As part of our Make Universal Credit Work campaign, The Sun wants to make things clearer.
So we've taken the most common questions you've been asking in our rapidly growing Facebook group – which now has almost 6,000 members – and had them answered by the experts at debt charity Turn2Us and the Department of Work and Pensions. Here's what you need to know…
How much am I entitled to?
Many things impact how much Universal Credit you are entitled to – dependant children, jobs, health conditions and housing costs are all taken into account.
It makes pinpointing exactly what you’ll get hard, with many people saying it makes it very difficult to budget and some, including single mum Lauren Anderson, say it's pushed them into debt.
But Turn2Us has put together a guide that explains how the calculation is made. Read the boxes below to find out which elements might apply to you.
How your entitlement is calculated (as of 11 June 2019)
In working out your Universal Credit award, firstly your household’s maximum Universal Credit award is calculated. This will be made up of one basic allowance and any additional elements that apply. Here's what the basic allowance pays…
Universal Credit Basic Allowance
Your basic allowance will depend on whether you are single or claiming as a couple, and your age. There is one basic allowance for your household:
- Single claimant aged under 25: £251.77 per month
- Single claimant aged 25 or over: £317.82 per month
- Joint claimants both aged under 25: £395.20 per month
- Joint claimants either aged 25 or over: £498.89 per month
Universal Credit additional elements (monthly amounts)
There are additional elements that can be added to your basic allowance. Your household may qualify for more than one of these:
- Child element £277.08 for 1st child or qualifying young person (if born before 6 April 2017), £231.67 per child for 2nd & subsequent child or qualifying young person (and for first child if born on or after 6 April 2017). If your children were born after 6 April 2017 you might be affected by the two child limit.
- Childcare costs element, £646.35 (max for 1 child), £1,108.04 (max amount for 2 or more children)**
- Limited capability for work element, for people with illnesses or disabilities £126.11 (abolished for most new claimants from 3 April 2017)
- Limited capability for work-related activity element for people with illnesses or disabilities (LCWRA element)* £336.20
- Carer element for people providing care for someone who is ill or disabled £160.20
- Housing costs element – these depend on whether you rent privately, are a social tenant or home owner
*The same person cannot get a LCWRA element as well as a Carer element even if they are eligible for both.
** UC pays up to 85 per cent of a claimant's childcare costs or the maximum amounts given above – whichever is lower.
The DWP recommends using online tools to get a better idea of exactly what you'll get.
“Benefits calculators are available online to help give an idea of what you might receive,” a spokesperson for the DWP said.
Citizen’s Advice has a Help To Claim service, or you could use the Turn2Us calculator or on the one on the Government website.
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