Choose to claim Universal Credit

If you’ve not had a change in your circumstances that means you now have to claim Universal Credit, nor received a ‘managed migration notice’ then you don’t have to claim Universal Credit yet.

But there will be some people who:

  • would not have been entitled to any of the ‘legacy benefits’, but who would be entitled to some Universal Credit
  • are getting one or more ‘legacy benefit/s but are better-off on Universal Credit

‘Legacy benefits’ are: Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits.

Not on any benefits

If you are not currently in receipt of any ‘top up’ benefits then it is worth checking to see if you could be entitled to Universal Credit.

For some people, Universal Credit is a more generous system that the ‘legacy benefits’ it is replacing.

So even if you tried for a ‘legacy benefit’ and were refused, you may be entitled to some Universal Credit.

Speak to a Benefits Adviser who are work out whether you would be entitled and can check to see if there is a better time for you to claim.

Example:
Nigel and Linette have two children. Nigel works full time. They tried for Tax Credit a few years ago but were refused. They’d heard about Universal Credit but didn’t think it was for them, but after speaking to a Benefits Adviser they discovered that they will be entitled to around £90 a month. The adviser also explained the best time of the month for them to claim.

Receiving ‘legacy benefits’

If you are receiving one or more of the ‘legacy benefits’ then you need to fully consider your options before choosing to claim Universal Credit.

Some legacy benefit claimants are better off on Universal Credit, however some are worse off.

Always seek advice from a Benefits Adviser, they can work out how much Universal Credit you will be entitled to and will also highlight anything else you need to consider, such as:

  • Whether any future change may mean you’ll be better off staying on the ‘legacy benefit’ system for now
  • Any deductions that will be taken from your Universal Credit meaning you’re actually no better off on Universal Credit
  • And extra rules you (or your partner) will have to meet as a condition of claiming Universal Credit eg searching for work, or the self-employed minimum income floor rule
  • Considering the impact of claiming Universal Credit on any Council Tax Support you currently receive
  • The best time to claim – sometimes delaying a claim can mean a higher award.
  • Making and managing the claim online – having access to an internet enabled device
  • How Universal Credit is paid ie monthly, as one lump sum, into one account
  • If you are working and have fluctuating earnings – it can be more difficult to budget on Universal Credit