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. If work has been reduced by Coronavirus see our Coronavirus pages for more information.

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.

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.

  • ‘Pass’ the Severe Disability Premium Gateway Condition.
    See Severe Disability Premium Gateway for more information.

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

The Severe Disability Premium Gateway

You can’t claim Universal Credit if you:

  • Get the Severe Disability Premium included in an award of Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Housing Benefit or were getting it in one of these benefits within with in the last month, and
  • Are still entitled to it.

See Severe Disability Premium Gateway 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’ and are getting Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or
    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 National

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 have not already applied for ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme, then go online and find out more about this scheme. If successful the EU Settlement Scheme allows you to get the immigration status you need to continue to live and work in the UK after 31st December 2020 and to claim Universal Credit.