If you’re out of work or on a low income, you may be able to claim Universal Credit to boost the money you have coming in.
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit (UC) is a means-tested benefit that has been rolled out nationally since December 2018. It will eventually replace the 'legacy' benefits listed below by migrating existing claimants to UC:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit.
If you currently receive these benefits, you will continue to receive payments as normal for the time being. Your local Jobcentre Plus or Tax Credits office will let you know when your benefit will be replaced by Universal Credit.
Am I eligible for Universal Credit?
To claim Universal Credit, you must:
- be under State Pension age
- have a low income
- have savings below £16,000
- accept a ‘Claimant Commitment’.
You can’t recieve Universal Credit if you’re already receiving certain benefits, such as Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or income-related Employment and Support Allowance. If you are claiming these benefits, you will be moved to Universal Credit in the future.
If you're in a mixed age couple, meaning one person is over State Pension age and the other is under, you will need to claim Universal Credit rather than Pension Credit. If you're a mixed age couple and already receive Pension Credit, you can remain doing so for as long as you remain entitled to it.
If you are unsure when you reach State Pension age, you can find out on the GOV.UK website.
How do I claim Universal Credit?
Fill out the online claim form on GOV.UK
What happens next?
Your online claim will be followed by a face-to-face interview with a work coach at your local Jobcentre Plus.
During your interview, you’ll have to agree to certain conditions, called a ‘Claimant Commitment’. This sets out what you must do so you can receive Universal Credit. It often includes a job search plan to help you get back to work or earn more income.
These conditions will depend on your health, your responsibilities, and your circumstances. If you don’t meet the conditions, your benefit may be reduced or stopped.
If you need help filling out the form or have any questions, call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 (or textphone 0800 328 1344).
Our factsheet has further information on Universal Credit:
What extra money are you entitled to?
For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444