What is the two-child limit?

A fundamental principle of the social security system is that it responds to need. The two-child limit breaks the link between what families need to support their children and what they get.

Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit provide means-tested support for families in poverty and other low-income families. Until April 2017, this support included up to £2,780 per year for each child.

The two-child limit means that these families will no longer receive Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for any third or subsequent children born after April 2017.

There are some exceptions, including children who are adopted from local authority care and multiple births (like twins). 

The 'rape clause'

The two-child limit ignores the fact that many women do not have a choice over the number of children they have. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence who conceive a child as a result of rape or coercive and controlling behaviour are acutely affected by this policy. Trauma, shame and fear bar many women from claiming the ‘non-consensual conception exception’, and many are not eligible because they remain living with their abuser. Perpetrators are manipulating the policy to financially abuse women and the limit is increasing the major financial barriers that survivors face in escaping to safety.

If you think you might be affected by the two-child limit, you can get more information from these sites: