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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
1. If you have a health condition or disability
If you have a health condition or disability which prevents you from working, or limits the amount of work you can do, Universal Credit provides you with a simple system of financial and work related support.
2. Making a claim
Universal Credit provides support for people of working age who are in or out of work. You can claim Universal Credit online. If you cannot easily claim online your local jobcentre will help you.
Read more about how to apply for Universal Credit.
If you are already claiming Universal Credit and your health changes you can stay on Universal Credit but must report your new circumstances.
3. Work Capability Assessments
You may be asked to attend a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to find out if your health condition or disability affects your ability to work. The outcome of your WCA will help a decision maker to decide if you:
- are fit for work
- have limited capability for work – which means that although you may be unable to look for work now, you are able to prepare for work with the aim of working at some time in the future
- have limited capability for work and work related activity - which means you will not be asked to look for work, or to prepare for work.
The WCA assesses what you can do, as well as what you can’t do, on an overall day to day basis rather than just taking a snap-shot of the effects of your condition. It gives you the opportunity to explain if, and how, your condition varies over time.
This allows the decision maker to consider how changes in your condition may affect your ability to go to work, or to prepare for work.
4. Claimant Commitment
The outcome of the WCA will help your work coach to discuss and agree the responsibilities you will have to meet in relation to your award of Universal Credit. You will be required to accept a personal Claimant Commitment that clearly explains these responsibilities.
The responsibilities will range from, for example, updating your skills, to preparing for applications and interviews, to getting ready to move into work - to not having to take any action at all if you have significant limits on your ability to work or to prepare for work.
5. Universal Credit and work
Universal Credit is payable to claimants who are working as well as to those who are out of work or to those who are unable to work.
Universal Credit has been designed to encourage people who are not working, and especially those with health conditions or disabilities, to take their first steps into employment by increasing the incentives to do even just a few hours of work.
As Universal Credit can continue to be paid when working, this means that any worries and risks associated with starting a job are greatly reduced.
You can earn a certain amount before your Universal Credit payment is affected if you are found to have limited capability for work.
This is called a Work Allowance. If you earn more than your Work Allowance, your Universal Credit will reduce gradually as your pay increases.
Universal Credit is paid monthly, directly into the account that you have chosen. Monthly payments match the way most salaries are paid.
This can help you to prepare for moving into the world of work as you get used to handling your money on a monthly basis. If you can work, you will get tailored support to improve your skills and prepare for work.
6. Financial support
If you are found to have limited capability for work and work-related activity you’ll get an extra amount each month added to your Universal Credit payment.
If you made your claim on the grounds of having a health condition or disability on or after 3 April 2017 and are found to have limited capability for work, you won’t get an extra amount of Universal Credit.
If you made your health or disability related claim before 3 April 2017, special provisions may apply.
If you are working and have children you can also get help with childcare costs.
PIP helps with the extra costs of a long-term health condition or disability, and can be claimed whether you’re in work or not.
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.
7. Changes in health conditions
You must let Universal Credit know if:
- your condition has got better
- your condition has got worse
- you have a new health condition
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.
How you report these changes depends on where you are claiming Universal Credit.
7.1 Full service
If you are on the Universal Credit full service you should use your online account to report changes.
7.2 Live service
If you use the Universal Credit live service you can report changes through the Universal Credit live service helpline.
7.3 Universal Credit live service helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
7.4 Universal Credit postal address
Post Handling Site B