Tax credits and early years e-bulletin January 2019 | CPAG

Tax credits and early years e-bulletin January 2019

22 January 2019
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The government has relented on one of the most irrational aspects of the two child limit in universal credit. Previously, families with three or more children claiming universal credit (UC) from 1 February 2019 would have only been entitled to a maximum of two child elements, regardless of when they were born. The new Work & Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd, acknowledged this retrospective effect was unfair to families whose children were all born before 6 April 2017, the date the limit was introduced. An amendment was introduced so that in universal credit from 1 February 2019, a child element will be payable for all children born before 6 April 2017, which mirrors the current position for child tax credit.

See The Universal Credit (Restriction on Amounts for Children and Qualifying Young Persons) (Transitional Provisions) Amendment Regulations 2019

However, it may still be important for families with three or more children to claim tax credits before 1 February 2019 in the following cases:

  • capital over £16,000 (there is no capital limit for tax credits but they will not be entitled to UC)
  • disabled children (the disabled child element in CTC is worth more than twice as much as the lower rate of the disabled child element in UC)
  • disabled workers (the disabled worker element in WTC does not have an exact equivalent in UC, but amount depends on other circumstances)

New tax credit claims from families with three or more children can only be made by telephone to the Tax Credits Helpline (0345 300 3900) before 1 February 2019.


New tax credit claims are no longer possible in most cases now that the roll-out of universal credit has been completed. However, from 16 January 2019, new tax credit claims can be made by a specific category of severely disabled claimants who have been getting the old benefits. Universal credit (UC) claims are not currently accepted from people who are entitled (or were entitled within the last month) to a ‘severe disability premium’ in income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance or housing benefit. The severe disability premium is payable to people who meet all the following conditions:

  • are entitled to personal independence payment (PIP) for daily living, or disability living allowance (DLA) at the middle or higher rate for care;
  • live alone (not counting children, other severely disabled persons, and certain other people, e.g. co-tenants, sub-tenants, landlords); and
  • no-one receives carer’s allowance (or the carer element of UC) for looking after them

​In these circumstances, tax credits can still be claimed instead. So for example someone who becomes responsible for a child can claim child tax credit or someone who moves into work of at least 16 hours a week can claim working tax credit.

See The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (SDP Gateway) Amendment Regulations 2019


At the time of writing, it is still possible to make a new claim for tax credits where the claimant, or either one of a couple, is over pension age. However, from 1 February 2019, pension credit will include child amounts, so pensioners responsible for children will be able to claim pension credit instead of child tax credit. It is expected that the rule that allows new tax credit claims from people over pension age will be revoked, but at time of writing this had not been implemented.

People over pension credit age who are already getting child tax credit can continue to get it.

New claims in these circumstances are only possible by telephone to the Tax Credits Helpline (0345 300 3900) or textphone (0345 300 3909).