Health conditions, disability and 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 will not get the extra amount. 

You may also be eligible for ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (external link)

Terminal illness 

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

If you are making a new claim, you can declare this during your application. If you have already made a claim, you will need to report this as a change of circumstances (external link)

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

Work Capability Assessment  

After you apply for Universal Credit (external link), you need to complete the Universal Credit capability for work questionnaire UC50 (external link). You will 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 will 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 will be placed in one of three groups: 

  • fit for work 

  • limited capability for work - you cannot 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 cannot work now and you are not expected to prepare for work in the future 

How the assessment affects your claim  

If you are fit for work, you will 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 will get extra money (external link) if you have limited capability for work and work related activity. You do not need to look for work or prepare for work. 

Your responsibilities

You will need to agree to do certain things to keep getting Universal Credit. This is known as your ‘Claimant Commitment (external link)’. 

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 (external link) 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 will not change until you earn over a certain amount (external link)

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 are claiming Universal Credit, you may also get help with housing costs (external link) and childcare costs. 

Use a benefits calculator (external link) 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 (external link), for example free prescriptions.