New to Universal Credit

1. Is it for me?

Who can get Universal Credit

You can apply for Universal Credit if you are on a low income or unemployed.

You will usually only be able to claim Universal Credit if you are aged 18 or over, but some people aged 16 or 17 can get it, depending on their circumstances.

And you usually won’t be able to claim Universal Credit if you’re in full-time education or training, but people with certain circumstances can still apply.

You can’t claim Universal Credit if you are getting the severe disability premium, or if you received it within the last month and are still eligible for it.

Read the detailed guidance on eligibility and Universal Credit and students to find out more.

You can use a benefits calculator to help you understand what benefits you could get. You will be asked to enter information about your circumstances, and it will tell you which benefits you might be able to apply for. One of those might be Universal Credit.

If you want to go straight to making a claim for Universal Credit visit gov.uk/universal-credit

If you live in Northern Ireland go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland

What Universal Credit replaces

Universal Credit replaces:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

If you are already claiming these benefits or tax credits you don’t need to do anything now. The Department for Work and Pensions will get in touch with you before there are any changes to your benefits or tax credits.

If you receive these benefits or tax credits and your circumstances change in a way that would have meant you would make a new claim to one of these benefits, you will now need to claim Universal Credit instead.

If you are receiving any of these benefits or tax credits they will stop if you make a Universal Credit claim.

If you are getting tax credits you can still choose to apply for Universal Credit, depending on your circumstances, but if you do all your benefits that Universal Credit replaces will stop.

If you receive Universal Credit you may have to pay less in Council Tax, but you will need to apply for that separately. You can start the process to apply for Council Tax Reduction on GOV.UK. You can apply for a Council Tax Reduction straight away – you do not need to wait until your claim for Universal Credit has been approved or paid.

If you or your partner are above State Pension age

You can apply for Universal Credit if you or your partner are below State Pension age

Currently, if you are in a couple where one of you is above State Pension age and the other is below it (this is known as a mixed age couple), you can choose to make a claim for Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit instead of Universal Credit.

However, this choice will not be available from 15 May 2019. From that date mixed age couples will not be able to make a new claim for Pension Credit and/or Housing Benefit, but may be able to claim Universal Credit instead. You can ask for your Pension Credit claim to be backdated to 14 May or before. You’ll need to apply by 13 August 2019 to do this.

If you’re in a mixed age couple and receiving Pension Credit or Housing Benefit on 14 May 2019, you will stay on those benefits as long as your circumstances remain the same and there is no break in your claim. If you have a break in your claim or your circumstances change, you may need to make a claim for Universal Credit instead.

Read more about Pension Credit eligibility

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