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Page created: 21 April 2021

Disability or Long-Term Health Condition Claimants

You might get an extra amount of Universal Credit if you have a health condition or disability that prevents you from working or preparing for work. Find out more about how this extra payment is calculated.

If you are a disabled person or you are living with a long-term illness that affects your ability to do day-to-day activities or to work, when making a new claim for Universal Credit you may want to think about applying for a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) under your UC claim.

To do this, you will need to request a WCA on your Universal Credit online journal that you set up when you made your online application. You will receive a reply on your online journal asking for you to supply a fit note from your GP. Once you have provided the DWP with your GP’s fit note, a WCA assessment application form will be sent out to you, called a UC50 form. You will need to fill this form out as best as you can and supply medical evidence.

NB: It is highly advisable to always send any correspondence to the DWP via recorded delivery!

Once you have submitted your UC50 form, you will be contacted by a delegated Independent Assessment Service (IAS) provider (Maximus) to undergo a WCA.

NB: During the Coronavirus pandemic, Work Capability Assessments are being carried out over the telephone. As the UK begins to come out of lockdown restrictions, telephone assessments will start to be removed with face-to-face assessments being re-introduced. This means that you may have to attend an assessment at a designated time and location.

Passing a WCA will place you into one of two groups:

  1.  Limited Capability for Work (LCW); or
  2.  Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity (LCWRA).

If you are placed into the LCW group, you should have the responsibilities under your Claimant Commitment reduced by being placed into work group three.

If you are placed into the LCWRA group, you will be placed into work group one, and you will also receive an extra payment per month in your Universal Credit maximum amount. For further details on the LCWRA additional amount, please see the payable elements below.

To understand the Work Capability Assessment better, and to familiarise yourself with the assessment criteria and scoring descriptors that you will be assessed under, please click here.  

Payable elements

Universal Credit is made up of two basic elements:

  1.  A standard basic allowance; and
  2. Any additional elements.

Each month, at the end of your ‘assessment period’, you will receive both your standard allowance and any applicable additional elements you are eligible for together in one payment. This is referred to as your ‘maximum amount’.

Standard allowances

The standard allowances will depend upon whether you are single or a couple or aged 25 or under. The standard allowances are as follows:

  • Single claimant aged under 25 – £342.72 per month.
  • Single claimant aged 25 or over – £409.89 per month.
  • Joint claimants aged under 25 – £488.59 per month.
  • Joint claimants (one or both) aged 25 or over – £594.04 per month.

NB: It should be noted that the above amounts are with the £20 per week ‘uplift’ added due to the Coronavirus pandemic. These amounts are set to be reduced by £87 per month from October 2021!

Additional elements

Any additional amounts you can receive in your Universal Credit monthly maximum amount will depend upon your own and your partner's, current circumstances. The additional amounts available are as follows:

Work capability element

This additional element is paid to claimants who are disabled, or too ill to work, following a Work Capability Assessment (WCA). There are two different groups a claimant can be placed into:

  1. Limited Capability for Work (LCW) – extra amount removed since April 2017.
  2. Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity (LCWRA) - £341.92 per month.

Child element

This additional element is paid to claimants who have children, or qualifying young persons who normally live with them. The amounts you can receive are as follows:

  • Eldest or only child – £281.25 per month (born before 6 April 2017).
  • Other children – £235.83 per month (born after 6 April 2017).

There is a two-child limit for all children born after 6 April 2017, so for every child born after this date, you will not be able to receive an extra payment for them.

Disabled child element

This element is paid for each child under 16, or a qualifying young person, who receives either:

  • Any rate of Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - £128.25 per month (lower rate).
  • Enhanced rate of the Daily Living component for Personal Independence Payment; or high-rate Care component for Disability Living Allowance - £400.29 per month (higher rate).

Childcare costs element

This additional element is paid for working parents towards registered childcare costs. A claimant can receive 85% of their childcare costs for:

  • One child - £646.35 per month (maximum).
  • Two or more children - £1,108.04 per month (maximum).

The costs of childcare are currently paid in arrears, this means that claimants will need to pay for the costs themselves and then send in an invoice to the DWP to be reimbursed.

There is no limit to how many hours a claimant needs to work. For couples, both claimants must be in work, unless the non-working partner:

  • has an LCW or LCWRA; or
  • has regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person, or
  • is temporarily absent from the household i.e., in prison, hospital or residential care.

Carer element

This additional element is paid for claimants who have ‘regular and substantial’ caring duties for someone for at least 35 hours per week.

The carer element is paid at the rate of £162.92 per month.

Eligibility for the carer element is very similar to the entitlement for Carers Allowance, although, claimants do not need to be claiming Carers Allowance to be eligible for the UC carers element. Unlike with Carers Allowance, your earnings will not be considered for the carer element.

The carer element can be paid at the same time as Carers Allowance, but because Carers Allowance is an overlapping welfare benefit, it will be considered as income for Universal Credit, which will reduce your monthly UC payment, pound for pound (£292).

On a single person’s claim only one carer element can be paid.

On a couple's claim, more than one carer element can be paid, provided you are not both caring for the same person.

The carer element under UC will not be paid to claimants at the same time as having an LCW or LCWRA. Either the carer element will be paid, or the LCW/LCWRA element, whichever is highest.

For a couple's claim, the person without an LCW/LCWRA, can be paid a carer element as long as they have regular and substantial caring duties.