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Check how much Universal Credit you'll get

This advice applies to England

It's hard to work out your exact Universal Credit amount, but you can get a general idea by following the steps on this page. 

Talk to an adviser if you want to get an exact amount or use a benefit calculator.

Before working out how much you can get, you should check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.

There are 5 steps to work out how much you can get:

  1. look up your standard amount
  2. work out what other amounts you can get, like housing or childcare - these are called 'elements'
  3. make reductions for your income and savings
  4. check if you’re affected by the Benefit Cap
  5. take off sanctions or other reductions

Everyone who gets Universal Credit gets a ‘standard amount’ - the exact amount you’ll get depends on your age and if you have a partner.

You’ll sometimes get money added to your standard amount - this depends on your situation. For example, you’ll get more if you have children or have housing costs. These extra amounts are called elements.

The amount you’ll get will change if you have any income or savings. Your payment will change each month if you earn a different amount, or if your situation changes.

1. Look up your standard amount

Your standard amount depends on your age and if you live with a partner. If you live with a partner you'll have a joint claim and get one shared payment.

Your circumstances

Standard amount

Single and under 25

£342.72 a month

Single and 25 or over

£409.89 a month

Living with a partner and both under 25

£488.59 a month

Living with a partner and one or both over 25 

£594.04 a month

You should tell the DWP if you move in with or split up with your partner - your next payment will be different. Find out more about reporting changes that affect your Universal Credit.

To work out how much you can get, start with your standard amount and add any additional amounts - like housing or childcare.

2. Work out what other amounts you can get

You can have extra amounts added to your standard amount for:

  • housing

  • children

  • childcare

You can also get them if:

  • you’re caring for someone
  • you can’t work because of sickness or disability
  • you used to get a severe disability premium

These extra amounts are called elements and you can get more than 1 of them. They're added to your standard amount.

If you’re paying rent, mortgage or service charge

The housing costs element might pay some or all of your rent or service charge. 

To get the housing element you need to pay the housing costs for where you live.

If you have a mortgage or home loan you might be able to get a loan to help pay your interest - this is separate from Universal Credit.

If you pay rent to a council or housing association

To work out your housing element you need to:

  1. check what your room allowance is 

  2. take off amounts for people who live with you

You can check your room allowance on GOV.UK unless:

  • you or someone you live with has a disability or is a foster carer

  • you live with 5 or more people

Talk to an adviser to check your room allowance.

If you live in a property that’s the same size or smaller than the number of bedrooms you’re eligible for, your housing element will cover all your rent. For example - if your room allowance is 2 bedrooms and you live in a 2-bedroom property, your housing element will cover all your rent.

If you have 1 more bedroom than you’re entitled to, your housing element will be reduced by 14%. If you have 2 or more bedrooms more than you’re entitled to, your housing element amount will be reduced by 25%. 

Your housing element might also be reduced by £75.15 each month for every ‘non-dependant’ who lives with you. A non-dependant is someone who’s expected to pay their own share of rent. Non-dependants are often parents, grown children, friends and relatives - but not your partner. 

Example

Campbell is a social tenant and is claiming Universal Credit. They live with their 30-year-old son and pay £433.33 a month in rent.

They’re entitled to 2 bedrooms and live in a 3-bedroom flat. There’s 1 spare bedroom so their housing costs element is reduced by 14% - £60.67. 

Campbell’s son is living with them so there’s a further deduction of £75.15. Their housing element will now be £297.51 a month.

If you pay rent to a private landlord 

The amount you’ll get will depend on how many people you live with and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for your area. You won’t be paid more than your LHA rate even if your rent is more. 

To work out your housing element, you need to:

  1. check what your room allowance is 

  2. check what your LHA rate is

  3. take off amounts for people who live with you

You can check your room allowance on GOV.UK. If you or someone you live with has a disability or is a foster carer, you might get an increase in your room allowance. Talk to an adviser to check your room allowance.

When you know your room allowance, check what your LHA rate is on GOV.UK. The calculator will ask when your Housing Benefit claim starts - answer with the date your Universal Credit claim starts. 

If your rent is less than your LHA rate, your housing element will cover all your rent. If it’s more, you’ll be paid your LHA rate. For example - if your LHA rate is £950 and your rent is £1050, you’ll be paid £950.

Your housing element might also be reduced by £75.15 each month for every ‘non-dependant’ who lives with you. A non-dependant is someone who lives with you and who’s expected to pay their own share of rent. Non-dependants are often parents, grown children, friends and relatives - but not your partner. 

Example

Lisa pays £1,200 a month in rent. They live in a 2-bedroom flat with their partner and a 25-year-old daughter. They use the GOV.UK bedroom calculator and work out their room allowance is 2 bedrooms. 

They then use the GOV.UK LHA calculator to find out the LHA rate in their area - for someone with a 2 bedroom room allowance it’s £1,058.64 a month. 

They live with their adult daughter and so need to make a non-dependant deduction of £75.15. 

Their housing element will therefore be £983.49.

What the housing element won't pay for

You can't get housing element for:

  • debts if you're behind on your rent on your current or previous home

  • a care home

  • ground rent - a fee you pay to the leaseholder of your property

If you're in temporary or emergency housing

You'll need to claim Housing Benefit if you're having to live away from your usual home. For example, you might be paying for a shelter after experiencing domestic abuse.

You'll keep getting Universal Credit, but you'll get a separate Housing Benefit payment rather than the Universal Credit housing element.

If you're in a shared ownership scheme

You'll normally be paying a mortgage and rent. Universal Credit can help with your rent, but not your mortgage. You'll need to see if you can get a loan to help with your mortgage interest.

Getting more help with housing costs

You can get help with private renting costs or help with the rent for your council home.

You might be able to get extra money from the council if you're behind on your payments or your housing element doesn't cover all your rent.

If you have children

You'll get the child element added to your standard amount if you're responsible for a child who normally lives with you. You'll get extra amounts for a second child. If you have more than 2 children, you’ll only get extra money if they were born before 6 April 2017.

If any of your children are disabled and getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) you’ll also get extra money for them.

Someone is a child up to their 16th birthday. After this they’re a 'qualifying young person' until 31 August after their 16th birthday.

They’ll remain a qualifying young person until 31 August following their 19th birthday if they're in full-time non-advanced education - for example, at school or college. 

You’ll still get a child element for a qualifying young person.

Your circumstances

Child element

Your oldest or only child, if born before 6 April 2017

£281.25 a month

Your oldest or only child, if born on or after 6 April 2017

£235.83 a month

Your second child - and each eligible child after that

£235.83 a month

Getting a payment for 3 or more children

You'll usually only get an additional payment for 3 or more children if they were born before 6 April 2017.

There are some exceptions - you might still get a payment for 3 or more children if:

  • you have a multiple birth, like twins - if you have 2 or more other children you won't get a payment for the first child in a multiple birth

  • you've adopted a child from the UK (unless you were the child's step-parent immediately before adopting them)

  • you're caring for someone else's child in a formal care arrangement

  • you’re caring for someone else’s child in an informal care arrangement where otherwise they’d be in care

  • you have a child from a pregnancy that was from rape or a controlling relationship - find out how to report this and get help if you need it

  • you're responsible for a child under 16 who has their own child and they both live with you

You can check the exceptions and how to apply for them on GOV.UK.

If any of your children are disabled

You'll get a disability payment if any of your children are disabled. You won't be affected by a maximum total amount you can get from benefits - called the 'benefit cap'.

Your Universal Credit payment will include a disability payment for each child who's disabled - this is £128.25 a month. It doesn't matter how many children you have.

You'll get the severely disabled child element instead for any children registered blind or entitled to either:

The severely disabled child element is £400.29 a month.You'll get the disabled child element for any children entitled to either:

  • Disability Living Allowance without the highest rate of the care component

  • Personal Independence Payment without the enhanced rate of the daily living component

If you pay for childcare

You’ll only be paid 85% of your childcare costs. The most you can get for childcare is £646.35 a month for 1 child or £1,108.04 a month for 2 or more. You can't get this if your childcare provider isn't registered or if your employer pays your childcare for you.

Example 

Katie is starting work in the next month. They have 2 children and pay £800 a month for childcare. They’ll have 85% of their childcare costs covered - £680. This will be added to their Universal Credit amount.

You can claim childcare costs if you:

  • are in paid work

  • are starting paid work in the next month

  • left a job less than a month ago

  • are getting statutory sick pay 

  • are on statutory maternity pay, Maternity Allowance or any other kind of statutory parental pay 

You’re eligible for the childcare element for a child up to 31 August after their 16th birthday.

If you're living with your partner you'll both need to be working to get childcare costs - unless your partner can't provide childcare because they:

If you're sick or disabled

You might get an extra payment if you have a health condition that means you can't work. You'll need to show that you have 'limited capability for work' (LCW) or 'limited capability for work-related activity' (LCWRA).

If you and your partner are both sick or disabled you’ll only get 1 extra payment. 

Unless you have a joint claim, you can't get the element for sickness or disability and the carer element – you’ll get whichever is higher.

If you have a joint claim you can get both the element for sickness or disability and the carer element - but only if you’re eligible for one and your partner is eligible for the other. For example, you’ll get both elements if you’re eligible for the sick or disability element and your partner is eligible for the carer element.

How much you'll get

If you have LCWRA you'll get an extra £341.92 a month, and the DWP won't set a maximum amount for what you can get in benefits - called the 'Benefit Cap'.

You won't normally get extra money if you have LCW. The exception is that you'll get an extra £128.25 each month if you've been sick since before 3 April 2017 and the DWP have already said you have LCW. This could have been for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.

When you'll get the extra amount

The extra amount will start in your next Universal Credit payment if you:

  • are terminally ill 

  • get ESA with the support component 

  • had LCW or LCWRA from a previous benefit claim

Otherwise you'll start getting the extra payment in your fourth or fifth payment after you give the DWP evidence that you have LCWRA. If it takes longer for the DWP to decide, they'll backdate your payment so you don't lose out.

If you got a severe disability premium (SDP) in the month before you applied for Universal Credit

You should get extra money called a ‘transitional element' if you were getting an SDP with:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Income Support

If you’re not sure if you were getting an SDP, check your benefits letters.

The DWP is contacting people to check if they should get the transitional element  - you don’t have to do anything.

You might get the transitional element more quickly if you tell the DWP you think you should get them. You can add a note to your online account saying you were getting an SDP and you think you should get the transitional element.

If you're a carer

You'll get an extra £162.92 a month added to your standard amount if you look after a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week.

It's worth telling the person you look after about your claim - they could lose some of their benefits if you get the extra amount.

If the person you’re caring for gets a benefit with a Severe Disability Premium 

The person you’re caring for might get a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) with:

  • income-based JSA

  • income-related ESA

  • Income Support

  • Housing Benefit

  • Council Tax Support

  • Pension Credit

The person you’re caring for won’t be eligible for the SDP while you’re getting the carer element of Universal Credit. 

Always check with the person you’re caring for before you apply for Universal Credit. If you’re unsure what the effect claiming Universal Credit will have on someone else’s benefit claim, talk to an adviser.

You’ll only get the extra money if you look after someone without being paid and if they’re getting at least one of these benefits: 

If you already get Carer’s Allowance you can still get the carer element. Your Carer’s Allowance will count as ‘unearned income.’ This means your Carer’s Allowance payments will be taken off your Universal Credit payments. 

It's worth getting Carer's Allowance as well as Universal Credit. Carer's Allowance is paid more often than Universal Credit, and if your Universal Credit payments are stopped, you'll still get your Carer's Allowance payment.

Unless you have a joint claim, you can't get both the carer element and the element for sickness or disability - you’ll get whichever is higher.

If you have a joint claim you can get both the carer element and the element for sickness or disability - but only if you’re eligible for one and your partner is eligible for the other. For example, you’ll get both elements if you’re eligible for the carer element and your partner is eligible for the sick or disability element.

If you have a joint claim and you and your partner care for different people, you'll get 2 carer elements.

If someone else is caring for the same person as you for at least 35 hours a week, you can't both get benefits for caring for them. Only one of you can get Carer's Allowance or the carer element.

3. Check if your income or savings affects your payments

You'll get less Universal Credit if you get money from work or other places, or if you have more than £6,000 in savings.

If you're self-employed

There are different rules for earnings if you're self-employed. Find out more about getting Universal Credit if you're self-employed.

Check the effect of your earnings from work

Your Universal Credit decreases gradually as you earn more. Each £1 you or your partner earn after income tax reduces your Universal Credit by 63p.

You can get some income without reducing your Universal Credit payment if you're responsible for a child or have limited capability for work. This is called having a 'work allowance'.

The size of your work allowance depends on whether you also get the Universal Credit housing element:

Your situation

Your work allowance

You get the housing element

£292 a month

You don't get the housing element

£512 a month

Example

Zoe has worked out she'll get £1,400 a month from Universal Credit. She earns £900 a month after tax and needs to work out how her income affects how much she'll get.

She has a child and gets the housing element - this means she has a work allowance of £292 a month. To work out how much to take off her Universal Credit she first needs to subtract her work allowance from her monthly earnings - £900 - £292 = £608.

Each full £1 she earns after income tax reduces her Universal Credit by 63p. £608 x 0.63 = £383.04.

Her total Universal Credit payment will be reduced by £383.04 a month because of her earnings. £1,400 - £383.04 = £1,016.96 - Zoe’s Universal Credit amount after the reduction because of her earnings. 

Earnings from work means all pay you take home, including:

  • wages and overtime

  • tips and commission

  • bonuses

  • holiday pay

  • sick pay

  • maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental pay

Coronavirus – if you’re furloughed

Your earnings include payments from your employer when you’re furloughed.

You don't need to consider:

  • money you pay as income tax

  • money you pay as class 1 national insurance contributions

  • money you pay into a pension

  • expenses

  • mileage allowances

  • childcare vouchers and other non-cash vouchers

The DWP work out your earnings for each monthly Universal Credit payment, even if your job doesn't pay you monthly. You should tell the DWP if you start or leave a job - find out more about changes you should report to the DWP.

If you need help working out how your earnings affect your Universal Credit, you can talk to an adviser.

Work out if your capital makes a difference

Capital includes things like savings, property and shares. It doesn't include:

  • personal possessions

  • business assets

  • the home you live in

If you have more than £6,000 of capital it will reduce your Universal Credit payments. The DWP will take off £4.35 a month for each £250 (or part of £250) of capital above £6,000. For example, the DWP will take off £4.35 if you have savings of £6,001 because £1 is a part of £250.

You'll no longer be able to get Universal Credit if you have more than £16,000 in capital.  

Example

Niamh has £7,700 in savings. This is £1,700 over £6,000 - which is 6 full lots of £250 and one part of £250. This means their savings reduce their Universal Credit by 7 x £4.35 = £30.45 per month.

If you need help working out how your savings and capital affects your Universal Credit, you can talk to an adviser.

Take away some other types of income

Your Universal Credit will be reduced by the same amount you get from certain types of income. These include:

  • pensions or annuities

  • maintenance from a current or former husband, wife or civil partner (though not child maintenance - this never reduces your Universal Credit)

  • insurance payments

  • some benefits, such as Carer's Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Maternity Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker's Allowance

You don't need to take off income from some benefits, including:

  • Child Benefit

  • Disability Living Allowance

  • Personal Independence Payment

  • Bereavement Support Payment

  • war pensions

If your Universal Credit payment is reduced to zero

This will end your Universal Credit claim - the Jobcentre will tell you if this happens.

If your Universal Credit was reduced to zero because of your income, the DWP will keep checking your earnings from work  for the next 5 months. If you’re self-employed, keep reporting your income and expenses through your online journal.

The DWP will restart your claim if your income goes down to an amount that means you can get some Universal Credit. Contact the DWP to let them know your income has gone down. 

4. Check if you’re affected by the Benefit Cap

The Benefit Cap is a limit to the total amount of money you can get from some benefits. If your Universal Credit payment is over a specific amount, the DWP might reduce it to bring it down to a certain level. 

The Benefit Cap won’t apply to you if you or your partner: 

  • are working and earn at least £604 a month after tax - if you have a partner, your combined earnings need to be at least £604 a month
  • are getting the Limited Capability for Work Related Activity (LCWRA) element of Universal Credit
  • are getting the carer element of Universal Credit or Carer’s Allowance
  • get certain benefits because you’re sick or disabled or have a child who gets one of these benefits - you can check the list of benefits on GOV.UK

The Benefit Cap might also not apply to you if you lost your job in the last 9 months or your earnings recently went down.

If you lost your job in the last 9 months

The Benefit Cap might not be applied to your Universal Credit payments for 9 months after you stopped earning. This is called a ‘grace period’.

The 9 months includes time before you claim Universal Credit. After 9 months the Benefit Cap will be applied.

You’ll be in a grace period if your earnings were at least a certain amount for the 12 months before you stopped earning. If you were already claiming Universal Credit it depends on the 12 months before the assessment period in which you stopped earning. Your earnings must have been at least:

  • £569 a month for each of the 12 months that started between April 2019 and March 2020
  • £604 a month for each of the 12 months that started in April 2020 or later

If you have a partner, these amounts will include their earnings too.

Example

Lilo lost her job on 21 October 2020 and claimed Universal Credit in January 2021. She wants to know if the Benefit Cap applies to her.

Lilo will be in a grace period if she earned enough from 22 October 2019 to 21 October 2020. She must have earned at least:

  • £569 a month from 22 October 2019 to 21 April 2020
  • £604 a month from 22 April 2020 to 21 October 2020

If Lilo is in a grace period, the Benefit Cap won’t apply for 9 months starting on 22 October 2020. Because she started claiming in January 2021, she has 6 months of the grace period left before the Benefit Cap is applied.

If your earnings recently went down

If your earnings have gone down to less than £604 a month, the Benefit Cap might not be applied to your Universal Credit payments for 9 months. This is called a ‘grace period’. After 9 months the Benefit Cap will be applied.

You’ll be in a grace period if your earnings were at least a certain amount for the 12 months before the assessment period in which they went down. If you claimed Universal Credit later it depends on the 12 months before you started your claim. Your earnings must have been at least:

  • £569 a month for each of the 12 months that started between April 2019 and March 2020
  • £604 a month for each of the 12 months that started in April 2020 or later

If you have a partner, these amounts will include their earnings too.

If you weren’t already claiming Universal Credit, you’ll only get a grace period if you start your claim soon after your earnings go down. This is because it depends on your earnings in the 12 months before your claim.

Example

Magnus has been getting Universal Credit since July 2020. His earnings went down to £500 a month on 20 October 2020 - this was in the assessment period which went from 5 October 2020 to 4 November 2020. He wants to know if the Benefit Cap applies to him.

Magnus will be in a grace period if he earned enough from 5 October 2019 to 4 October 2020. He must have earned at least:

  • £569 a month from 5 October 2019 to 4 April 2020
  • £604 a month from 5 April 2020 to 4 October 2020

If Magnus is in a grace period, the Benefit Cap won’t apply for 9 months starting on 5 October 2020.

Example

Bianca’s earnings went down to £500 a month in October 2020 and she claimed Universal Credit on 13 January 2021. She wants to know if the Benefit Cap applies to her.

Bianca can only be in a grace period if she earned enough from 13 January 2020 to 12 January 2021. She must have earned at least:

  • £569 a month from 13 January 2020 to 12 April 2020
  • £604 a month from 13 April 2020 to 12 January 2021

Because Bianca was only earning £500 from October 2020, she is not in a grace period. If she had claimed Universal Credit as soon as her earnings went down she might have been in a grace period.

The DWP should ask you to report your earnings from the last 12 months when you apply for Universal Credit to get the grace period. If they don’t ask you to report your earnings, send them a message in your online account.

You can check if you’ll get a grace period on GOV.UK.

Check what the Benefit Cap limit is

The amount of money you can get in benefits before the Benefit Cap applies depends on things like:

  • where you live

  • if you're single

  • if you have children in your household - this means they live with you and you’re responsible for them

Your circumstances

Benefit Cap limit

Single without children and live outside London

£1,116.67

 

Single without children and live inside London

 

In a couple or have children and live outside London

 

In a couple or have children and live in London 

£1,284.17

 

£1,666.67

 

 £1,916.67

The childcare element isn’t affected by the Benefit Cap. It doesn’t matter if the amount you get for childcare means you’re paid more than the Benefit Cap amounts. 

If you’re not sure if your Universal Credit is affected by the Benefit Cap, talk to an adviser.

5. Take off sanctions and other reductions

The DWP might take money off your Universal Credit payments for:

  • money the DWP have given you early, like an advance payment or budgeting advance

  • sanctions

  • overpayments

  • child maintenance payments

  • to pay off debts for utility bills

  • benefit fraud

You can find out more about reductions to your Universal Credit payment.

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