Universal Credit (UC) is a new means tested benefit being phased in by the Government which will replace six existing benefits with a single payment. You may be able to claim UC instead of certain benefits if you’re on a low income or out of work.

UC is being introduced in stages and whether you can claim depends on your personal circumstances. If you’re already claiming any benefits you’ll be told when Universal Credit will affect you. 

What does Universal Credit replace?

UC replaces the following six benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Only one claim form needs to be completed and you can make a claim on-line.

Eligibility

You may be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or out of work. You can find out if you’re eligible by using the Citizens Advice eligibility checker or one of the Benefits calculators on the the GOV.UK website.

16 and 17 year olds

16 and 17 year olds can get Universal Credit if:

  • they have limited capability for work (LCW) or you have medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
  • they are caring for a severely disabled person
  • they have responsible for a child
  • they are in a couple with responsibility for at least one child and their partner is eligible for UC
  • they are pregnant and it’s 11 weeks or less before the expected week of childbirth
  • they had a child in the last 15 weeks
  • they are without parental support (without parents, estranged from parents or living away from parents who are unable to give financial support)

Students in training or full-time education

Some students will be able to claim Universal Credit if they are:

  • aged 21 or under, undertaking non-advanced education and are without parental support
  • disabled, entitled to a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment and have limited capability for work
  • responsible for a child or qualifying young person
  • a member of a couple who are both students and either is responsible for a child or qualifying young person
  • live with a partner who is eligible for UC

All claimants must agree a 'Claimant Commitment' which will detail what you need to do if you want to get UC, for example, how much job hunting you need to do each week and how you can evidence this.

Payments will be made calendar monthly and you'll need a bank or building society account to receive payments.

If you have any questions or your circumstances change and you’re already getting Universal Credit call the Universal Credit helpline on Telephone 0345 600 0723.

For information vist the GOV.UK website.