Universal Credit is for people of working age, designed to top up your income to a minimum level and help you with your housing costs (rent and some service charges). Universal Credit is for people on a low to moderate income. It does not matter whether you are working or not, or the reason why you are not working.
To be able to claim Universal Credit:
- Be aged 18 or over (some 16 and 17 year olds can claim)
- Be under pension age (or have a partner than is under pension age)
- Have a low enough income
- Have savings below £16,000
Not excluded from claiming – certain People from Abroad, some students and families who get Tax-Free Childcare.
Anyone of working age who meets these conditions can claim UC. But only certain people have to claim – see ‘Do I have to claim?’.
If you are thinking about claiming then seek advice from a benefits adviser.
If you are on one or more of the benefits UC is replacing – there is a lot to consider, such as:
- What you’ll be expected to do in exchange for receiving UC
- What deductions may be taken off your UC
- Taking responsibility for paying your rent yourself, if you are currently having any Housing Benefit paid directly to us
- Needing an email address, mobile phone number and regular access to the internet
- How you’ll manage budgeting your money monthly
- If you are a couple, which account it is paid into
- Some people are worse off on UC
So if you are thinking of claiming please do seek advice straight away from a benefit adviser – you need to make sure that taking all your circumstances into account, you will be better off.
NOTE: Some people not currently entitled to benefits may be able to receive a financial top up from Universal Credit – seek advice from a benefits adviser or use an online benefit calculation tool.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have three children, if I can’t claim UC what can I claim?
If you have 3 or more children you will not be able to make a new claim for Universal Credit before the end of January 2019; instead, you will be told to claim Child Tax Credit and whichever of the following other benefits that would be appropriate for you instead: Housing Benefit; Income Support; Income Related Employment and Support Allowance; Income Based Jobseekers Allowance or Working Tax Credit.
If you are already getting the benefits which are being replaced by Universal Credit and you continue to be entitled to these you may not need to claim Universal Credit until the ‘migration’ stage, sometime between 2019 and 2023.