The amount you get in Universal Credit will increase for your first two children. But for your third child or further children born after 6 April 2017, the amount you won’t receive any more.
Some exceptions to this apply:
- You have made a Universal Credit claim for three children within the past six months and this is a re-claim
- You are submitting a new claim as a single parent after splitting from your partner less than a month ago
- Your child has a disability, and so you will receive support no matter what
If you don’t fit in to either of these categories you might still be able to claim child tax credits or other benefits.
You will be able to get childcare costs for more than two children, even if you don’t get Universal Credit for them.
Exceptions to the two child rule
Certain exceptions apply to the 2-child rule. These are:
- You had a ‘multiple birth’ which means that you had twins, triplets etc. at once. If you had twins but already had two children, you will only get an increase for one child. But, if you only had one child and then had twins, you will receive the full amount for all 3
- If you adopt a child, you will receive extra Universal Credit, even if you already have two children in your care. This does not apply to children adopted from abroad or previous stepchildren
- You care for children as part of a ‘non-parental caring arrangement’. This can be any form of official care arrangement like a Guardianship Order
- If your child is under 16 and has a child of their own that you are responsible for
- Any child conceived as part of a non-consensual sexual act or an abusive relationship. You will have to show you are no longer living with this partner. They will not ask you to prove the abuse or show a formal conviction
If you feel like one of the above exceptions apply to you, you should contact the government. You can either using your online account or the helpline. You will need relevant documents as proof, like a birth or adoption certificate.
You can post any proof to the Department for Work and Pensions or give it to your work coach. If your child was born in an abusive relationship, do not post the evidence. You should give it to your work coach who will deal with it in a sensitive way.
Send evidence using the following address:
For those with online accounts: Canterbury Benefit Centre, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 2EA.
For those without an online account: Freepost RTEU-LGUJ-SZLG Universal Credit, Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1AJ.
Two child rule changes are being introduced in February 2019
After February 2019, the system will change and you will only be able to claim for two children. It won’t matter when the third was born. (Right now, if a third child was born before a certain date, you can claim for that child).