The Child Element
If you are responsible for a child (or children) who normally live with you, you may qualify for one or more Child Elements.
If you have children, then check your Universal Credit award carefully.
You are entitled to a Child Element for each child that normally lives you – subject to the two child limit (which only affects parents with children born on or after 6th April 2017 – see below).
So make sure your award includes a Child Element for every child you are entitled to receive help for.
If you are concerned that the Child Element/s included in your Universal Credit assessment may be wrong, contact a benefit advisor for help.
|Number of children||Monthly Child Element|
|For your first child||£281.25 (born before 6th April 2017)|
£235.83 (born on or after 6th April 2017)
|For your second child||£235.83 per child (subject to two child limit)|
Rob and Sandy have one son age 4. Their Maximum Universal Credit will include a Child Element of £281.25
Tia is a lone parent with three children age 12, 8 and 5. Her Maximum Universal Credit will include three Child Elements (as all three children were born before April 2017) a total of £752.91
The Two Child Limit – Getting a payment for 3 or more children
You’ll usually only get a Universal Credit payment for 3 or more children if they were all born before 6 April 2017.
If you have more than 3 children, you won’t get a child element for those born after 6th April 2017 unless an exception applies.
You might still get a payment for 3 or more children if:
- You have a multiple birth – if your Universal Credit award already includes two or more Child Elements and then you have twins or triplets etc, you won’t get a Child Element for the first child in the multiple birth, but you will for the other/s.
- You’ve adopted a child from the UK (unless you were the child’s step-parent immediately before adopting them)
- You’re caring for someone else’s child in a formal care arrangement
- You’re caring for someone else’s child in an informal care arrangement where otherwise they’d be in care
- You have a child from a pregnancy that was from rape or a controlling relationship
- You’re responsible for a child under 16 who has their own child and they both live with you
NOTE: Even if you don’t get a Child Element for a child included in your award due to the Two Child Limit, they should still be allocated a bedroom under the size criteria rules, and if they are getting Disability Living Allowance then you should still get a Disabled Child Element (see below).
Richard and Kelly have two children age 9 and 4. They live in a social rented three bedroom house. Their Maximum Universal Credit will include two Child Elements a total of £517.08 – but their Housing Costs Element will be reduced by 14% as they will be deemed to be under-occupying their home by one bedroom. Kelly is due to have their third child next month. They weren’t going to bother recording this as a change of circumstances on their UC journal but their Housing Officer explains that it will make a difference. They will not receive an extra Child Element but they will no longer be classed as under-occupying their home and so they will see a slight increase in their Universal Credit award. The two child limit does not apply to Child Benefit, so he advises them to make a claim for their new baby.
If you have a disabled child
You may get extra money if you are responsible for a child or young person who is disabled and gets Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.
This Disabled Child Element is paid at either a higher rate or a lower rate.
To qualify for the lower rate your child must be:
- Entitled to Disability Living Allowance, or
- Entitled to Personal Independence Payment.
To qualify for the higher rate your child must be:
- Entitled to Disability Living Allowance (higher rate care component)
- Entitled to Personal Independence Payment (enhanced rate daily living component), or
- Registered blind
|Rate||Monthly Disabled Child Element|
|Lower rate||£128.25 per child|
|Higher rate||£400.29 per child|
Your Universal Credit payment will include a Disabled Child Element for each child who is disabled. It doesn’t matter how many children you have – you can still receive a Disabled Child Element for a child, even if you do not get the basic Child Element for them due to the Two Child Limit Rules.
Raheem and Zoe have two children age 16 and 13. Their youngest receives mid rate care Disability Living Allowance. Their Maximum Universal Credit award will include two Child Elements a total of £517.08 and also a Disabled Child Element of £128.25.
IMPORTANT: If one of your children is awarded Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) inform the DWP as soon as possible. The extra Disabled Child Element should be included in your UC award back to the Assessment Period in which the DLA or PIP award started – make sure you do receive this back payment of UC. If you think the DWP have not assessed this or they are refusing to give you this back payment, contact us for help.