How to claim Universal Credit (UV credit) | ߣƵ

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Universal Credit

If you're on a low income or you're out of work, you might be able to claim Universal Credit to help you cover your living costs.


What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a means-tested, non-taxable benefit that's paid monthly. It's designed to help you if you're on a low income or out of work.

Universal Credit had been rolled out to all areas of the UK by December 2018 and is gradually replacing the following 'legacy' benefits:

If you currently receive any of these benefits, you'll continue to get them as normal unless your circumstances change or you get a letter, known as a Migration Notice, telling you that you need to switch to Universal Credit.

Most people can no longer make a new claim for a legacy benefit, and instead need to claim Universal Credit.


How much Universal Credit could I get?

The amount of Universal Credit you might get depends on a few different things, such as how much you earn or how much you have in savings.

It may also vary depending on how much you earned in the month before, and whether your circumstances have changed.

The basic standard Universal Credit allowances depend on your age and whether you're single or a couple. In 2024-25, the basic standard allowances are as follows:

If you're single

  • Under 25 – £311.68 per month
  • 25 or over – £393.45 per month

If you're a couple

  • Joint claimants both under 25 – £489.23 per month
  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over – £617.60 per month

On top of the standard allowance, you might be entitled to extra money if you have:

  • housing costs
  • a health condition or disability
  • caring responsibilities for a disabled person
  • dependant children
  • childcare costs.

If you received more from your benefits before moving to Universal Credit, or if you were entitled to the severe disability premium in your previous benefit, you could be entitled to a transitional element.


Am I eligible for Universal Credit?

You can claim Universal Credit if you:

  • live in the UK
  • are under State Pension age
  • have a low income or are out of work 
  • have savings below £16,000
  • aren't in education
  • accept a ‘claimant commitment’.

A claimant commitment outlines what you'll need to do to keep receiving Universal Credit. It's based on your individual circumstances.

You can't claim Universal Credit if you’re already receiving the following 'legacy' benefits:

If you receive these benefits, you'll be told when it's time for you to start claiming Universal Credit instead.

If you're a mixed age couple

If you're a mixed aged couple (one of you is over State Pension age and the other isn't) and you're making a new claim, you'll need to claim Universal Credit rather than Pension Credit.

If you're a mixed age couple and you already receive Pension Credit, you can keep doing so for as long as you remain entitled to it. 

 

Are you entitled to extra money?

Do you know what benefits you're entitled to? Our online benefits calculator can help you quickly and easily find out what you could be claiming.

Get a free benefits check


How to claim Universal Credit

You can claim Universal Credit by filling out the online claim form. When you're filling out the form, it's a good idea to have the following details to hand:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank account details
  • information about your income and savings
  • details of your household (such as your partner and other people living with you)
  • details of any housing costs (such as rent and service charges)
  • your email address (and a different one for your partner).

You'll then normally be invited to a face-to-face interview with a work coach at your local Jobcentre Plus.

During your interview, you’ll need to agree to certain conditions (this is known as making a 'claimant commitment'). For example, you might have to agree to a job search plan to help you get back to work or increase your income.

The conditions of the claimant commitment depend on your health, your responsibilities and your circumstances.

If you don't meet the conditions, your benefit might be reduced or stopped.

What if I need help filling out the form?

If you need help filling out the form, or you have any questions, call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 (or textphone on 0800 328 1344). 

If you don’t feel confident about claiming online, ask your local ߣƵ for help or call the ߣƵ Advice Line on 0800 678 1602.


Moving to Universal Credit from other benefits

If you're claiming a legacy benefit and have a change of circumstances, you might need to stop claiming that benefit and make a new claim for Universal Credit.

If this happens, get advice before making a new claim – as you might not need to claim Universal Credit if:

  • you live in specified accommodation (such as supported housing) – you can claim Housing Benefit instead
  • you're moving home but staying in the same local council area – if you're already claiming Housing Benefit you can continue to do so.

Alternatively, you might be told to claim Universal Credit under the ‘managed migration’ process. This is where the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) moves people who are currently claiming legacy benefits over to Universal Credit, which means their legacy benefit stops.

If this managed migration process reduces the amount of money you’re paid, you’ll be given an amount of ‘transitional protection’ to make up the difference.

You might receive a letter inviting you to make a new Universal Credit claim, which stops your entitlement to existing benefits. If this happens, you should get advice before claiming to make sure you don’t lose any money. 

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Last updated: May 23 2024

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