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Health and disability

If you have a health condition or disability, you may be able to receive extra support from Universal Credit (UC). This extra support could come in the form of extra financial entitlement or by tailoring your claimant commitment.

This support is not a substitute to any disability benefits. DLA, PIP and AA still exist as disability benefits and can be claimed alongside UC. Being entitled to a disability benefit does not automatically entitle you to the extra support (unless you are a pensioner).

This page covers:

 

Limited capability for work (LCW) and Limited capability for work and work related activity (LCWRA)

Depending on your circumstances and how your condition affects you, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) may decide you fall into one of two categories.

  • LCWRA (limited capability for work and related activity):

    • You will be placed in the 'no work group' as part of your commitments. This means you will not be asked to look for work or prepare for work.

    • If you choose to work, you will be eligible for a work allowance.

    • If you have a partner who works and you pay childcare costs, you will be eligible for the childcare element.

    • You will be eligible for LCWRA element (see note below).

    • You will be exempt from the benefit cap.

  • LCW (limited capability for work):

    • You will be placed in 'work prep group' as part of your commitments (unless your other circumstances place you in a lower group). Any activities you are asked to do should take account of your other circumstances and any restrictions based on your health. You cannot be mandated to work search or apply for work.

    • If you choose to work, you will be eligible for a work allowance.

    • If you have a partner who works and you pay childcare costs, you will be eligible for the childcare element.

    • You will only be eligible for the LCW element if you were awarded limited capability for work prior to 3/4/17 (see note below). There is no extra entitlement for people awarded after this date.

 

NOTE: 

  • One person eligible for carer's and LCW or LCWRA element - One person cannot have payment for both carer's element and LCW or LCWRA element included. UC would include have the highest paying element in your entitlement.

  • Joint claimants with LCW or LCWRA - Both people on a claim can be awarded LCW or LCWRA but only one person can have payment included. They will included the highest paying element in your entitlement.

You can read more information on this.

ESA claimants

If you are making a claim for Universal Credit and have been previously assessed by Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), have a determined award and there are no gaps between your claims, ESA transition will apply. You will have LCW/LCWRA applied from the start of your claim without a waiting period.

Support group (SG) transitions to LCWRA. The work-related activity group (WRAG) transitions to LCW.

You should not need to take part in an additional assessment or review because you have claimed UC, although DWP do have the right to reassess you whenever they decide.

When you claim UC you should not submit fit notes and ensure that staff are aware ESA transition applies to you. ESA will send UC details of your determined award during your first assessment period.

 

Pension age with disability benefit

Pension age claimants can only claim UC if they have a working age partner. This is often referred to as mixed aged couple.

If you are pension age and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at highest rate care, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at enhanced daily living or any rate of Attendance Allowance (AA), you will be awarded LCWRA without the need for work capability assessment.
 

If you are pension age and in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at any other rate or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at any other rate, you will be awarded LCWRA without the need for work capability assessment.

You should ensure that UC are aware of your DLA, PIP or AA award.

If you are eligible for LCWRA, this can include additional element after three month waiting period has been served, meaning your award could increase from fourth payment. As LCW carries no extra money if awarded from 3/4/17 or after, most pension age claimants will only benefit from LCW if they claimed ESA or Incapacity Benefit prior to UC.

 

Terminally ill

if you have been issued with a DS1500 by a GP or specialist as you are considered terminally ill and your death could be ‘reasonably expected’ within the next six months, you will be awarded LCRWA from start of your claim and not need to serve the 3 month waiting period.

If you think you may fall into the category of terminally ill and your death could be 'reasonably expected' within the next six months and you have not been issued with a DS1500, you should speak to your GP or specialist.

 

 

If you are not an ESA claimant , terminally ill or pension age with disability

In order for UC to assess your eligibility for LCW or LCWRA, you will need to declare you have a health condition or disability to UC and provide fit notes from your GP or specialist. This will trigger a work capability referral and you may be asked to attend an assessment. More information on work capability assessment.

SDP and Universal Credit
Severe disability premium (SDP) is an extra premium included in legacy benefits (income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support and Housing Benefit). Having SDP does not automatically entitle you to LCW or LCWRA.

There are three groups on Universal Credit who may have the SDP element included in their claim

  • Those who moved to Universal Credit before the SDP gateway

  • Those who moved to Universal Credit when the SDP gateway should have prevented them

  • Those who moved to Universal Credit after the SDP gateway ended

With the new rules introduced on the 27th January 2021 rules, who could be eligible for SDP element changed, but anyone who was already claiming Universal Credit with SDP element would remain entitled.

From the 27th January 2021, the SDP element can be included for those who satisfy both of the following:

  • have been entitled (or been part of a couple where one member was entitled) to an award of Income Support (IS), Income-based JSA (IBJSA) or Income-related ESA (IRESA) that included SDP within the month before they became entitled to UC (this does not include housing benefit)

  • continue to meet the eligibility conditions for SDP at the time of their UC claim.

You can read more information on SDP element.