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.

Universal Credit is replacing the following key benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Related Employment & Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

It is currently being rolled out nationally but there are some restrictions that mean those with more than 2 children cannot claim.  For more information, please visit the Department for Works and Pensions website.

If you would like to see when the Universal Credit Full Service is being introduced at your local Jobcentre, please see the Universal Credit roll out document or for more information or enquiries, contact your local Jobcentre Plus.

Universal Credit is not available for people in receipt of State Pension Credit or who are of pensionable age.  Please use the gov.uk pension calculator to work out what your pensionable age is if you are unsure.

Universal Credit is different to the benefits it is replacing in several ways:

  • 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 single bank account. (If you and your partner are both eligible, you will get one joint payment made to a single bank account)
  • any assistance with your rent (called "housing costs" or "housing element") will be included in your monthly payment and will not be paid direct to your landlord. You will be responsible for paying your rent yourself.  There are some circumstances in which payments can be paid directly to your landlord, please see the Alternative Payments Arrangement section of this website for more information
  • 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.  If you do not know who your Local Council is, you can use the "Find your Local Council" link.

If you are already claiming benefits, you should carry on claiming as usual.  You will be told by the Department for Works and Pensions or the Jobcentre if you need to do anything different.

If you would like to find out more about Universal Credit, or see what you may be entitled to, please visit the Department for Works and Pensions website.