Credit, the SDP element will not be included, regardless of circumstances.

More information on Transitional Protection can be found here

Severe Disability Paymenmt Single claimant Joint claimant
UC includes LCWRA £120.00 £120.00
UC does not include LCWRA £285.00 £285.00
Legacy benefits included the LCWRA N/A £405.00