How to claim universal credit

How much you get

Your monthly universal credit payment is based on:

  • a standard allowance

  • any extra amounts you qualify for 

You only get the full standard allowance if you have no other income. 

You won't get the full amount if you're affected by the benefit cap.

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

Use the entitledto benefit calculator for an estimate of how much you can get based on your personal situation.

Standard allowance

At the start of coronavirus the standard allowance was increased by £20 a week. This uplift has now ended and universal credit amounts have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

From 6 October 2021 the new monthly standard allowances are:

Claim typeMonthly rate
Single people - if you're under 25£257.33
Single people - if you're 25 or over£324.84
Couples - if you're both under 25£403.93
Couples - if either of you are 25 or over£509.91

Extra amounts

The extra amounts are sometimes called elements.

This table shows what you may get on top of your standard allowance. 

Check the qualifying conditions for each element on GOV.UK

ElementMonthly rate
Child element£237.08 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£163.73 - if you provide at least 35 hours unpaid care a week for a severely disabled person.
Disability element£343.63 - 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 £1108.04 (2 or more children)
Housing elementAmount depends on the size of your household and where you live. It may not cover your full rent.

When you get your first payment

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

You can ask for a universal credit advance if you can't wait that long. You have to repay an advance over the next 2 years through deductions from future payments.

Universal credit is usually paid as one single monthly payment directly to you. It's paid in arrears so what you get is based on your income for the previous month. 

Last updated: 20 December 2021

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