If you have a health problem that affects your ability to work

If you have a health problem that affects your ability to work

You might get an extra Element if you have a health condition that means you can’t work.

There are two Elements that could be included in your UC assessment:

  • A Limited Capability for Work (LCW) Element, or
  • A Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity (LCWRA) Element.

Normally to have one of these included in your Universal Credit award you have to have been assessed by the DWP as having a Limited Capability for Work/Work Related Activity – called a Work Capability Assessment.

Your circumstances monthly amount
If you were assessed as having Limited Capability for Work, were receiving a benefit (ESA or UC) because of that condition before 3 April 2017, and you still have that condition£132.89
If you have been assessed as having Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity£354.28

Limited Capability for Work

If you have a condition that means you aren’t able to look for work now but can prepare for work with the aim of working at some time in the future, then following a Work Capability Assessment you may have been found to have a Limited Capability for Work (LCW).

You Universal Credit award will only include a LCW Element if:

  • You’ve been sick since before 3rd April 2017 and the DWP have already said you have LCW, or
  • On the day you claimed Universal Credit you were getting Employment and Support Allowance which included a Work Related Activity Group component, or
  • You receive Contributory/New-Style ESA which includes a Work Related Activity Group component.

You could also receive extra Universal Credit if you are found to have a LCW and:

  • You (or your partner) work but you don’t currently qualify for a work allowance and/or
  • Your partner works and you pay for childcare.

Example:
Isaac made a claim for Universal Credit after finishing work for health reasons in 2018. He provided a fit note and had a Work Capability Assessment. He was found to have a Limited Capability for Work and so has no work search to complete. He won’t receive the Limited Capability for Work Element because his period of incapacity for work started after 3rd April 2017.

Example:
Florence made a claim for Universal Credit when she moved home into a new Local Authority area. She had been on Employment and Support Allowance since 2015 (in the Work Related Activity Group) but this came to an end when she claimed UC. To begin with her Maximum Universal Credit did not have a Limited Capability for Work Element included – but her New Tenancy Support Worker helped her request a review of her award on her journal. Her Universal Credit payments increased by £132.89 a month and she received a back payment.

Example:
Mike and Chloe have claimed Universal Credit as Chloe’s hours at work have been reduced. Chloe now works part-time, Mike isn’t able to work due to health problems. His Work Coach suggests he notes his health problems on his UC claim, gets a ‘fit note’ from his GP, and requests a Work Capability Assessment on his journal / in his new claim interview. If he is found to have a Limited Capability for Work, their award will not receive an extra Element due to his disability – he will not be entitled to the LCW Element as he is not eligible. However, he will not have to do any work search and they will be entitled to a work allowance – meaning some of Chloe’s earnings will be ignored – and so they will receive more UC.

IMPORTANT: Where someone transfers from ESA to Universal Credit, any decision on their Limited Capability for Work should also transfer over – but this is often missed. If you think you’ve been affected, contact a Benefits Adviser as soon as possible.

Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity

If you have a condition that means you aren’t able to look for work and also aren’t able to undertake any activities that would help you get back into work, then following a Work Capability Assessment you may have been found to have a Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activities.

You would then be entitled to a Limited Capability for Work Related Activities (LCWRA) Element.

After presenting yourself as having a Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity you usually have to wait over 3 months for the LCWRA Element to be included in your Universal Credit award (the DWP call this a ‘relevant period’). There are instances where it can be added in straight away, such as if you were entitled to Employment and Support Allowance with the Support Component on the day you made your claim for Universal Credit.

Example:
Maria was living with her parents and getting Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance with a Support Component. She moved into a rented flat and needed help paying the rent and so claimed Universal Credit. Her Maximum Universal Credit includes a Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity Element from the start of her award.

Example:
Evan’s health has been deteriorating fast. His Work Coach has referred him for a Work Capability Assessment and has asked that he provide her with a ‘fit note’ from his GP. After completing the questionnaire and attending a medical Evan is found to have a Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity. His Maximum Universal Credit will include a Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity Element but not until after his ‘relevant period’.

NOTE: If you are claiming as a couple and both of you are entitled to one of these Elements, your award will only include one amount.

NOTE: Where a claimant is entitled to a LCW or LCWRA Element and a Carer Element they can only have one of these Elements included in their Universal Credit award.