What is Universal Credit?

It’s a benefit for working age people that replaces a number of other benefits and tax credits. It’s a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. The idea is to make it easier to move into and out of work because you don’t need to transfer to a different benefit as your situation changes.

Will it affect me?

Universal Credit will affect you if you are of working age (currently set at 18 - 60 years and 6 months) and are currently claiming, or want to claim, any of the following benefits:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit.

When could it affect me?

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. It will roll out to new claims from single people, who would otherwise have been eligible for Jobseekers allowance, including those with existing Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit claims. But you’ll be told when you need to do anything differently.

See the list of jobcentre areas where you can claim Universal Credit.

How is it paid to claimants?

In the majority of cases, Universal Credit will be a single, monthly payment which is paid in arrears directly into the claimant’s account.

If you are part of a couple, living in the same household, and both of you are claiming Universal Credit you will receive one monthly payment.

Universal Credit will include housing costs, which means that you will be responsible for paying your rent directly to us as your landlord.

How to get ready for Universal Credit

Even if you’re not likely to be affected straight away, there are things you can do now to make sure you’re prepared for Universal Credit.

  • Make sure you have a bank, building society or credit union account that Universal Credit can be paid into, and from which you can pay rent and other bills by Direct Debit
  • Get online - you will have to make your Universal Credit claim and manage your account online
  • Draw up and work to a monthly budget. The Government’s Money Advice Service has a useful tool: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/budget-planner
For more information about Universal Credit.