How to claim universal credit

How much you get

Your monthly universal credit (UC) payment is made up of:

  • a standard allowance

  • extra amounts, such as payments for housing costs

You do not usually get the full amount if you're working or have other income.

Check if the benefit cap reduces what you get.

Use the entitledto benefits calculator for an idea of how much you can get.

Standard allowance from April 2023

Claim typeMonthly rate
Single people - if you're under 25£292.11
Single people - if you're 25 or over£368.74
Couples - if you're both under 25£458.51
Couples - if either of you are 25 or over£578.82

Extra amounts from April 2023

These are sometimes called elements.

This table shows what you could get on top of your standard allowance: 

ElementMonthly rate
Child element£269.58 each for first 2 children. You may get more if your children were born before 6 April 2017 or you have a disabled child.
Carer element£185.86 - if you give at least 35 hours unpaid care a week for a severely disabled person.
Disability element£390.06 - if the DWP decide you have 'limited capability for work and work related activity'.
Childcare elementUp to a maximum of £646.35 (1 child) or £1,108.04 (2 or more children).
Housing elementAmount depends on the size of your household and where you live. It may not cover your full rent.

Find out how your housing element is worked out.

Check who can get each element on GOV.UK

Child element for children with 2 homes

Only the main carer for the children can get the child element.

You can agree who is the main carer if your children live with someone else some of the time.

If you cannot agree, the DWP decides based on your situation. For example, where the children spend the most time.

Your first payment

You have to wait at least 5 weeks for your first payment.

Ask for a UC advance if you cannot wait that long. You pay this back out of future payments.

UC is usually paid as a single monthly payment directly to you.

It's paid in arrears so what you get is based on your income in the previous month. 

Last updated: 5 April 2023

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