Universal Credit

GOV.UK
www.gov.uk

What Universal Credit is

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly – or twice a month for some people in Scotland.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.

If you already get other benefits

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

If you currently get any of these benefits, you do not need to do anything unless:

  • you have a change of circumstances you need to report
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit

If you get tax credits, they will stop when you or your partner applies for Universal Credit. Check how tax credits and Universal Credit affect each other.

Severe disability premium

You cannot claim Universal Credit if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • got or were entitled to the severe disability premium in the last month, and you’re still eligible for it

If you have a change of circumstances that affects the severe disability premium or your other benefits, report it and you’ll be told what to do next.

 

Eligibility

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • 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
  • you live in the UK

The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get.

Use a benefits calculator to check what benefits you could get if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit.

If you live with your partner

Your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit.

If you’re 18 or over and in training or studying full-time

You can make a new Universal Credit claim if any of the following apply:

  • you live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re responsible for a child, either as a single person or as a couple
  • you’re disabled and entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and have limited capability for work
  • you’re 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

If you’re 16 or 17

You can make a new Universal Credit claim if any of the following apply:

  • you have limited capability for work or you have medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
  • you’re caring for a severely disabled person
  • you’re responsible for a child
  • you’re in a couple with responsibility for at least one child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re pregnant and it’s 11 weeks or less before your expected week of childbirth
  • you’ve had a child in the last 15 weeks
  • you do not have parental support, for example you’re estranged from your parents and you’re not under local authority care

If you’re studying full-time

You can also make a claim if you’re in full-time further education and any of the following apply:

  • you do not have parental support
  • you have limited capacity for work and you’re entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • you’re responsible for a child
  • you’re in a couple with responsibility for a child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit

If you’re in a couple and one of you is State Pension age

You and your partner can claim Universal Credit as a couple if one of you is under State Pension age and eligible for Universal Credit.

When you both reach State Pension age your Universal Credit claim will stop.

You may be able to apply for Pension Credit or other benefits as a couple when your Universal Credit stops. Ask your Jobcentre Plus work coach what else you could be eligible for.

What you’ll get

Your Universal Credit payment is made up of a standard allowance and any extra amounts that apply to you, for example if you:

  • have children
  • have a disability or health condition which prevents you from working
  • need help paying your rent

Use a benefits calculator to see how much you could get.

How much Universal Credit you get will depend on your earnings.

Your circumstances are assessed every month. Changes in your circumstances can affect how much you’re paid for the whole assessment period – not just from the date you report them.

The benefit cap may limit the total amount of benefit you receive.

Standard allowance

Your circumstances Monthly standard allowance
Single and under 25 £342.72
Single and 25 or over £409.89
In a couple and you’re both under 25 £488.59 (for you both)
In a couple and either of you are 25 or over £594.04 (for you both)

Extra amounts

You may get more money on top of your standard allowance if you’re eligible.

If you have children

If you have 1 or 2 children, you’ll get an extra amount for each child.

If you have 3 or more children, you’ll get an extra amount for at least 2 children. You can only get an extra amount for more children if any of the following are true:

  • your children were born before 6 April 2017
  • you were already claiming for 3 or more children before 6 April 2017
  • other exceptions apply

You’ll get an extra amount for any disabled or severely disabled child – no matter how many children you have or when they were born.

How much you’ll get Extra monthly amount
For your first child £281.25 (born before 6 April 2017)
£235.83 (born on or after 6 April 2017)
For your second child and any other eligible children £235.83 per child
If you have a disabled or severely disabled child £128.25 or £400.29
If you need help with childcare costs up to 85% of your costs (up to £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for 2 or more children)

You might get the extra amount if you start caring for another child, depending on when they were born and how many children you have.

If you have a disability or health condition

How much you’ll get Extra monthly amount
If you have limited capability for work and work-related activity £341.92
If you have limited capability for work and you started your health-related Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claim before 3 April 2017 £128.25

If you care for a severely disabled person

How much you’ll get Extra monthly amount
If you provide care for at least 35 hours a week for a severely disabled person who receives a disability-related benefit £162.92

This is on top of any extra amount you get if you have a disabled child.

Housing costs

You could get money to help pay your housing costs. How much you get depends on your age and circumstances.

The payment can cover rent and some service charges.

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get a loan to help with interest payments on your mortgage or other loans you’ve taken out for your home.

Other support you could get

If you receive Universal Credit you may also be able to get other financial support depending on your circumstances.

Contact Universal Credit

You can contact Universal Credit:

  • through your online account
  • by calling the Universal Credit helpline

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users – check you can use this service
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If your query is about claiming ‘new style’ benefits with Universal Credit

You could get ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) at the same time or instead of Universal Credit.

Apply for ‘new style’ ESA

You can apply for ‘new style’ ESA online or contact the Universal Credit helpline.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644 (choose option 2, then option 3)
Textphone: 0800 328 1344 (choose option 2, then option 3)
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users – check you can use this service
Welsh language telephone: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Apply for ’new style’ JSA

You can apply for ‘new style’ JSA online or contact the Jobcentre Plus helpline.

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 055 6688
Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users – check you can use the service
Welsh language: 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If you have a query about an existing claim for ‘new style’ ESA or JSA

Contact the Jobcentre Plus helpline.

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0310
Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users – check you can use this service
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

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