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 new means-tested benefit. 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?
Universal Credit is gradually being rolled out across the UK, and is already available nationwide for single people. However, for couples and families, Universal Credit is currently only available in certain areas.
To claim Universal Credit, you must:
- be under State Pension age
- have a low income
- have savings below £16,000
- not be studying or training full-time
- accept a ‘Claimant Commitment’.
You can’t claim 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 a mixed age couple, meaning one person is over Pension Credit qualifying age and the other person is younger than this, you have currently a choice whether to claim Pension Credit or Universal Credit. For most people, it is better to claim PC as your income is likely to be higher and you are not subject to UC work seeking conditions.
However, from 15 May 2019, the rules will change so that both members of a couple will have to reach Pension Credit qualifying age to claim it. Existing mixed aged couples claiming Pension Credit at the date of the change will stay on it. Mixed aged couples making a new claim after this change will have to claim Universal Credit until they both reach Pension Credit qualifying age.
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 0345 600 0723 (or textphone 0345 600 0743).
If you don’t feel confident about claiming online, ask your local Age Cymru for help or call Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444.
What should I do next?
Read our Factsheet on Universal Credit:
What extra money are you entitled to?
For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444