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Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It's paid monthly. You may be able to get it if you're on a low income or out of work.

If you already receive benefits

Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:

  •  Child Tax Credit
  •  Housing Benefit
  •  Income Support
  •  Income-based Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA)
  •  Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  •  Working Tax Credit

If you currently receive any of these benefits, you cannot claim Universal Credit at the same time. 

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK. You do not need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances.

Severe Disability Premium

You cannot claim Universal Credit if you either:

  • Get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • Got to were entitled to the severe disability premium in the last month, and  you're still eligible for it

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

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  •  You're on a low income or out of work
  •  You're 18 or over (tere 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. 

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 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 its 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 your estranged from your parents and you're not under local authority care

If you're 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  asingle 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 'non-advanced education' (for example studying for A levels or a BTEC National Diploma), are 21 or under and do not have parental support

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 

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

Your circumstances are assessed every month and what you're paid may change.

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

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. 

If you have a disability or health condition and are unable to work or if you care for a severely disabled person you will be eligible.

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. 

Childcare Element of Universal Credit 

Universal Credit can be paid to people in work to top up low wages. This includes earnings from employment and earnings if you are self-employed.

Eligibility for Childcare Element of Universal Credit 

  •  You are a single parent and you are in work 
  •  You are part of a couple and you both work, and one of you works and one is unable to work because of an illness or care responsibilities for someone else. 
  •  Childcare element of Universal Credit can pay up to 85% of your Childcare costs up to a maximum of £646 per month for one child attending a registered Childcare provider or up to £1108 for two or more children. 

Please visit to compare the support you may receive and to confirm which option you may be eligible for. 

If you're employed, how much Universal Credit you get will depend on your earnings. Your Universal Credit payment will reduce gradually as you earn more - for every £1 you earn your payment reduces by 63p.

There's no limit on how many hours you can work. 

Use the benefits calculator on the website to see how increasing your hours or starting a new job could affect what you get. 

You can earn a certsain amount before your Universal Credit is reduced if you or your partner are either:

  • Responsible for a child or young person
  • Living with a disability or health condition that affects your ability to work 

This is called a 'work allowance'. Your work allowance is lower if you get help with housing costs. 

Further information can be found here:

Telephone: 0800 328 5644