Universal Credit (MT/NC)
Universal Credit is a single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income in England, Scotland and Wales. It includes money for basic living, children and housing.
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, Universal Credit replaces six income-related (means-tested) benefits:
If you’re currently receiving any of these six benefits, you’ll have your claims transferred to Universal Credit at some point.
When this will happen depends on where you live. The amount of money you get won’t be reduced when this happens, as long as your circumstances stay the same.
The DWP will contact you to change your claim. You don’t need to do anything until then.
Claiming Universal Credit
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To claim Universal Credit, you need to:
be 18 or over (or 16 or 17 in certain cases)
be under State Pension age
live in the UK
not be in education
accept a claimant commitment (see below).
If you have a partner, you’ll need to make a joint claim for Universal Credit. If your partner doesn’t meet the requirements, they won’t be considered in the amount of Universal Credit you get. But the savings, income and earnings of both of you will be taken into account.
The claimant commitment states your responsibilities, which you must agree to if you claim Universal Credit. It includes work-related requirements.
There are some people who do not need to show that they are working, preparing for work or looking for work. These include people with limited capability for work-related activity, people with certain caring responsibilities, and single parents with a child aged under one.
If you have a partner, you may each be placed in different groups, depending on your individual circumstances.
Universal Credit is made up of a standard amount and five extra parts. These may be paid monthly depending on your circumstances. These are the standard monthly rates:
The five extra parts are:
the child element/disabled child additions
the childcare element
the carer element
the limited capability for work-related activity element
the housing element.
Universal Credit is being gradually introduced in England, Scotland and Wales. The government has a target for this to be completed by 2017, but it may take longer than this. Contact a welfare rights adviser on 0808 808 00 00 for more information.
If you think you might be eligible for Universal Credit and want to make a claim, visit gov.uk/apply-universal-credit or call the DWP’s Universal Credit helpline on 0845 600 0723.
It is expected that Universal Credit will be introduced in Northern Ireland but it is not currently available. The Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill is still under consideration and it is unclear when any changes will take effect.
Check nidirect.gov.uk for the latest news on Universal Credit in Northern Ireland.