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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. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need to calculate it in more detail.

There are 5 steps:

  1. look up your standard amount
  2. add any other amounts you can get, like housing or childcare - these are called 'elements'
  3. make reductions for your income and capital
  4. take away any sanctions or other reductions
  5. check if the Benefit Cap applies to you

Your Universal Credit payment can change each month if you earn a different amount, or if your circumstances change.

If you're self employed

Your Universal Credit payment will change each month depending on your earnings and other circumstances. How much you get also depends on whether you're in a couple or have children.

Your payment might also be affected by the minimum income floor - you can check if this applies to you.

You won't be able to find out exactly how much Universal Credit you could get each month. If you want to get a rough idea, you can use the entitledto benefits calculator.

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

You should get extra money called ‘transitional payments’ 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 transitional payments - you don’t have to do anything.

You might get transitional payments 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 transitional payments.

1. Look up your standard amount

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

Your circumstances Standard amount
Single and under 25 £251.77
Single and 25 or over £317.82
Joint claim, both under 25 £395.20
Joint claim, one or both 25 or over £498.89

When you turn 25 you'll get the increase in your next Universal Credit payment.

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

2. Work out what other amounts you can get

You can have extra amounts added to your Universal Credit payment for:

  • housing
  • children
  • childcare
  • caring for someone
  • not being able to work because of sickness or disability

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

  • live in Great Britain

  • pay the housing costs for where you live

If you’re a private tenant the amount you’ll get will depend on your income, how many people you live with and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for your area. This is the average cost of rent for where you live. You won’t be paid more than your LHA rate.

You can check the LHA rate for your area on GOV.UK.

If you’re a social tenant the amount you’ll get will depend on your income, how many people you live with and how many bedrooms you have. Check how many bedrooms you’re eligible for on GOV.UK.

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.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need more advice on your housing costs.

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

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 violence.

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 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 a 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 if you're responsible for a child who normally lives with you. You'll get extra amounts for a second child and for any other child who was born before 6 April 2017. You won’t get extra money for a third child born on or after 6 April 2017.

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

Someone is a child up to their 16th birthday. After this they are a qualifying young person until 31 August following their 16th birthday.

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

Your circumstances

Child element

Your oldest child, if born before 6 April 2017

£277.08

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

£231.67

Your second child - and each eligible child after that

£231.67

If one of your children is disabled

£126.11

If one of your children is severely disabled

£392.08

Getting a payment for 3 or more children

You'll usually only get a Universal Credit 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:

  • your third or later child is disabled - they must get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or be certified blind
  • you have a multiple birth - if you have other children born before 6 April 2017 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

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. It doesn't matter how many children you have.

You'll get the severely disabled child element if one of your children is entitled to either:

You'll get the disabled child element if one of your children is 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

Your Universal Credit payments can include 85% of your childcare costs. You can't get this if your childcare provider isn't registered or if your employer pays your childcare for you.

The most you can get is £646.35 a month for 1 child or £1,108.04 a month for 2 or more.

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 on sick leave
  • are on any kind of parental leave

Your child is eligible for childcare costs up to 1 September 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:

Reporting childcare costs

Each month you'll need to tell the DWP what you've paid in childcare. 85% of this will then be added to your next Universal Credit payment.

Ask your childcare provider for their registration number - give this to the DWP when you report the childcare costs.

Report your costs as soon as you can to make sure you get paid back. The deadline and the way you report depends on whether you have a Universal Credit online account.

If you have an online account, use it to report your childcare costs. You'll need to report each payment before the day you get your next Universal Credit payment.

If you don't have an online account, report your childcare costs by calling the Universal Credit helpline:

Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Telephone (Welsh language): 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls to this number are free. It’s best to call from the phone number you gave the DWP when you set up your Universal Credit account. You'll have a shorter wait and be put through to the same person who handled previous calls you've made.

You have until a month after your next Universal Credit payment to report each childcare payment.

If you report your childcare costs late, tell the Jobcentre why you couldn't report them on time - for example if you were ill or away from home. You'll still be paid if they agree you couldn't tell them earlier.

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 the DWP 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 £336.20 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 £126.11 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 already 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're a carer

You'll get an extra £160.20 a month 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.

You won't get extra money if you're employed as a carer.

The person you care for must be getting 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 Universal Credit payments will be reduced by the amount of Carer’s Allowance you get.

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 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. Make reductions for your income and capital

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

Check the effect of your earnings from work

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.

Your Universal Credit decreases gradually as you earn more - it won't suddenly stop if your pay or hours reach a certain level.

Each full £1 you or your partner earn 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 £287
You don't get the housing element

£503

Example

Zoe earns £900 a month. Without a work allowance her whole income reduces her Universal Credit by 63p for each £1 she earns. This would reduce her Universal Credit by 900 x 63p = £567.

She looks after her young child, and doesn't get the Universal Credit housing element. This means she gets a work allowance of £503.

The work allowance means £503 of Zoe's income is ignored, leaving £397 that will reduce her Universal Credit payment. This means her payment is reduced by 397 x 63p = £250.11

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

You don't need to include:

  • money you pay as income tax
  • money you pay as class 1 national insurance
  • 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.

Work out if your capital makes a difference

If you have more than £6,000 of capital it will reduce your Universal Credit payment. The DWP will take off £4.35 a month for each £250 (or part of £250) of capital above £6,000.

You'll no longer be eligible for Universal Credit if you have £16,000 or more in capital.

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

  • personal possessions
  • business assets
  • your home, if you own it

Example

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

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 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
  • war pensions

If your income and capital reduce your payment to zero

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

You'll need to make a new claim if your earnings later drop and you want to get Universal Credit again. You can do this by signing back into your online account. If you don't have a Universal Credit account you might need to claim other benefits instead - check if you're eligible for Universal Credit.

4. Take off sanctions and other reductions

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

  • money the DWP have given you early, such as an advance payment or budgeting advance
  • sanctions
  • overpayments
  • child maintenance payments
  • to pay off debts for utility bills
  • benefit fraud

Find out more about reductions to your Universal Credit payment.

5. Apply the Benefit Cap

If your remaining payment is over a certain amount, the DWP might reduce it to bring it down to a maximum called the 'Benefit Cap'.

Find out if you'll be affected by the Benefit Cap.

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