Universal Credit (UC) is a means tested benefit which replaces six existing benefits with a single payment. You may be able to claim UC if you’re on a low income or out of work.

Universal Credit is a payment you may be able to claim to help with your living costs if you’re on a low income or out of work. Whether you can claim Universal Credit depends on where you live and your circumstances. 

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) and not under local authority care

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

How to make a claim

You need to apply for UC on-line. If you and your partner live together you have to apply as a couple, whether you're married or not.

After you apply, you must contact your local Jobcentre Plus within seven days to make an appointment with a work coach. You will not get UC if you do not attend the appointment.

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 monthly and you'll need a bank or building society account to receive payments.

If you have any questions or your circumstances change, call the UC helpline on Telephone 0800 328 5644 (Textphone 0800 328 1344) between 8am-6pm Monday-Friday.

If you have a disability or illness that affects your work, you may need to take a Work Capability Assessment to see how your condition affects your ability to work. Depending on the outcome of your assessment you may be eligible for an extra amount on top of your standard allowance.

For information vist the GOV.UK website.