Universal Credit is the new single benefit payment which replaces a range of other benefits if you are of working age.
It is a means-tested benefit that’s now been rolled out throughout Northern Ireland. It’s based on several things, such as the hours you work, what you earn and your savings.
If you're a mixed aged couple, meaning only one person is over Pension Credit qualifying age, there are new rules coming in to effect on 15th May 2019.
Before then, when you make a claim, only one of you of must have reached pension age. If you qualify for Pension Credit, you will remain on it, provided your circumstances don’t change. After 15th May, in all new claims, both you and your partner will have to reach pension age before you can make a claim for Pension Credit. Until then, you will have to claim Universal Credit.
Future changes to benefits
You may have heard that some welfare benefits have been changing in the last few years.
If you’re over State Pension age, it’s unlikely that these changes will affect you. But they could if your partner or spouse is under the State Pension age.
This is a limit on the amount you can receive in benefits if you’re under State Pension age (currently rising to 66 by 2020 for both men and women). This means that if the total amount of certain benefits you receive is above the benefit cap limit, your
Housing Benefit or Universal Credit may be affected. The Department for Communities will get in touch if the benefit cap affects you. This will depend on where you live and whether you live alone or as a couple. Certain people under State Pension age will be exempt from the benefit cap – for example if they, or anyone they live with, claim a means-tested benefit or receive a disability benefit
For advice and information about Universal Credit, and how it might affect you, or your family, call Age NI's Advice and Advocacy Service on freephone 0808 808 7575
Use the online benefits calculator to find out much money could you claim.
Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.