Can I claim?

TIP: Universal Credit is not just for people who have lost their job – it’s also for those who work but need extra help. Many workers don’t claim it when they are entitled. You can use an online benefit calculator to find out whether you’re entitled or not.

Can I claim Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is replacing the following ‘legacy’ benefits:

  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance,
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance,
  • Income Support,
  • Tax Credits, and
  • Housing Benefit.

If you’re already claiming these benefits, you don’t need to do anything just now – unless you have certain changes in your circumstances or you’ve received a ‘managed migration’ notice.

You may be better off on Universal Credit – but seek advice before applying as there is a lot to think about.
See Lots to think about for more information.

Some people who can’t claim any of the benefits Universal Credit is replacing may be able to claim Universal Credit.

If you are struggling financially it is worth speaking to a Benefits Adviser.

Eligibility rules

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • You’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17).

  • You’re under State Pension age (or your partner is).

  • You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you.
    See How savings affect an award for more information.

  • You live in the UK.

  • You are not excluded from claiming eg some students, some people from abroad.

If you live with your partner

Your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account when the DWP assess your entitlement. You each make a separate claim for Universal Credit that get put together to form a joint claim.
See Claiming as a couple for more information.

If you’re in a couple and one of you is State Pension age then you are a mixed age couple. You and your partner can claim Universal Credit as a couple but you may have other options.
See Mixed age couples for more information.

If you’re a student

Only certain students can make a claim for Universal Credit – this includes those who:

  • Have a partner who is not a student, or
  • Have dependent children, or
  • Have been found to have a been found to have a ‘Limited Capability for Work’ before starting their course and are getting Personal Independence Payment (PIP) / Adult Disability Payment (ADP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA) / Child Disability Payment (CDP).
    For more about having a Limited Capability for Work – click here.
  • Are in further education, are 21 or under and do not have parental support, for example you’re estranged from your parents and you’re not under local authority care.

This is not a full list – please seek advice.

If you are not a British Citizen

Special rules apply to people from abroad – these rules are complex and you should seek advice about whether you are able to claim Universal Credit or not.

If you have made a claim for Universal Credit and been refused because you do not pass the ‘Habitual Residence Test’, then seek advice – it may be more to do with providing the evidence the DWP need.

If you are an EEA National and you were living in the UK before 31st December 2021 (or have come to the UK to join an EEA National who was living in the UK before 31st December 2021) – you should have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme. If you have not already applied, then go online and find out more about this scheme. If successful, the EU Settlement Scheme allows you to get the status you need to continue to live, work and claim benefits in the UK. If you can show you’ve lived in the UK for five years or more, you should get Settled Status which will mean you can claim Universal Credit. If you haven’t lived in the UK for five years, or haven’t provided enough evidence of this, you will be given Pre-Settled Status which means you also need to show you have a ‘Right to Reside’ in order to claim Universal Credit: seek advice.