What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit that will be paid monthly and it will replace all of the following benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
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 can get UC if you are over Pension Credit age and your partner is below Pension Credit age. In this case you can choose whether to apply for UC or Pension Credit. But most couples that can claim Pension Credit are better off on Pension Credit than Universal Credit instead.
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,
- 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: 0845 600 0723
Textphone: 0845 600 0743
- What is Universal Credit?
- How much can I get?
- Working or studying
- What if I care for someone or have children?
- What about my housing costs?
- Income, savings and property
- Will the benefit cap affect me?
- Universal Credit payments
- The claimant commitment
- Appeal a decision
- When to claim
- Next steps