Universal credit

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people who are on a low income or out of work.

It replaces:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)


To be eligible to claim Universal Credit you must:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Be under State Pension age.
  • Be in a mixed aged couple, where one of you is under State Pension age.
  • Have less than £16,000 in capital
  • Live in the UK

What can I get?

The amount of Universal Credit you receive will vary depending on your personal circumstances.
To find out what benefits you could claim, and how much you might get, visit www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

What can I do to prepare?

Even if you’re not claiming Universal Credit, here are a few things you can do to help things run as smoothly as possible when you do apply:  

  1. Get online – most people will make and manage their Universal Credit claim online. If you use the internet regularly this will be one less thing to worry about.
  2. Get a bank account – your Universal Credit payment will be paid into a bank, building society or credit union account.
  3. Budget – you may be used to managing your money on a monthly basis, but if not you will need to make sure you can pay all your bills from this single payment.

Visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk for advice on making your money last the whole month, and also on which bank account might be best suited for you.

How do I apply?

Apply online at www.gov.uk/universal-credit - this site will guide you through the application process. There’s plenty of support on there if you need it when making your claim online.

What happens next?

Once you have made your claim you’ll need to attend an appointment at the jobcentre. This is an opportunity for you to discuss any support you might need in managing your claim.
You will need to wait around 5 weeks for your first payment. You may be able to get an advance payment if you are unable to manage during this period –ask about this during your jobcentre appointment.

What happens if I start work?

You may still be able to receive Universal Credit payments when you start work or increase your earnings. Your payments will adjust automatically as your earnings change.
You will continue to receive Universal Credit payments until you are earning enough to no longer get them.

Where can I learn more?

Visit www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk for further information on Universal Credit and what it means.
You can also call 0800 328 5444.

Claiming Council Tax Reduction

Universal Credit does not cover your Council Tax costs. For help with this you will need to make a claim separately.