Benefits advice for carers

3. Universal Credit carer element

The carer element is an extra monthly amount that the DWP often do not add to your Universal Credit (UC) unless you request it (by following the correct process).


To qualify for the carer element you must spend at least 35 hours per week caring for someone who is in receipt of a relevant disability benefit. These are,

  • Attendance Allowance at either rate,
  • Disability Living Allowance care component at middle or higher rate,
  • Personal Independence Payment daily living at either rate,
  • Constant Attendance Allowance (at least the full day rate) paid with Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes or,
  • Armed forces Personal Independence Payment.

There are two routes to qualifying:

  1. You receive Carers Allowance.
  2. You can inform the UC section that you are a carer, without making a separate claim for Carers Allowance.

How to request the carer element

  • You must report a change of circumstances on your online account.
  • Say that you are caring for someone receiving a relevant disability benefit.
  • Declare who you are caring for and ask for the carer element to be included on your journal. 
  • If the relevant disability benefit has only recently been awarded for a past period, you should ask for arrears of the carer element to cover that period as well.

The DWP do not always include the carer element automatically, even if they hold all the necessary information. You will often have to request that it is included, even if the DWP know you are claiming Carers Allowance (and are deducting the amount you receive from your monthly payment).

DWP have stated:

"… the UC service recognises Carers Allowance as an income but is not currently able to interpret what that means to a claimant’s circumstances. This is why we ask the claimant to declare their caring activity within their Universal Credit account. By ensuring their account holds accurate information, they are also ensuring that they receive the correct amount of allowance and are placed in the correct work group."

Points to consider

  • We would usually advise that you should also claim Carers Allowance. This isn’t strictly necessary but useful for national insurance credits and as protection in case Universal Credit stops for any reason because the Carers Allowance would remain in payment.
  • Claiming the carer element could potentially reduce the benefits of the person receiving the care by removing their Severe Disability Premium if they have one.
  • You cannot have a carer element if you have the Limited Capability for Work Related Activity element.
Page 3 of 7