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Two child cap

Due to the two child cap you will not receive a child element for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6th April 2017 unless an exception applies. 

 

You will receive child element for a third or subsequent child if they fall under one of the following categories:

Born before 6th April 2017

You will receive child element for all children born before 6th April 2017, even if this takes you over the two child cap. 

Multiple births

The multiple birth exception recognises that families do not plan for a multiple birth, which will present additional burdens and expense. While a family may choose to have one additional child, and bear the cost of that child, they do not generally choose to have a multiple birth.

Where the first child of the multiple birth is either the first or second child in the household, an amount will be included for all the children born as part of the multiple birth.

If you already have two children on your claim and you have a further birth which is a multiple, you will have child element included for all but one of the new children.

NOTE: This exception cannot be applied to adopted children.

Examples

If your Universal Credit claim has two individual children and you then have twins, an additional child amount of Universal Credit for one child in the multiple birth will be included (meaning that in total you will be entitled to an amount for three out of your four children).

If your Universal Credit claim has two children and you then have triplets, an additional child amount of Universal Credit for two of the children in that multiple birth will be included (meaning that in total you will be entitled to an amount for four out of your five children).

If your Universal Credit claim already has twins and you then have an individual child, this will not fall under an exception as the twins were already included as payment and the individual child was “expected” as a result of pregnancy.

If Universal Credit is not including an amount for a child that falls under this exception, you should inform them that the child was part of a multiple birth and if necessary ask for it to be referred to a Decision Maker. The birth certificates should be sufficient evidence of multiple birth.

See here for more examples

 

Adopted children

Your Universal Credit claim can include child element amount for any child or children if they are adopted from local authority care. The exception will usually apply from the date you become responsible for the adopted child. This could be the date of formal adoption or the date of placement, depending on when parental responsibility for the child passes to you.

 

You will need to report any changes as soon as possible and provide Universal Credit with supporting documents for any adopted child or children who live with you.

 

The adoption exception will not apply:

  • to adoptions from abroad - an overseas or ‘convention’ adoption

  • where, immediately prior to that adoption, you or your partner was a parent or step-parent of the adopted child.

If you are in the process of adopting a child and an adoption certificate is not available, you will need to provide supporting documents from a registered social worker. This must include the:

  • date the child was placed with you

  • name of the child

  • your name as the adoptive parent, and your partner if applicable

 

Since 28th November 2018, policy was updated to allow claimants to receive child element amount for a child adopted from Local Authority care and any child under this exception will not count towards the two child cap.

 

Example

You are already in receipt of Universal Credit for two children – one natural and one adopted. You have a third child (natural) born after 6th April 2017.  You will be paid for all three children because the adoption exemption applies.

See here for more examples. 

Formal caring arrangement such as a child arrangement order or special guardianship (or was in such an arrangement until their 16th birthday and has continued to live with you)

Your Universal Credit claim can include child element amount for any child or children if you care for them under a formal caring arrangement, for example:

  • a Child Arrangements Order

  • a Guardianship Order

  • a Special Guardianship Order

  • you’re appointed as a Guardian (in Scotland)

  • a Kinship Care Order (in Scotland)

  • a Permanence Order (in Scotland)

 

The exception also applies if one of these formal arrangements was in place but ended on the child’s 16th birthday, as long as you have continued to be responsible for them since. You will be need to provide supporting documents for this exception to be applied.

 

The formal care arrangement exception will not apply where, immediately prior to that adoption, you or your partner was a parent or step-parent of the adopted child

 

Since 28th November 2018, policy was updated to allow claimants to receive child element amount for a child part of a non-parental caring arrangement and any child under this exception will not count towards the two child cap.

 

An additional amount is not payable for a foster child, because foster children are 'looked after' by the local authority. You should speak to the local authority about additional costs of the child.

See here for an example.

 

Friend or family carers: informal caring (if it is likely that the child would otherwise be looked after by a local authority)

This exception will only apply if it is likely that the child would otherwise be looked after by a local authority (different rules apply if a child is looked after by a local authority). There does not have to have been any formal action to indicate this, but a registered social worker will need to confirm that in their professional judgement the child might otherwise have been looked after by a local authority.

 

The IC1 form is required to request this exception. This will need to be signed by yourself and a registered social worker. 

 

The informal care arrangement exception will not apply where, immediately prior to that adoption, you or your partner was a parent or step-parent of the adopted child

 

Since 28th November 2018, policy was updated to allow claimants to receive child element amount for a child part of an informal caring arrangement and any child under this exception will not count towards the two child cap.

See here for an example.

 

 

Friend or family carers: under 16s who have a child

This exception applies if a child you are responsible for, who is under 16, becomes a parent themselves.

 

You will be eligible to add this new child to your claim if they are part of your household. This exception will remain in place until the young parent turns 16 and is able to claim Universal Credit on their own.

 

The exception will cease to apply if your child leaves the household, leaving their own child in the care of you.

 

If the young parent turns 16 or leaves the household and you have main responsibility to their child, you can have their child as part of your claim. 

If you require an exception to the two child cap you should check to see if you meet the criteria for formal caring arrangement, or friend or family carers: informal caring (if it is likely that the child would otherwise be looked after by a local authority). You should discuss this with Universal Credit and provide any relevant evidence. 

 

Since 28th November 2018, policy was updated to allow claimants to receive the child element for a child of an under 16 that they are responsible for and that this will not count towards the two child cap.

Children likely to have been conceived as a result of a non-consensual sexual act (including rape), or at a time when the claimant was subject to ongoing control or coercion by the other biological parent of the child

When applying for this exception you will not be placed in the position of having to give details about the circumstances of the conception to DWP officials and the eligibility criteria for the exception can be met without reporting it to the Police, a conviction or any judicial finding.

 

DWP states, “We recognise that the handling of this exception is extremely sensitive. However, it is very important to have this exception in place to support claimants in these circumstances. Care has been taken in delivery of this exception to strike the right balance between ensuring claimants get the support they need in a not overly intrusive manner, whilst at the same time providing the right assurance to Government that the additional support is going to those for whom it is intended. DWP staff will not question the claimant about the incident other than to take the claim and receive the supporting documents. Any data or information received will be handled in accordance with the documents that DWP already use for holding and using sensitive data.”

 

This exception will apply to third or subsequent children in a household, born on or after 6th April 2017, who are likely to have been conceived as a result of a sexual act to which you did not or could not consent to.

 

This means that it will apply to you in respect of a child who is likely to have been born as a result of non-consensual conception or conceived around a time if you were subject to ongoing control or coercion by the other parent of the child.

 

In order to apply for this exception (for a third or subsequent child) you must not be living with the other biological parent of the child. You will be asked to confirm this.

 

You can apply for this exception by:

  • completing the “support for a child conceived without your consent” form and having a third-party professional to fill in part of it (see note 1), or

  • providing evidence of a conviction for rape or controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship, where this relates to the non-consensual conception of the child, or

  • providing evidence of an award made under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in respect of a relevant sexual offence, physical abuse or mental injury, where this relates to the conception of the child.

 

Note 1: The third party professional will need to confirm to DWP that you have been in contact with their organisation/service (or another approved professional) and that your circumstances as presented are consistent with those of a person who meets the conditions of the exception. They do not need to have known you during or immediately after the events. The form is very simple and you should not be asked to provide evidence to the third-party professional who is completing the form.
 

The following are approved third-party professionals:

  • a healthcare professional in a Sexual Assault Referral Centre

  • other healthcare professionals, such as a doctor, midwife, nurse or health visitor

  • a registered social worker

  • a specialist support worker from one of the approved organisations listed here.

 

You should provide the evidence to Jobcentre work coach or by contacting Universal Credit through your online account and asking how to submit the evidence.  This will then be passed to a Decision Maker who will decide what date this exception will apply from. If the Decision Maker does not backdate this to the earliest date it can apply for, then you should ask for this to be looked at again stating your good reason for late reporting.