Your dependent childs age
What you are expected to do to find work, or prepare for work as your dependent children get older
There are conditions that usually apply if you are a nominated responsible carer for a child or qualifying young person. Your work-related requirements will be set out on your Claimant Commitment and your adviser will explain these to you.
The work related requirements that apply to you will depend on the age of your youngest child and will change as your child gets older.
Youngest child aged under 1 year of age
- you will not be expected to look for work
- if you are looking for work, or looking to increase your earnings, there will be help and advice available
Youngest child aged 1
- you will not be expected to look for work but you will be expected to plan for your return to work, for example take part in work focused interviews
Youngest child aged 2
- you will be expected to take active steps to prepare for work for example take part in regular interviews to talk about your plans for returning to work or increasing your earnings
Youngest child aged 3 or 4
- you will be expected to work a maximum of 16 hours a week (or spend 16 hours a week looking for work)
Youngest child aged between 5 and 12 years of age
- you will be expected to work a maximum of 25 hours a week (or spend 25 hours a week looking for work)
- the type of work you look for and the amount of time spent looking for work can fit around your child's normal school hours, including the time it takes to take your child to and from school
The cost and availability of childcare is also considered when looking at the work you can do.
Youngest child aged 13 or over
- you will normally be expected to look for, and be available for, full time work (35 hours a week)
- if agreed by your adviser, your hours of availability and work related requirements may be adjusted to take into account your caring responsibilities
- you will usually be expected to look for any suitable work which pays at least the relevant national minimum wage
- you are expected to look for any work that is within 90 minutes of your home
If you are part of a couple, only one adult can be named as the responsible carer for all dependent children and qualifying young persons in your Universal Credit claim.
If you are the responsible foster parent of a child aged between 1 and 16 (or a Qualifying Young Person where the young person has exceptional needs) you will be expected to take part in interviews to talk about your plans for returning to work when circumstances allow.
If you are a parent of a child who has caring responsibilities but are not the named responsible carer of your child your work related requirements may be adjusted to take into account your caring responsibilities. These will be set out on your Claimant Commitment and your adviser will explain these to you.
Changing the responsible carer
You can only change the responsible carer once in any 12 month rolling period starting from the date that the latest change happened. A decision maker can consider changing this more than once in some circumstances.
You must contact Universal Credit if you want to change the responsible carer.