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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-if-you-have-a-disability-or-health-condition-quick-guide/universal-credit-if-you-have-a-disability-or-health-condition
Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or unable to work.
Your monthly payment is based on your circumstances, for example, your earnings or household income, housing costs and any health condition or disability you may have.
If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.
Find out if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.
1. If you have a health condition or disability when making a claim for Universal Credit
When you make a claim for Universal Credit you will be asked if you have either a health condition or a disability which prevents, or limits, your ability to work. If you answer ‘yes’ you may be asked to attend a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
In most circumstances, if you remain unable to work due to your health conditions for 4 weeks, you will be referred for a WCA on the 29th day of your claim.
You may be referred for a WCA on the first day of your claim when one of the following applies:
you are terminally ill
you are pregnant and there is a serious risk of damage to your health, or to the health of your unborn child if you do not refrain from work or work-related activity
you are receiving or are about to receive treatment for cancer by way of chemotherapy or radiotherapy – or you are recovering from such treatment
you are in hospital or similar institution for 24 hours or longer
you are prevented from working by law
you are receiving or recovering from treatment for dialysis, plasmapheresis or total parenteral nutrition for gross impairment of enteric function
You can ask another person or organisation to deal with your claim if you feel unable to:
find the information you need
understand things about your claim
manage your own affairs
You can do this at any point during your claim.
Find out more about people acting on your behalf.
2. Declaring a health condition or disability on an existing Universal Credit claim
If you have already made a claim for Universal Credit, a new health condition or disability will need to be reported as a change of circumstances.
You can report periods of sickness of up to 14 days as a temporary period of sickness.
3. Medical evidence
You can self-certify for up to the first 7 days of your claim by notifying Universal Credit that you have a health condition which prevents you from working.
From the 8th day, if your condition persists and if you have not already done so, you will need to submit medical evidence.
This will normally be a Statement of Fitness for Work (SoFFW). This is often referred to as a fit note, sick note, med cert or doctor’s note. This can be provided by a doctor or General Practitioner.
4. Your Claimant Commitment
To get Universal Credit you will need to agree with your work coach what activities you can do to prepare or look for work. Your work coach will take into account your health condition or disability when considering what to include in your Claimant Commitment.
5. Work Capability Assessment
The WCA is used to find out how much your health condition or disability affects your ability to work. It assesses what you can do, as well as what you can’t do.
You’ll be asked questions about how your condition affects you in your day to day life. It gives you the opportunity to explain if, and how, your health condition or disability may vary over time.
Once a referral to a WCA has been made you will be sent a capability for work questionnaire. This is called a UC50. The information you provide on the questionnaire will be used to decide if you need to attend a face to face assessment.
A paper copy of the questionnaire will be posted to you. If you prefer you can fill out the Universal Credit capability for work questionnaire online and print it out.
You will need to send the completed UC50 questionnaire to the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments by the date requested.
6. Completing the UC50 questionnaire
If you need help completing the UC50 questionnaire, you could ask a friend, relative, carer or a support worker.
If you still need help or you have no one to support you then speak to someone at the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments who will be able to help you answer the questions.
6.1 Centre for Health and Disability Assessments
Telephone: 0800 288 8777
For more information about the UC50 questionnaire and the WCA go to Centre for Health and Disability Assessments.
7. After the WCA
The Centre for Health and Disability Assessments sends a report of the assessment to Universal Credit. A Decision Maker will use that report, along with any other relevant evidence, to decide if you:
are fit for work
have limited capability for work (LCW)
have limited capability for work and work related activity (LCWRA)
8. Fit for work
If you are assessed as being fit for work, you will need to agree to look for work that is suitable for your health condition, and be prepared to work to keep getting Universal Credit.
Your work coach will take into account your health condition or disability when considering what work related activities and availability for work is included in your Claimant Commitment.
9. Limited capability for work
If it is decided you have limited capability for work (LCW), you are not expected to look for work right away.
You will need to discuss with your work coach the activities you agree to do to prepare for work with the aim of working at some time in the future.
Your work coach will take into account your health condition or disability when considering what work preparation activities to include in your Claimant Commitment.
Activities could include, for example, writing a CV and undertaking some training.
You will get paid an extra amount of Universal Credit called the LCW component if all the following apply:
you were receiving benefit before 3 April 2017
you were previously assessed as having LCW
this claim is on going and the assessment was related to the health condition you currently have
Find out more about changes to limited capability for work payments in Universal Credit.
10. Limited capability for work and work related activity
If it is decided you have limited capability for work and work related activity (LCWRA) you are not expected to look for work or to prepare for work, though you can volunteer.
You may be eligible for an additional amount for having LCWRA.
11. Terminally ill
When claiming Universal Credit you will be treated as being terminally ill if you have a progressive disease or a health condition and due to that condition you are not expected to live for more than 6 months.
If you declare you have a terminal illness when you claim Universal Credit you will be asked if you would like to receive a call back to discuss your terminal illness. The call back may include an explanation of the claim process and documentation needed as well as support with completing your claim.
You can choose not to have a call back and complete your claim online yourself.
It is recommended that you send a DS1500 form so that Universal Credit can handle your claim appropriately. The form is confirmation of your terminal illness and can be provided and completed by your doctor or healthcare professional.
The DS1500 form can be requested and sent in by yourself, a representative or someone who is supporting you such as your doctor or a support organisation such as Macmillan Cancer Support.
Your doctor or healthcare professional may be able to complete and submit form DS1500 directly to DWP electronically, and in these circumstances you would not receive a paper copy.
Either the doctor or your representative can send the DS1500 form to:
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit Full Service
If you or your representative have already sent your DS1500 form to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA) you should inform Universal Credit. You can do this by noting your online journal, if you have one, or if you live in a ‘live service’ area, call the Universal Credit Helpline.
11.1 Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
In this situation Universal Credit will confirm the details of the DS1500 with PIP, DLA or AA, you do not need to provide a duplicate.
You will not be required to agree a Claimant Commitment or attend a WCA if you are physically or mentally unable to do so, or it is considered unreasonable due to your terminal illness.
12. Temporary period of sickness
If you already have a claim to Universal Credit and you become unwell for a short period of time, you can be treated as having a temporary period of sickness.
Whilst you are treated as having a temporary period of sickness you do not have to complete the activities agreed in your Claimant Commitment.
A temporary period of sickness can last for up to 14 days. You must provide medical evidence from the 8th day of your sickness. In a rolling 12 month period you are permitted to have two temporary periods of sickness.
If you have more than 2 temporary periods of sickness, you will need to complete the activities agreed in your Claimant Commitment.
You may be referred for a Work Capability Assessment.
13. Moving from Employment and Support Allowance to Universal Credit
If you have been receiving Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), have already completed a WCA and been assessed whilst claiming ESA, you may not have to undertake the assessment again when you move to Universal Credit.
If your Work Capability Assessment is due for a review, you will need to have another assessment.
13.1 Work Related Activity Component
If you have already been assessed as having limited capability for work, you may not have to undertake the assessment again.
You will get paid an extra amount of Universal Credit called the LCW component if you:
- were in receipt of the Work Related Activity Component in ESA prior to 3 April 2017
- are still receiving this immediately before your claim to Universal Credit
- have no changes to your health condition
Find out more about changes to limited capability for work payments in Universal Credit
13.2 Support Component
If you have already been assessed as having limited capability for work and work related activity you may not have to undertake the assessment again.
You will get paid an extra amount of Universal Credit called the LCWRA component, if you were in receipt of the Support Component in ESA immediately before your claim to Universal Credit and have no changes to your health condition.
14. Change of circumstances
You must let Universal Credit know if:
your condition has got better
your condition has got worse
you have a new health condition
you have any other changes, such as finding a job or moving in with a partner
If you don’t tell Universal Credit about these changes straight away you could be paid more or less money than you should. You may have to pay back any money you are overpaid.
You can report a change of circumstances by either:
signing in to your Universal Credit account if you have one
calling the Universal Credit helpline if you do not have an online account
14.1 Universal Credit live service helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Welsh language (make a claim): 0800 012 1888
Welsh language (report changes): 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
15. Working and Universal Credit
If you start work or are already in employment your Universal Credit payment will reduce gradually as your earn more. For every £1 you earn your payment will reduce by 63p.
If you have a health condition or disability that affects your ability to work, you can earn a certain amount before your Universal Credit is reduced. This is called a work allowance.
You may undertake voluntary work to develop skills and gain experience, particularly if you have been unemployed for some time and are looking to build confidence and your CV at the same time.
You must tell your work coach if you are volunteering or are planning to volunteer.
15.1 Changes in your work place
You may be able to get help from Access to Work if the help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments.
An Access to Work grant can pay for:
special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
help getting to and from work
16. Help with prescriptions and health care costs
If you receive Universal Credit you may be entitled to free prescriptions and other health care costs, such as dental care and sight tests.
You’re only entitled if your earnings during your last assessment period were:
£435 or less
£935 or less if your Universal Credit includes a payment for a child or limited capability for work
The last assessment period means the assessment period that ended immediately before the date you claim free prescriptions or health care costs.
If you claim Universal Credit as a couple, the earnings limit applies to the joint income of you and your partner. Your earnings are shown on your statement as ‘Your total take-home pay for this period’.
If neither you nor your partner work then your earnings will be £0.00.
If you’re entitled to free prescriptions through Universal Credit, you must tick the income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance box on the back of your prescription.
A tick box for Universal Credit will be added to the form soon.
17. Other financial support
If you receive Universal Credit you may also be able to get:
Disabled Facilities Grants if you are disabled and need to make changes to your home, for example widening doors or installing ramps
Healthy Start vouchers if you’re pregnant or have a child under 4 years old
Find out about other help you can get.
18. Other benefits you can claim
Use a benefits calculator to find out what other benefits you could get, for example Personal Independence Payment if you’re disabled or new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
19. New style Employment and Support Allowance
You may be able to claim new style ESA if you have a fit note, have worked and paid or been credited with enough National Insurance Contributions.
New style ESA can be claimed instead of, or as well as, Universal Credit depending on your circumstances. If you claim both benefits your new style ESA payment will be deducted from your Universal Credit payment.
Apply for Universal Credit online.