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Last updated:
14/02/2020

What is Universal Credit?

  1. Overview
  2. What is Universal Credit?
  3. How much can I get?
  4. What if I am working or studying?
  5. What if I care for someone or have children?
  6. What about my housing costs?
  7. How will income, savings and property affect my Universal Credit?
  8. Will the benefit cap affect me?
  9. How will I get my Universal Credit payments?
  10. What is the claimant commitment?
  11. Can I appeal if I disagree with a decision?
  12. When will I have to claim Universal Credit?
  13. Next steps

Universal Credit (UC) is a benefit that is paid monthly and it will replace all of the following benefits:

You can receive UC if you have little or no income and a small amount of savings and capital, and is being introduced across the country. 

Basic conditions of entitlement

There are five conditions you need to meet to get UC, explained below:

Be an adult of working age

You usually need to be 18 or over and below Pension Credit age to get UC. Sometimes you can claim UC if you are aged 16 or 17, but you need to speak to a welfare adviser if you want to find out more.

You have to claim Universal Credit if both you and/or partner are over Pension Credit age and are not already in receipt of Pension Credit.

Your Pension Credit age depends on when you were born. You can check what your pension credit age is by using this online calculator.

Be habitually resident in the UK

This means you must have the right to live in the UK and plan to stay. If your partner does not meet these rules, you will get a lower rate of UC. If you don’t meet these rules but your partner does then they could apply instead for UC instead of you.

Not be in full-time education

Most students cannot claim UC, although there are some students who can claim, for example, if you have a child or a disability. You need to speak to a welfare adviser if you want to find out more.

Be on a low income and have low savings and capital

UC is a means-tested benefit so this means that any savings, capital and income you have will affect how much you will get paid.

You will only get UC if you have a small amount of savings and capital, and have a low income or no income at all. You can find out more about this in the ‘How will income, savings and property affect my Universal Credit?’ section.

You cannot get UC if you are a:

  • Member of a religious order,
  • Prisoner,
  • Person serving a prison sentence in a psychiatrist hospital on a section 45A or 47 of the Mental Health Act 1983. However, if you are still detained in hospital when your prison sentence ends, you may be able to claim benefits as a hospital patient.

How do I claim?

You will need to claim UC online but if you can’t get online, you might be able to claim by phone. Please note that you cannot claim by post. 

If you need help claiming UC online, call the UC helpline:

Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344

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Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. What is Universal Credit?
  3. How much can I get?
  4. What if I am working or studying?
  5. What if I care for someone or have children?
  6. What about my housing costs?
  7. How will income, savings and property affect my Universal Credit?
  8. Will the benefit cap affect me?
  9. How will I get my Universal Credit payments?
  10. What is the claimant commitment?
  11. Can I appeal if I disagree with a decision?
  12. When will I have to claim Universal Credit?
  13. Next steps
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