Who can claim?
You may be able to get Universal Credit if:
- you’re on a low income or out of work
- you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
- you’re under State Pension Age (or your partner is)
- you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
- you live in the UK
Not everyone should claim Universal Credit. If you currently get:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
You do not need to do anything unless:
- you have a change of circumstances you need to report (triggers) that change what you claim
- the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit.
How is Universal Credit paid?
If your application is successful, you will receive your first Universal Credit payment about 5 weeks after submitting your claim. Universal Credit is paid 1 month in arrears into a bank, building society or credit union account. Currently some people are paid in to a post office card account but this service will be ending and Department for Work and Pensions are writing to claimants with this type of account to request alternative account details.
Universal Credit does not include any benefit for council tax charges or provide Council Tax Reduction.
How to claim
Make sure you provide full information about your circumstances on your claim. You may be due extra amounts on Universal Credit if you meet the criteria for these additions:
- You have children
- If those children have entitlement to a disability benefit
- You pay childcare costs
- If you are unfit to work, have a disability or health condition
- If you care for someone with a disability who receives certain levels of disability benefits, although if your claim a carer element this could affect the disabled persons benefit entitlement.
- You have housing costs
You will need certain information before you start the claim:
- About you and your partner if you have one- including National Insurance Number, all incomes and money/capital
- Bank details
- Rent /tenancy agreement details to ensure housing costs are included in the claim
- Children’s details, if you have any
- Childcare costs, if you have any
- Details of anyone else who lives with you, including their income.
You will have an online account to manage, called a ‘journal’. Keep your login details and password secure. The DWP will tell you how and when to access your journal.
The DWP Universal Credit Service Centre will tell you what you need to do. They will look at your evidence, verify, and approve your application. Once processed the DWP will give you a decision about your claim.
If you don’t agree with the award decision
If you disagree with a decision on Universal Credit, you will have time limits to ask for a decision to be looked at again, a Mandatory Reconsideration, or following this if you still disagree, to make an appeal. This is usually 1 month from the date you receive a decision about your benefit.
Seek advice when disputing a benefit decision, as you may need representation.