Universal Credit is a benefit payment. You'll find lots of information about it on the Understanding Universal Credit website.
With Universal Credit, you get one payment each month - in the past, people got separate payments for things like housing benefit, income support, child tax credit and jobseeker's allowance.
You can apply for Universal Credit if you are on a low income or unemployed. You will usually only be able to claim Universal Credit if you are aged 18 or over, but some people aged 16 or 17 can get it, depending on their circumstances.
Universal Credit replaces:
- 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 are already claiming these benefits or tax credits you don’t need to do anything now. The Department for Work and Pensions will get in touch with you before there are any changes to your benefits or tax credits. We know that a lot of customers still haven't been moved over to Universal Credit - the process is expected to last until 2024.
How to claim
How we can help
We don't want you to feel anxious about Universal Credit, but we do want to help you get ready. Contact us to speak to your money matters co-ordinator for support. You can also watch our video guides for advice:
- Video explaining what Universal Credit is
- Video about how Universal Credit is different to past benefits.
The benefit cap
The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit you can get. It applies to most people aged 16 or over who have not reached State Pension age.
Non-dependants/people who live with you
If you live with people other than a partner or children, this can affect your benefit entitlement. The rules on non-dependants are explained on the Entitled To website.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Local councils can consider awarding Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs). These are used to top up existing awards of Housing Benefit, Universal Credit Housing Costs and also Council Tax Support for those experiencing financial difficulties.
To be able to apply you’ll need to already be receiving some Housing Benefit, Universal Credit Housing Costs or Council Tax Support. They are usually paid to top up your existing award but can also be considered for one-off payments towards rent arrears, deposits when moving to a new home, or rent in advance. Discretionary Housing Payments, as the name suggests, are paid at the discretion of the local council. They are only awarded for a limited period and are only intended to be a temporary solution to tide you over until your financial situation improves.