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Last updated:
18/12/2017

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?
  13. Next steps

Claiming 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 Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit 

If UC has been rolled out in your area and you need to submit a new claim, you will be asked to claim the UC, instead one of the benefits listed above. If you are already getting one of the above benefits, you will be transferred on to the UC on a later date. The Social Security Agency will let you know when you need to apply. You don’t need to do anything for now. This could be as late as 2022.

Who can claim?

You can receive UC if you have little or no income and a small amount of savings and capital. Universal Credit will be rolled out in Northern Ireland from September 2017.

UC is being introduced in stages across the country so at the moment, whether or not you can claim UC will depend on your situation and on where you live.

UC is being introduced in stages across the country so at the moment, whether or not you can claim UC will depend on your situation and on where you live.

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 their 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.

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. You may be able to get assistance with claiming online in your local Jobs and Benefits Office. Find out how to claim online

Remember to first use the postcode checker to find out if the UC has been rolled out in your area, or use the table at the top of this section to check.

If you need help call Welfare Reform helpline:

Telephone: 0808 802 0020

 

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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?
  13. Next steps
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