Universal Credit payments for children and childcare
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 of your Universal Credit payment will depend on how many children you have and the date they were born.
If you have children
You must tell Universal Credit if your child is going to continue in full-time non-advanced education or approved training after the age of 16. This is so you can continue to receive the additional amount for children and the disabled child addition, if appropriate.
For further information speak with your work coach.
|When the child was born||Monthly child element|
|Children born before 6 April 2017||First Child: £290.00
Each subsequent child: £244.58
|Child born on or after 6 April 2017 but only if they are your first and/or second child or if special circumstances apply||£244.58|
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.
Exceptions to the two-child policy
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.
For further information go to Two Child limit
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 non-parental caring arrangements
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 a child under 16 who you are responsible for has a child, you may get a child element for their child.
Children likely 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, which is £132.89 a month, is paid for a child who receives:
- the mobility or care part of Disability Living Allowance (any rate except the highest rate of the care part)
- a Personal Independence Payment
The higher rate, which is £414.88 is paid for a child who:
- is blind or has severe loss of vision
- receives the highest rate of the care part of Disability Living Allowance
- receives the enhanced rate of Personal Independence Payment daily living part
You must tell Universal Credit if your child is going to continue in full-time non-advanced education or approved training after the age of 16. This is so you can continue to receive the additional amount for children and the disabled child addition if appropriate.
For further information speak with your work coach.
If you pay for childcare
As well as the monthly standard allowance, you may get up to 85 per cent of your childcare costs if you have to pay for childcare.
|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)
- 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
- 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
- is temporarily away from home (for example in hospital or in custody)
Universal Credit does not help towards any payments made using childcare vouchers. However, if childcare costs are more than the value of the vouchers, help towards that additional amount can be applied for.
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
- the amount you paid to the childcare provider and when you made the payment.
You must give this information 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 that each childcare payment covers (for example, ‘from 2 January 2019 to 29 January 2019’)
- you will need to provide evidence such as bank statements, receipts or invoices from your childcare provider
You can show more than one piece of evidence to prove everything that's needed. For example, you can use a bank statement to prove the date and amount you paid, and an invoice to prove the time period this payment covers
This factsheet is helpful and lists what you need to do.
There is also useful information for childcare providers.
Help with Upfront Childcare costs
If paying upfront for registered childcare is preventing you from starting work, help may be available.