Income Support with dependant's allowance - two child limit

You may receive dependant’s allowance for children or young people in your household as part of your Income Support payment. If you have a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, you will not be paid extra for that child/children unless there are special circumstances.

If you are not sure whether you receive dependant’s allowance, check your Income Support award letter (the letter that tells you how much money you receive). 

People affected

If you have a third or subsequent child (fourth, fifth and so on) born on or after 6 April 2017, you will not be paid additional dependant’s allowance for that child/children unless there are special circumstances.

People not affected

If you are already getting dependant’s allowance for more than two children (born before 6 April 2017) you will continue to get those benefits, as long as your circumstances remain the same.

You will still be entitled to an additional amount for any disabled child or young person who you become responsible for, regardless of the total number of children in your household. This is called ‘disabled child premium’.

Special circumstances

There are special circumstances where you will get dependant's allowance for a third or subsequent child or young person born on or after 6 April 2017. These include:

  • multiple births
  • adopted children
  • children living with family, friends or in non-parental caring arrangements
  • children likely to have been conceived from a non-consensual sexual act 

Multiple births

This relates to all third or subsequent children in a household born as part of a multiple birth, apart from one child in that birth.

Situation one

If you already receive dependant’s allowance for two children and you have twins, you will only be paid extra dependant’s allowance for one child in the multiple birth.  If you already receive dependant’s allowance for two children and you have triplets, you will only be paid extra dependant’s allowance for two children in the multiple birth, and so on.

Example one

Kevin and Penny have two children in their family, Jack (aged five) and Jill (aged three), when twins Alex and Luke are born on 20 December 2017. Kevin is the parent of and responsible for the twins, and they were born as a result of the same pregnancy. Kevin is therefore entitled to a child personal allowance for Jack, Jill and one of the twins.

Situation two

If the first child of the multiple birth is the second child on your claim, you will receive dependant’s allowance for that child. You also receive dependant’s allowance for the other child or children of the multiple birth.

Example two

Kevin and Penny have Jack (aged five) in their family when twins Alex and Luke are born on 20 December 2017. Kevin is the parent of and responsible for the twins, and they were born as a result of the same pregnancy. Kevin is therefore entitled to a child personal allowance for Jack, Alex and Luke.  

Adopted children

This relates to any children in your household who are adopted through a Health and Social Care Trust.

You will receive a ‘child amount’ for these children and it will not affect the amounts you get for other children in your household. It applies from the date you become responsible for the adopted child.

This special circumstance will not apply if:

  • the child is adopted from abroad (an overseas or ‘Convention’ adoption)
  • you or your partner were their step-parent immediately before you adopted them
  • you or your partner were their natural parent (‘natural parent’ is sometimes called ‘birth parent’ or ‘biological parent’)

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

This special circumstance applies to the following two groups.

Friend and family carers

This applies where you have a formal caring arrangement in place, such as where you have been appointed by a court as legally responsible for the child or young person.

It may also apply where the caring arrangement is made on an informal basis. In this case, you and your social worker must complete Form ICINI(IS) and return it to the Department for Communities' Exceptions team.

The friend and family carers special circumstance will not apply if you or your partner is a parent or step-parent of the child or young person.

Under 16 year olds who have a child

This applies where a child under 16 you are responsible for becomes the parent of a child.

In this circumstance you can get dependant's allowance for the new child if they are also within your household and you are responsible for them. This exception will remain in place until the parent turns 16 and is able to claim benefits on their own for them and their child.

This special circumstance may stop if the young parent leaves the household, leaving their child in your care and you already receive dependant's allowance for two other children or young people. You may be able to claim ‘non-parental care exception’ instead.

Children conceived from a non-consensual sexual act 

This applies to third or subsequent children in a household who:

  • are likely to have been conceived as a result of a non-consensual sexual act (including rape)
  • were conceived at or around a time you were subject to ongoing control or coercion by the other parent of the child, which had a serious effect on you

To qualify for dependant's allowance in these circumstances, you must no longer be living with the child’s other biological parent. You will be asked to confirm this.

This special circumstance may apply if:

  • there has been a conviction for rape
  • there has been a conviction in England or Wales for controlling or coercive behaviour
  • you have been awarded a Criminal Injuries Compensation Award for a relevant injury, at or around the time of conception   

However, there does not need to have been a court case, a conviction or compensation award for this special circumstance to apply. 

If you think this special circumstance applies to your situation, fill in Form NCC1NI(IS) with the help of an approved third party and return the form to the Department for Communities' Exceptions team.

Approved third parties

The following organisations and professionals can help you complete Form NCC1NI(IS):

The declaration on the form from an approved third party will be accepted as evidence that this special circumstance applies.  At no time will you be questioned by Department for Communities staff about the incident.

Effect on other benefits

You may still be entitled to help with childcare costs for children or young people you’re responsible for, even if you do not receive dependant's allowance for all of them.

Certain other benefits, including Child Benefit and free school meals, will not be affected.

To make sure you don’t miss out on benefits you are entitled to, you should report the birth of a child, a child joining your household and any changes in your circumstances involving children or young people to your local Jobs and Benefits office.

Further information

For queries or further information, please contact the Department for Communities Exceptions team

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