Child and disabled child elements

The rules for the child and disabled child elements are set out in the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.


Regulation 24 of SI.No.376/2013

Provides for who a child element and disabled child element can be paid in respect of.

Amounts of elements

Regulation 36 of SI.No.376/2013

Provides for the amount to be paid in respect of each element.

Qualifying young person

Regulation 5 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the definition of a ‘qualifying young person’.

Responsibility for

Regulation 4 of SI.No.376/2013

Provides for the circumstances in which a person is responsible for a child or qualifying young person.

Children looked after by a local authority

Regulation 4A of SI.No.376/2013

Provides for when a person may be responsible for a child looked after by a local authority.

Death of a child

Regulation 37 of SI.No.376/2013

Provides for payment of elements in respect of a child for a period after that child’s death.

In Northern Ireland, SR.No.216/2016 makes provisions that are largely equivalent to that in Great Britain.

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for decision making

Chapter E2

Sets out the definitions of ‘child’ and ‘qualifying young person’, the amounts payable for each of the child and disabled child elements, and when the elements can continue to be paid after the death of a child.

DWP guidance from

Additional amount for children

Provides guidance on additional amounts for children including the two-child limit.

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

Upper Tribunal

[2018] UKUT 44 (AAC)

A child may ‘normally live’ in more than one household for the purposes of universal credit, in which case the ‘main responsibility’ test applies.