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universal credit

universal credit

‘Universal credit’ is a single integrated means-tested benefit payable to people of working age who are on a low income. It does not depend on your national insurance contribution and is not taxable. You can claim it if you are looking for work if you are unable to work through sickness and disability, if you are a lone parent, if you are caring for someone or if you are working and your wages are low. You can claim it to cover just your needs if you are a single person or those of your partner and/or children if you have a family.  
Universal Credit replaces the following individual benefits:-

  •  Child tax credit

  •   Housing benefit

  •   Income-related Employment Support Allowance

  •   Income-based Jobseekers allowance

  •   Income Support

  •   Working Tax Credit

Having Universal Credit may entitle you to:

  •   Budgeting advances

  •   Free prescriptions and dental treatment

  •   Housing grants

  •   Free school meals

  •   Help with hospital farers


How do I qualify?

You and your partner (if you are making a joint claim) must meet the following basic conditions
You must:

  • be aged 18 or over (or aged 16-17 in certain cases)

  • Be under the qualifying age for pension credit

  • Be in Great Britain

  • Not be subject to immigration control

  • Not be in education

  • Have accepted a claimant commitment

You must also meet both the financial conditions

  • You (and you partner if making a joint claim) must not have capital of more than £16,000

  • Your (and your partner's income) earning or other income is not too high for universal credit to be payable

If you are a member of a couple you must normally make a ‘joint claim’ for universal credit. In a joint claim, you and your partner must usually meet the basic qualifying conditions. However, you are your partner may still be entitled to Universal Credit as joint claimants if just one of you: - Has reached the qualifying age for pension credit - Is in education  
You are considered to be one of a couple if you are married (include same-sex marriages), in a civil partnership or cohabiting If you are in a couple you may claim universal credit as a single person if your partner - has not reached the age of 18 (and does not qualify as a 16-17year old) - Is not in Great Britain - Is a prisoner - Is a member of a religious order and fully maintained by that order - Is subject to immigration control excluding them from Universal Credit
Aged 16 or 17

  • You may qualify for Universal Credit if one of the following applies:

  • You have limited capability for work

  • You have a ‘fit note’ and are waiting for a work capability assessment

  • You have regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person

  • You are responsible for a child under 16

  • You have a partner who is responsible for a child or qualifying young person and they meet the other basic qualifying conditions

  • You are pregnant and it is 11 weeks or less before the week in which your baby is due 

  • You have had a baby within the last 15 weeks

  • You do not have parental support (see below)

No parental support (this does not apply to children and young people looked after by the local authority) means you have no parent or you cannot live with your parents because you are either estranged from them or there is a serious risk to your physical or mental health or you would suffer significant harm if you lived with them or you are living away from your parents and neither parents are able to support you financially because:- - Have a physical or mental impairment - Are detained in custody - Are prohibited from coming to Great Britain
To qualify for ‘Universal Credit’ you must meet certain work-related conditions (known as requirements) which vary according to your circumstances (these will be explained below) these are recorded in a ‘claimant commitment’ (which is a record of the requirements you are expected to meet in order to continue receiving universal credit in full. The Department of Work and Pensions decides the way in which you can accept the commitment i.e. online, phone or in writing)  


Applying for Universal Credit

You must apply for Universal Credit Online, if you need help or support for this you can visit your local Job Centre Plau where they will be able to assist you.

You’ll need:

  • your bank, building society or credit union account details (call the Universal Credit helpline if you do not have one)

  • an email address

  • information about your housing, for example, how much rent you pay

  • details of your income, for example, payslips

  • details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out

  • details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs

If you do not provide the right information when you apply it might affect when you get paid or how much you get.

You also have to verify your identity online. You’ll need some proof of identity for this, for example, your:

  • driving licence

  • passport

  • debit or credit card

You can begin to apply by clicking here

If you have a condition or disability that affects how much or if you can work you may be entitled to a Work Capability Assessment

For a step by step process on how to claim universal credit and what the next stage click here

Published 04/11/2019

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