How much Universal Credit you will get

The amount of Universal Credit you get depends on your circumstances, including your income and how many children you have. In Northern Ireland it is paid twice a month into your bank, building society or Credit Union account.

If you live in England, Scotland or Wales go to Gov.uk

How much you will get

Depending on your circumstances, you will get a monthly standard allowance plus extra amounts if, for example, you:

  • have children
  • have a disability or health condition which prevents you from working, or
  • need help paying your rent.

A benefit calculator can help you check how much Universal Credit you may get.

When using a benefits calculator it is important that you enter your information correctly to get an  estimate of what benefits you may be entitled to. You should seek independent advice before you make the decision to change your benefits.

Standard allowance

Your monthly standard allowance will depend on your circumstances.

Your situation    Your monthly standard allowance
Single and under 25 £344.00*
Single and 25 or over £411.51*
In a couple and you’re both under 25 £490.60* (for you both)

In a couple and one or both of you are 25 or over

£596.58* (for you both)

Rates marked with * have been temporarily increased by The Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020/371

If you have children

As well as the monthly standard allowance, you may receive an amount, called the child element, for children who live with you.  The child element you get will depend on how many children you have and when they were born.

When the child was born

Monthly child element

Children born before 6 April 2017

 

First child: £282.50

Each subsequent child: £237.08

 

Child born on or after 6 April 2017 but only
if they are your first and/or second child or if
special circumstances apply

£237.08

 

Children born before 6 April 2017

Your Universal Credit payment may include a child element for each child in your household born before 6 April 2017.

Children born on or after 6 April 2017

The UK Government’s two-child policy means that for children born on or after 6 April 2017, the child element will only apply if they are your first or second child, or if any of the following special circumstances apply to them.

Part of a multiple birth

If you have a third or subsequent child by multiple birth after 6 April 2017, you will be able to get the child element for all but one of those children.

Adopted

You can get an extra amount of Universal Credit for any child you adopt through the Health and Social Care Trust. This extra amount will usually apply from the date you became responsible for the adopted child.

Children living with family, friends or in a non-parental caring arrangement

You may get a child element if you have a formal arrangement in place for caring for a child who is not yours (for example, if you have been appointed by a court as legally responsible for the child or young person).

If you have an informal arrangement in place you may still get a child element. You and your social worker must fill in Form IC1NI(IS) and return it to the Department for Communities Exceptions Team.

If a child under 16 who you are responsible for has a child, you may get a child element for their child.

Children likely to have been conceived from a non-consensual sexual act

You may get a child element for a third or subsequent child who is likely to have been conceived as a result of a sexual act you did not, or could not, consent to.

This includes children conceived around a time when you were suffering from domestic abuse by the other parent of the child.

To get this child element you must not be living with the other biological parent of the child. You will be asked to confirm this.

If you have a child with disabilities or severe disabilities

As well as the standard allowance and the child element, if you have a disabled child or children, you may get an extra monthly payment.

There are two rates of payment.

Lower rate

The lower rate, which is £128.89 a month, is paid for a child who receives:

  • the mobility or care component of Disability Living Allowance (any rate except the highest rate of the care component), or
  • a Personal Independence Payment.

Higher rate

The higher rate, which is £402.41 is paid for a child who:

  • is blind or has severe loss of vision
  • receives the highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, or 
  • receives the enhanced rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living component.

If you pay for childcare

As well as the monthly standard allowance, you may get more money (the childcare element) if you have to pay for childcare.

Universal Credit can pay up to 85% of your childcare costs.

Number of children receiving childcare

Monthly childcare element

One child

Up to £646.35

Two or more children

Up to £1,108.04

Childcare costs will be included in your Universal Credit payments after you have paid the childcare provider and reported the amount you have paid.

Who can get help with childcare costs

If you are responsible for a child (or in some cases a young person up to the age of 19), you can get help with childcare costs if:

  • your childcare provider is registered or approved (for example, registered with the local Health and Social Care Trust), and
  • you, or both you and your partner if you have a joint claim, must be in paid work (employed or self-employed), or about to start work, or
  • you or your partner are in work but you need childcare because one of you:
    • has limited capability for work        
    • looks after a severely disabled adult or child, or
    • is temporarily away from home (for example, in hospital or in custody).

Universal Credit does not help towards any payments made using childcare vouchers.

You can’t get Tax Free Childcare and Universal Credit at the same time.

How to get help with childcare costs

You must provide the following information for each child.

  • The childcare provider’s full name and registration number
  • Full contact details for the childcare provider, including their address and phone number
  • The address where the child is being looked after
  • The full cost of the childcare each month

Universal Credit can accept any of the following documents as evidence to confirm the details of your childcare provider. 

  • A dated childcare contract
  • A dated letter from the childcare provider
  • A dated invoice from the childcare provider, showing their name, contact details and registration number

If you use more than one childcare provider, you must give details for each one.

Information you need to provide every month:

  • You should report the actual childcare costs you have paid in the assessment period you paid them, or in the next assessment period.
  • You must do this even if the costs haven't changed from the previous month.
  • You must provide evidence of the dates for the period that each childcare payment covers (for example, ‘from 2 January 2019 to 29 January 2019’).

This factsheet is helpful and lists what you need to do.

If you have a disability or health condition  

As well as the monthly standard allowance, you may get more money if you have a health condition or disability which stops you from working or limits the work you can do.

Severity

Extra monthly amount

A disability or health condition that limits the work
you can do and your claim was made before 3 April 2017.

Claims made on or after that date are not eligible for this additional amount

£128.89

A disability or health condition that stops you from working

£343.63

You may have to go to a Work Capability Assessment.  A Work Capability Assessment will check to see if you:

  • are fit for work
  • have limited capability for work (which means that although you may not be able to look for work now, you can prepare for working in the future), or
  • have limited capability for work and work-related activity (which means you will not be asked to look for work or prepare for work).

If you care for a severely disabled person

As well as the monthly standard allowance, if you spend at least 35 hours a week looking after a severely disabled person who receives a disability-related benefit, you may get an extra £163.73 each month.

If you rent your home

As well as your monthly standard allowance, you may get extra money (called the housing element) to help pay your housing costs if you:

  • pay rent to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE)
  • pay rent (and some service charges) to a housing association,
  • pay rent to a private landlord.

The housing element will be paid directly to your landlord. If you meet certain conditions you can ask for it to be paid to you, so you can pay your own rent.

If your housing element is paid to you and you stop paying your rent, your landlord can ask to have your future housing element, or any housing element they have not received, paid directly to them.

The housing element may not cover all of your rent. You will need to check this as you will have to pay the rest to your landlord.

To check how much your housing element will be, you need to know if your landlord is a Social Sector landlord or a Private Sector landlord.

  • If your landlord is the NIHE or a housing association, you are a Social Sector tenant.
  • If your property is owned by a person or property company, rather than NIHE or a housing association, you are a Private Sector tenant. 

If you were getting Housing Benefit immediately before you claimed Universal Credit, you will continue to receive your Housing Benefit in the usual way for an extra two weeks after you claim Universal Credit.   

If this extra Housing Benefit is paid to you and you owe your landlord rent, you must use it to pay off what you owe. If you do not owe rent, you can keep the extra Housing Benefit.

If your regular Housing Benefit is paid to your landlord, they will receive the extra Housing Benefit.  Your landlord may put this towards any rent you owe, or you can ask them to pay it to you.

Your Universal Credit payment will not include money towards your rates. If you are getting Universal Credit, you may be able to claim a Rate Rebate.

Universal Credit does not pay housing costs for people in supported or temporary accommodation.

Supported accommodation is accommodation provided by Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), a housing association, registered charity or voluntary organisation that provides you with care, support or supervision. 

Temporary accommodation may be a hostel (which does not provide care, support or supervision), a short term rented property or short term bed and breakfast.

In these circumstances, you may be able to apply for Housing Benefit.

If you pay rent to a Social Sector Landlord

The housing element will be your actual housing costs and any service charges Universal Credit can cover, but not charges for utilities such as electricity or gas.

If you meet certain conditions you can request that your housing element is paid to you, allowing you to pay your own rent.

If your home is larger than you need, you will get less housing element. This is because the Social Sector Size Criteria (SSSC), sometimes referred to as the ‘Bedroom Tax’, applies to Universal Credit. 

Your housing element amount will be reduced by:

  • 14% if you have one bedroom that you do not need, or
  • 25% if you have two or more bedrooms that you do not need.

If you are affected by the SSSC, you will automatically be entitled to supplementary payments (known as mitigation payments). These mitigation payments will normally be paid to your landlord, unless you pay your own rent to your landlord.

If you pay rent to a Private Sector Landlord

Your housing element will be:

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate depends on the area you choose to live in, who lives with you and the number of bedrooms you need.

A shared accommodation rate (SAR) is paid to single Private Rented Sector claimants under the age of 35.  The SAR does not apply to under 35s living in supported housing in the Private Rented Sector.

Some claimants who are under 35 and living alone may receive more than the ‘shared accommodation’ rate.

This will apply if you are:

  • aged 18 to 24 and identified as a care leaver
  • an ex-offender who poses a risk of serious harm to the public
  • formerly homeless, aged 16 to 34 and receiving support to resettle back into the community
  • on account of your disability, receiving:
  • Attendance Allowance (which includes Armed Forces Independence payment and Constant Attendance Allowance, paid as part of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or War Disablement Pension)
  • DLA care component at the middle or higher rate
  • PIP daily living component (either rate).

If any of these applies to you, to make sure you receive the correct housing amount you should notify your Work Coach as soon as possible, using your online account or contacting the Universal Credit Service Centre.

Messages to your online account will be answered as soon as possible during business hours.

If you meet certain conditions you can request that your housing element is paid to you, allowing you to pay your own rent.

You will need to provide evidence of your housing costs (for example, a tenancy agreement or letter from your landlord).  The evidence will need to:

  • confirm that you live in the property
  • confirm that you are responsible for paying the rent, and are paying it
  • show your landlord details, and
  • give the details of any joint tenant.

The evidence will need to show your rent and rates as two separate amounts.  This is because Universal Credit does not cover rates.

Your housing element will include money towards your:

  • rent, and
  • eligible service charges.

If you own your home

If you’re a homeowner, as well as the monthly standard allowance, you might be able to get Support for Mortgage Interest. This is a loan to help towards interest payments on your mortgage or other loans you’ve taken out for your home.

Other financial support you might get

If you do not have enough money to live on until you get your first Universal Credit payment, you may also be able to claim:

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