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How will Universal Credit affect my Income Support?

Universal Credit is replacing Income Support. We explain what this means for you, how Universal Credit will affect your Income Support and the differences between the two benefits.

Your current situation will determine how Universal Credit will affect your Income Support benefit. If you experience a significant change in circumstances - such as working more hours or finishing full-time education - you will be asked to move from Income Support to Universal Credit.

If you are making a new claim, you can no longer claim Income Support and will have to claim Universal Credit.

How your circumstances can lead to you moving from Income Support to Universal Credit

If you live in an area where Universal Credit has been rolled out, and you've had a change in your circumstances, then you will be made to claim Universal Credit.

A change in circumstances which could see you migrated from Income Support to Universal Credit are:

  • Stopping full-time education.
  • Stopping being a full-time carer.
  • Start working enough hours to meet the Working Tax Credit conditions of 16 hours.
  • Rent a new property in a new local authority.
  • You're a lone parent, and your youngest child turns five.

Once the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has finished the natural migration of people on legacy benefits it will then move people who are already on benefits but have not had a change in circumstances on to Universal Credit - this is called managed migration.

If you haven't had a change in circumstances, you will be able to claim Transitional Protection. Universal Credit transitional protection is a top-up award which ensures you are not financially worse off when you claim Universal Credit.

What are the differences between Income Support and Universal Credit?

The main difference between claiming Income Support and Universal Credit is that you won't be limited to working a maximum of 16 hours a week. This may allow you to increase the amount you work, and still receive Universal Credit - find out how to work out how much Universal Credit you can claim.

If you have a child when you move from Income Support to Universal Credit, you will need to prepare for work actively, seek employment and then return to work with the support from Jobcentre Plus. These rules differ as your child gets older:

Child's age Work requirement
Under one You will not need to work.
Between one and two You will need to attend interviews with a work coach to discuss plans for a return to work in the future.
Between three and four You will need to work a maximum of 16 hours a week - or use this time to apply for jobs - this might include training or interviews.
Between five and 12 You will need to work or apply for jobs that suit your needs – for example, paid work during school hours.
13 or above You will need to work full-time or apply for full-time jobs.

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