Two child limit on benefits pushing families with disabled children further into poverty

2 mins read

Monday 13 May 2024

Tags: benefits, Carers Allowance, two-child limit

New research from the End Child Poverty Coalition (ECPC) shows that the government’s current two-child limit on benefits policy is pushing families with disabled children even further into poverty.

The two-child limit policy introduced in 2017, restricts means-tested benefits like universal credit and child tax credits to the first two children in most households. As a result, affected families miss out on benefits worth over £3,000 a year per extra child after the second.

The policy formed part of the government’s drive to reduce welfare spending and its belief that removing eligibility for benefits for a family’s third and subsequent children would encourage parents to move into work, or work more hours. However, the new research from the ECPC reveals that the policy is hitting many parents with at least one disabled child most severely with 20 per cent of all households affected by the two-child limit having at least one disabled child and impacting 87,500 families with a disabled child.

The ECPC says removing the two-child limit on benefits would result in lifting 300,000 children out of poverty overall and mean 800,000 would be in less deep poverty.

Una Summerson, Contact’s head of policy said: “As well as scrapping the two-child limit on benefits there are other changes that would help families with disabled children avoid being pushed further into poverty. For example, scrapping the Carer’s Allowance earnings limit. This would allow carers to earn more without losing their entitlement and avoid the risk of overpayments.  

“We also know that more than100,000 disabled children would be better off by around £2,290 a year if the 50% cut to the lower child disability addition under universal credit was scrapped. This, and other quick fixes to Universal Credit such as making it easier for disabled young people in education to claim, could put more than £200 million back into their pockets.”

If you have a disabled child, or you are on a low-income or not working, you may be entitled to certain benefits and tax credits to help with the extra costs you face. Visit our webpage for more information.

Find out more about our Carer’s Allowance campaign.