Couples Claim for UC..

How much Universal Credit (UC) will I get?

The amount awarded will depend on the income and circumstances of all the household members. To get an estimate of what you may be entitled to when you claim Universal Credit you can use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator.

In working out your Universal Credit award, firstly your household’s maximum Universal Credit award is calculated. This will be made up of one basic allowance and any additional elements that apply.

Universal Credit Basic Allowance

Your basic allowance will depend on whether you are single or claiming as a couple, and your age. There is one basic allowance for your household:

  • Single claimant aged under 25: £251.77 per month

  • Single claimant aged 25 or over: £317.82 per month

  • Joint claimants both aged under 25: £395.20 per month

  • Joint claimants either aged 25 or over: £498.89 per month

Universal Credit additional elements

There are additional elements that can be added to your basic allowance. Your household may qualify for more than one of these:

  • Child element

  • Childcare costs element

  • Limited capability for work element (abolished for most new claimants from 3 April 2017)

  • Limited capability for work-related activity element (LCWRA element)

  • Carer element

  • Housing costs element

The same person cannot get a LCWRA element as well as a Carer element even if they are eligible for both.

Universal Credit award

If your household has no earnings, other income, capital or savings the Universal Credit award you receive will be your maximum Universal Credit award (one basic allowance plus any additional elements) unless you are affected by the Benefit Cap which limits a household's total income from certain benefits to:

  • £1,916.67 per month for a couple or a lone parent in Greater London; or

  • £1,666.67 per month for a couple or a lone parent outside Greater London; or

  • £1,284.17 per month for a single person with no children in Greater London; or

  • £1,116.67 per month for a single person with no children outside Greater London

If anyone in your household has earnings, other income, savings or capital these will need to be taken into account to work out the Universal Credit award you may receive.

What if my Universal Credit entitlement is less than my current entitlement?

If you are part of the managed migration on to Universal Credit you will not be worse off when you move over to Universal Credit. From July 2019 onwards, people will be transferred to Universal Credit from the existing benefit system.  The Department for Work and Pension call this 'managed migration'.  People moved over to Universal Credit by 'managed migration' will not be worse off when they are transferred.   If they are entitled to less under Universal Credit than under the benefits that are being replaced by it, they will receive a ‘transitional amount’ to top up their Universal Credit to the same amount, under managed migration.

However, people who make a new claim for Universal Credit will not receive any transitional amount if their Universal Credit entitlement is less than they would get under the benefits it replaces.  Only people transferred by managed migration from July 2019 onwards will get the transitional amount.  Therefore no current Universal Credit claimants are entitled to a transitional amount and they could be worse off if they claimed Universal Credit. By using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator you can see which system you are better off under - the current benefits system or Universal Credit.

How will I be paid?

Universal Credit is a single payment made monthly in arrears.

It will take at least five weeks for you to receive your first payment.  Once you make your claim, there is a one-monthly assessment period and then payments are made seven days after the assessment period.  If, as a result, you suffer hardship, you can request a Universal Credit Advance payment and personal budgeting support.

Universal Credit will be paid into one bank account or other account nominated by each household.

The DWP will have the ability to pay more frequently or to split payment in exceptional circumstances.
 

Additional Elements of Universal Credit (UC)

Carers Element

You can get this addition of £156.45 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 (£120pw for 2018/19), 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 £383.86 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). 

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); or

  • limited capability for work related activity element (LCWRA) £328.32 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.
 

How do I claim Universal Credit (UC)?

Online

You can start a claim for Universal Credit on the Apply for Universal Credit page of the gov.uk website

In most cases, you have to claim Universal Credit online and then attend an interview in person.

If you don't have internet access, you might be able to use a computer at your local jobcentre or local council who can also offer face to face advice.

Phone

If you have a reason for not being able to apply online, you may be able to claim by phone instead.  You can claim by phone if, for example, you can't use a computer or you have problems reading or writing.

To start a claim by phone, call the Universal Credit helpline:
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Face to face interview

Once you have started your claim online or by phone, you will be asked to attend a face to face interview at your Jobcentre.

At the face to face interview you must agree a claimant commitment. This will set out what you have to do in order to continue to receive Universal Credit. Joint claimants must both agree a claimant commitment in order to receive Universal Credit.

The start date of the claim is the date that the claim is submitted, as long as the claimant commitment is signed.

When a claim isn’t needed

Re-awards: If you leave Universal Credit due to your earnings increasing, or changes which reduce your award to nil, a re-award allows you to be able to return to Universal Credit within six months of your claim closing, without having to make a new claim. You will return to your previous assessment period (you won’t have to wait a month for payment) but it will still be considered a new award, not a continuation of your old award.

Rapid re-claims: If you return to Universal Credit but don't fit the re-award criteria you will need to make a claim but there will be a rapid re-claim process.

Backdating

A claim for Universal Credit can be backdated for a maximum of one month if you or your partner could not have reasonably been expected to make a claim from an earlier date and one of the following circumstances apply to you:

  • You were previously in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance and were not notified that your entitlement was going to end

  • You have a disability

  • You were unwell and this prevented you from claiming earlier (you will need to provide medical evidence showing this)

  • You could not claim earlier due to a system failure or planned system maintenance, and have made a claim on the first day following this

  • You had a joint claim for Universal Credit which stopped due to a breakdown in a relationship and you are now claiming as a single person

  • You made a joint claim for Universal Credit which was either stopped or turned down because your partner did not accept the claimant commitment and you have now ceased to be a couple and are now claiming as a single person