Universal Credit

Universal Credit logo

Universal Credit is being introduced across the country. It will make a big difference to the way you claim and receive benefits.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new type of benefit for people who are looking for work or who are on a low income. It is being introduced in stages and replaces several existing benefits.

 

Does it affect me?

Universal Credit will affect you if you are of working age (currently set at 18 to 60 years 6 months) and are  claiming, or want to claim, any of the following benefits:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

You will not be affected if you can claim State Pension Credit (currently if you are aged 60 years and 6 months).

To find out when you could be affected, please visit the gov.uk website or contact your local Jobcentre Plus

But even if you are not affected yet, there are things you need to do to prepare. Check out our Universal Credit - Get ready section now.

How is Universal Credit different?

When you claim or are transferred onto Universal Credit:

  • you will have to make your claim, and eventually manage your payments and updates, online
  • you will receive just one single monthly payment paid into a bank account. (If you and your partner are both eligible, you will get one joint payment.)
  • any assistance with your rent will be included in your monthly payment, not paid direct to us. You will be responsible for paying your rent yourself.
  • you will have to agree to a Claimant Commitment which includes tasks, depending on your individual circumstances, to help you find work or increase your income.
  • you will need to contact your local council and make a separate claim for Council Tax Support to help you pay your council tax bill, as this is not included in Universal Credit

Will it affect my income?

You can use the benefit calculator on the GOV.UK website to find out all your entitlements, including Universal Credit.

Under Universal Credit, you will always be better off in work. There are no limits to how many hours a week you can work, instead the amount you get will gradually reduce as you earn more.

What do I need to do?

If you’re already claiming benefits, you should carry on claiming as usual. You’ll be told when you need to do anything differently.

If you are making a new claim, then use the GOV.UK benefits calculator to find out what you are entitled to and how to claim.

If you are eligible to claim Universal Credit you must do so immediately. Any delay in making a claim could mean that you lose the benefits you are entitled to

 

PDF Universal Credit frequently asked questions, 175 k Download