Health conditions, disability and Universal Credit

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 or out of work.

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

Find out if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.

If you have a health condition or disability

You might get an extra amount of Universal Credit if you have a health condition or disability that prevents you from working or preparing for work.

Your monthly payment is based on your circumstances, for example your health condition or disability, income and housing costs.

If you made a new Universal Credit claim on or after 3 April 2017 and have limited capability for work, you won’t get the extra amount.

Terminal illness

If you’re terminally ill, you may get extra money for Universal Credit.

If you’re making a new claim, you can declare this during your application. If you’ve already made a claim, you’ll need to report this as a change of circumstances.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll find out if you need to have a Work Capability Assessment.

Work Capability Assessment

After you apply for Universal Credit, you need to complete the Universal Credit capability for work questionnaire UC50. You’ll be sent a paper copy of the form with your appointment letter or you can fill it in online and print it.

Fill in the form and send it to the Health Assessment Advisory Service. The address will be on your appointment letter.

You’ll then have a Work Capability Assessment. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work.

Based on the outcome of the assessment, you’ll be placed in one of 3 groups:

  • fit for work
  • limited capability for work - you can’t work now, but you can prepare to work in the future, for example by writing a CV
  • limited capability for work and work related activity - you can’t work now and you’re not expected to prepare for work in the future

How the assessment affects your claim

If you’re fit for work, you’ll need to agree to look for work that is suitable for your health condition, and be prepared to work.

If you have limited capability for work, your work coach will discuss your situation and agree steps to help you start preparing for work.

You’ll get extra money if you have limited capability for work and work related activity. You don’t need to look for work or prepare for work.

Your responsibilities

You’ll need to agree to do certain things to keep getting Universal Credit. This is known as your ‘Claimant Commitment’.

Your commitment is based on your situation and may be affected by the outcome of your Work Capability Assessment.

Changes to your circumstances

You must report any change in circumstances straight away, including:

  • changes to your condition, for example it gets better or worse
  • a new health condition
  • any other changes, such as finding a job or moving in with a partner

How starting work affects your claim

You may still get Universal Credit if your condition changes and you can start working again.

Your payment won’t change until you earn over a certain amount.

Speak to your work coach or use a benefits calculator to find out how starting work could affect your Universal Credit payment.

Other support you can get

If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you may also get help with housing costs and childcare costs.

Use a benefits calculator to find out what other benefits you can claim at the same time, for example Personal Independence Payment.

You might also get other financial support, for example free prescriptions.