Check how much Universal Credit you'll get

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland

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.

Cost of Living Payments

The government sent the last Cost of Living Payment of £299 during spring 2024. They haven’t announced any more payments.

You should have got the Cost of Living payment of £299 between 6 and 22 February 2024. To get the payment you must have been paid Universal Credit for an assessment period ending between 13 November and 12 December 2023.

You should still have got the payment even if your Universal Credit was paid to your landlord or if you didn’t get paid because of deductions.

If you didn’t get the last payment

If you think you should have received a Cost of Living Payment, you can report a missing payment on GOV.UK.

If you’re still waiting for a decision about your claim

If you started a Universal Credit claim by 13 November 2023 and you're waiting for a decision, you can still get the Cost of Living Payment. You won't get it until your claim is successful.

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
Your circumstances

Single and under 25

Standard amount

£311.68 a month

Your circumstances

Single and 25 or over

Standard amount

£393.45 a month

Your circumstances

Living with a partner and both under 25

Standard amount

£489.23 a month

Your circumstances

Living with a partner and one or both over 25 

Standard amount

£617.60 a month

You should tell the Department for Work and Pensions (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:

  • the DWP have told you to move to Universal Credit from other benefits - called ‘managed migration’

  • you can’t work because of sickness or disability

  • you used to get a severe disability premium (SDP)

  • you’re caring for someone

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 £91.47 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 rents from the council 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 £91.47. Their housing element will now be £281.19 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 £91.47 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 £91.47. 

Their housing element will therefore be £967.17.

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.

If you already get an element for managed migration or an SDP

Your Universal Credit payment might not go up by the whole amount of the housing element. This is because your migration or SDP element will go down at the same time. Talk to an adviser to find out how your payments will change.

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), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Child Disability Payment or Adult Disability Payment, 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.

If you’re a foster carer, you can’t get the child element of Universal Credit for anyone you’re fostering. You can still get the child element of Universal Credit for other children who are living with you.

Your circumstances Child element
Your circumstances

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

Child element

£333.33 a month

Your circumstances

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

Child element

£287.92 a month

Your circumstances

Your second child - and each eligible child after that

Child element

£287.92 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 you already get an element for managed migration or an SDP

Your Universal Credit payment might not go up by the whole amount of the child element. This is because your migration or SDP element will go down at the same time. Talk to an adviser to find out how your payments will change.

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'. 

There are 2 different disabled child elements. You’ll either get:

  • a disabled child element

  • a severely disabled child element

The severely disabled child element is £487.58 a month. You'll get this element for any child who is:

If you can't get the severely disabled child element, you might be able to get the disabled child element. This is £156.11 a month. You'll get this element for any children entitled to:

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

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

  • Child Disability Payment without the highest rate of the care component

  • Adult Disability Payment without the enhanced rate of the daily living component

You can get 1 element for each child who is disabled - it doesn't matter how many children you have.

If you already get an element for managed migration or an SDP, your Universal Credit payment might not go up by the whole amount of the disabled child element. This is because your migration or SDP element will go down at the same time. Talk to an adviser to find out how your payments will change.

If you pay for childcare

You’ll only be paid 85% of your childcare costs. The most you can get for childcare is £1,014.63 a month for 1 child or £1,739.37 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 need help with childcare costs in advance

If you need to make your first childcare payment before you get the extra amount from Universal Credit, you can ask your work coach about the Flexible Support Fund (FSF). If you get money from the FSF, you’ll still get your full Universal Credit childcare amount - as long as the DWP agree it will help you stay in work.

If you’ve been told to move to Universal Credit from other benefits

If you move to Universal Credit because you got a letter called a ‘migration notice’, the DWP might pay you extra to stop you being worse off. This is called ‘transitional protection’.

You can only get transitional protection if you’ve had an official migration notice from the DWP, and you claim by the deadline. If you’re not sure what letter you have, check if your letter is a migration notice.

Transitional protection means that:

  • if you’d get less on Universal Credit than your old benefits, you’ll get an extra amount to make up the difference - called a ‘transitional element’

  • if you’re a full-time student who wouldn’t usually get Universal Credit, you can usually get it until the end of your course

  • if you get tax credits and have over £16,000 savings, you can get Universal Credit for up to a year

The transitional element will reduce over time. When some other parts of your Universal Credit payment increase, your transitional element will decrease by the same amount. This means your overall Universal Credit payment that month might not increase.

Your transitional element will end if either:

  • it’s reduced to £0

  • you move in with your partner, or split up with them

Your transitional element might also end if your income falls below a certain amount for 3 months in a row. This amount depends on:

  • when you first claimed Universal Credit

  • if you’re single or live with a partner - if you live with a partner the amount will be based on your joint income

If you're single

Your minimum monthly income

From 13 May 2024

Your minimum monthly income

£892

From 1 April to 12 May 2024

Your minimum monthly income

£743

From 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024

Your minimum monthly income

£677

From 30 January to 31 March 2023

Your minimum monthly income

£617

From 26 September 2022 to 29 January 2023

Your minimum monthly income

£494

If you live with a partner

Your minimum monthly joint income

From 13 May 2024

Your minimum monthly joint income

£1,437

From 1 April to 12 May 2024

Your minimum monthly joint income

£1,189

From 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024

Your minimum monthly joint income

£1,083

From 30 January to 31 March 2023

Your minimum monthly joint income

£988

From 26 September 2022 to 29 January 2023

Your minimum monthly joint income

£782

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 £416.19 a month, and the DWP won't set a maximum amount for what you can get in benefits - called the 'Benefit Cap'.

If you already get an element for managed migration or an SDP, your Universal Credit payment might not go up by the whole amount of the LCWRA element. This is because your migration or SDP element will go down at the same time. Talk to an adviser to find out how your payments will change.

If you have LCW, you won't normally get extra money. The exception is that you'll get an extra £156.11 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

You'll usually 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.

In some situations you might get the extra amount in your next Universal Credit payment. This includes if you:

  • are terminally ill and your health professional says you might not live more than a year

  • previously had Universal Credit with an LCW or LCWRA element and the award ended within the last 6 months because you had too much income 

  • get ESA with the support or work-related activity component, or got it at the time you claimed Universal Credit 

You might also get the extra amount in your next payment if you were assessed as having LCW or LCWRA as part of an ESA claim and you were on a 'credit-only claim' when you claimed Universal Credit. This means you were only getting National Insurance (NI) credits.

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

You might get an extra amount in your Universal Credit - it depends if you’ve had a ‘migration notice’. A migration notice is a letter telling you to claim Universal Credit by a certain deadline.

If you’ve had a migration notice telling you to move to Universal Credit, the DWP will usually include your premium and SDP when they work out your transitional element.

If you haven’t had a migration notice

You can get an extra amount in your Universal Credit - this is called the ‘SDP transitional element’.

You should get the SDP transitional element if you were getting an SDP with:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Income Support

  • the lower rate disabled child element with Child Tax Credit

You’ll get the SDP transitional element if you apply for Universal Credit within a month after you stop getting the benefit with the SDP. You must also still meet the qualifying conditions for the SDP on the date that your Universal Credit award starts.

You won’t get the SDP transitional element if either:

  • the only benefit you got the SDP with was Housing Benefit

  • you start living with a partner who is claiming Universal Credit

If you’re not sure if you were getting an SDP, check your benefits letters. If you’re still not sure, contact whoever paid the benefit - you can find the contact details in your benefits letters.

If you also got a disability premium with your benefit

You can get an extra amount on top of your SDP transitional element if you got the SDP and one of the following with your benefit:

  • a disability premium

  • an enhanced disability premium

  • a child disability premium or disabled child element

If you applied for Universal Credit before 14 February 2024, you wouldn't have got this extra amount. You’ll get a back payment, but the DWP haven’t decided when this will happen yet. We'll update our advice when the DWP announces how they'll send the payments.

Check how much SDP transitional element you'll get

In your first assessment period, the amount you’ll get will depend on your situation. If you’re in more than one of these situations, you’ll get whichever amount is higher.

If your first Universal Credit assessment period started on or after 29 June 2023

The amount of transitional element you get depends on:

  • when your first assessment period began

  • your situation at the time

Your situation Transitional element if your first assessment period began between 29 June 2023 and 7 April 2024 Transitional element if your first assessment period began on or after 8 April 2024
Your situation

You have a joint claim, were getting the higher rate of SDP and neither of you has a carer

Transitional element if your first assessment period began between 29 June 2023 and 7 April 2024

£445.91

Transitional element if your first assessment period began on or after 8 April 2024

£475.79

Your situation

You have a single or joint claim that doesn’t include the limited capability for work-related activity element

Transitional element if your first assessment period began between 29 June 2023 and 7 April 2024

£313.79

Transitional element if your first assessment period began on or after 8 April 2024

£334.81

Your situation

You have a single or joint claim that includes the limited capability for work-related activity element

Transitional element if your first assessment period began between 29 June 2023 and 7 April 2024

£132.12

Transitional element if your first assessment period began on or after 8 April 2024

£140.97

If you or your partner has a carer, the rules are more complicated. You won't get the higher amount of £445.91 or £475.79 if your carer started getting either of the following in your first assessment period:

  • Carer’s Allowance

  • the carer element of Universal Credit

You’ll get one of the lower amounts instead, depending on whether your claim includes the limited capability for work-related activity element.

If your first Universal Credit assessment period started before 29 June 2023

The amount of transitional element you get depends on:

  • when your first assessment period began

  • your situation at the time

Your situation Transitional element if your first assessment period began before 10 April 2023 Transitional element if your first assessment period began between 10 April 2023 and 28 June 2023
Your situation

You have a joint claim and were getting the higher rate of SDP

Transitional element if your first assessment period began before 10 April 2023

£405

Transitional element if your first assessment period began between 10 April 2023 and 28 June 2023

£445.91

Your situation

You have a single or joint claim that doesn’t include the limited capability for work-related activity element

Transitional element if your first assessment period began before 10 April 2023

£285

Transitional element if your first assessment period began between 10 April 2023 and 28 June 2023

£313.79

Your situation

You have a single or joint claim that includes the limited capability for work-related activity element

Transitional element if your first assessment period began before 10 April 2023

£120

Transitional element if your first assessment period began between 10 April 2023 and 28 June 2023

£132.12

If your other Universal Credit elements increase

The DWP will reduce your transitional element if your other Universal Credit elements increase. This doesn't apply to the childcare element - it won't affect your transitional element.

Example

Campbell's housing costs element is £400 and he also gets the new transitional element of £140.97. He moves to a different property and his housing costs element increases to £450 - his transitional element will reduce by £50 to £90.97.

Talk to an adviser if you’re not sure you’re getting the right amount.

If you're a carer

You'll get an extra £198.31 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.

If you already get an element for managed migration or an SDP

Your Universal Credit payment might not go up by the whole amount of the carer element. This is because your migration or SDP element will go down at the same time. Talk to an adviser to find out how your payments will change.

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 or other investments - called ‘capital’.

If you have a partner you live with, their income and capital will also affect your payments.  

If you have a dependent child or anyone else living with you, their income and capital won’t affect your payments.

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 earns after income tax reduces your Universal Credit by 55p.

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 or Housing Benefit:

Your situation Your work allowance
Your situation

You get the housing element or Housing Benefit

Your work allowance

£404.00 a month

Your situation

You don't get the housing element

Your work allowance

£673.00 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 £404 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 - £404 = £496.

Each full £1 she earns after income tax reduces her Universal Credit by 55p. £496 x 0.55 = £272.80.

Her total Universal Credit payment will be reduced by £272.80 a month because of her earnings. £1,400 - £272.80 = £1127.20 - 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

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 get an element for managed migration or an SDP, your Universal Credit payment might change if your income falls below a certain amount for 3 months in a row. This amount depends on:

  • when you first claimed Universal Credit

  • if you’re single or live with a partner - if you live with a partner the amount will be based on your joint income

If you're single

Your minimum monthly income

From 13 May 2024

Your minimum monthly income

£892

From 1 April to 12 May 2024

Your minimum monthly income

£743

From 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024

Your minimum monthly income

£677

From 30 January to 31 March 2023

Your minimum monthly income

£617

From 26 September 2022 to 29 January 2023

Your minimum monthly income

£494

If you live with a partner

Your minimum monthly joint income

From 13 May 2024

Your minimum monthly joint income

£1,437

From 1 April to 12 May 2024

Your minimum monthly joint income

£1,189

From 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024

Your minimum monthly joint income

£1,083

From 30 January to 31 March 2023

Your minimum monthly joint income

£988

From 26 September 2022 to 29 January 2023

Your minimum monthly joint income

£782

If you were already earning less than this, your Universal Credit payment won’t change.

If you earned more than this when you first claimed Universal Credit, the element for managed migration or SDP will stop. This might mean you get less money in your Universal Credit payment.

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 capital of £6,001 because £1 is a part of £250. 

Example

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

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

If you have more than £16,000, you might still be able to get Universal Credit if you got tax credits and you had a letter from the DWP telling you to claim Universal Credit instead. This is called ‘managed migration’. You can check if managed migration applies to you.

Don’t get rid of your capital to try to increase your Universal Credit payments. If you do, the DWP will calculate your Universal Credit payments as if you still have the capital. This is called having ‘notional capital’. 

The DWP won't treat you as still having notional capital if:

  • they think you had a good reason for buying something

  • you used it to pay off a debt you owe, including part of your mortgage

If you need help working out how your savings and capital affect 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

  • Adult Disability Benefit

  • Child Disability Benefit

Some other types of income are ignored and won’t reduce the amount of Universal Credit you’ll get. For example:

  • payments for looking after children - like adoption and fostering allowances, child arrangement order payments and kinship care payments

  • regular money from a charity

  • regular money from a family member

  • rent from a room you let in the home you live in

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 claim ends because your income increased, you might be able to get Universal Credit again if your income goes down. You’ll usually need to make a new claim.

When the Jobcentre tell you your claim is ending, check if your income might go down in the next 5 months. If your income might go down, ask the DWP to keep your claim open. If they agree, they’ll keep checking your earnings from work for the next 5 months. The DWP will restart your claim if your income goes down to an amount that means you can get some Universal Credit.

If the DWP keep your claim open, you should still tell them when your income has gone down. If you’re self-employed, keep reporting your income and expenses through your online journal.

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: 

  • is working and earns at least £793 a month after tax - if you have a partner, your combined earnings need to be at least £793 a month

  • is getting the Limited Capability for Work Related Activity (LCWRA) element of Universal Credit

  • is getting the carer element of Universal Credit or Carer’s Allowance

  • gets 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:

  • £617 a month for each of the 12 months that started between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022

  • £658 a month for each of the 12 months that started between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023

  • £722 a month for each of the 12 months that started between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024

  • £793 a month for each of the 12 months that started from 1 April 2024 or later

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

Example

Lilo lost her job on 21 March 2024 and claimed Universal Credit in April 2024. She wants to know if the Benefit Cap applies to her.

Lilo will be in a grace period if she earned enough from 22 March 2023 to 21 March 2024. She must have earned at least:

  • £658 a month from 22 March 2023 to 21 April 2023

  • £722 a month from 22 April 2023 to 21 March 2024

If Lilo is in a grace period, the Benefit Cap won’t apply for 9 months starting on 22 March 2024. Because she started claiming in April 2024, she has 8 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 £793 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:

  • £658 a month for each of the 12 months that started between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023

  • £722 a month for each of the 12 months that started between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024

  • £793 a month for each of the 12 months that started from 1 April 2024 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 2023. His earnings went down to £500 a month on 20 October 2023 - this was in the assessment period which went from 5 October 2023 to 4 November 2023. 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 2022 to 4 October 2023. He must have earned at least:

  • £658 a month from 5 October 2022 to 4 April 2023

  • £722 a month from 5 April 2023 to 4 October 2023

If Magnus is in a grace period, the Benefit Cap won’t apply for 9 months starting on 5 October 2023.

Example

Bianca’s earnings went down to £500 a month in January 2024 and she claimed Universal Credit on 13 March 2024. 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 March 2023 to 12 March 2024. She must have earned at least:

  • £658 a month from 13 March 2023 to 12 April 2023

  • £722 a month from 13 April 2023 to 12 March 2024

Because Bianca was only earning £500 from January 2024, 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
Your circumstances

Single without children and live outside London

Benefit Cap limit

£1,229.42

Your circumstances

Single without children and live inside London

Benefit Cap limit

£1,413.92

Your circumstances

In a couple or have children and live outside London

Benefit Cap limit

£1,835.00

Your circumstances

In a couple or have children and live in London 

Benefit Cap limit

£2,110.25

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.

If you're struggling with money, find out what help you can get with debt or rent arrears when you've applied for Universal Credit

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Page last reviewed on 08 January 2021