Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It is intended to help claimants and their families to become more independent and will simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single streamlined payment.

Universal Credit (UC) was introduced in 2013 to simplify the welfare system by 'rolling' six means-tested benefits and tax credits into a single monthly payment that will be paid to you if your income falls below a certain level.

It is available to people who are looking for work or on a low income. UC is means tested, so payment will depend on other money your household has coming in. The higher your income is, the less UC you'll receive.

UC payments will be subject to the Benefit Cap.

The roll-out of UC started in April 2013 with the launch of the Universal Credit pathfinder and is now available in all areas.

UC has replaced the following individual benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income related Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Income Based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit

Some benefits will disappear completely. Other benefits will stay but the rules about who can get them will change. A few benefits will continue to exist as they are now. See the individual sections at MAG - Benefits.

If you currently do not receive any benefits you can check whether you are entitled to receive UC at MAG - Benefit Calculator.

If you are already claiming any benefits you do not need to do anything - you will be told when Universal Credit will affect you.

Guides to Universal Credit

A complete overview of UC including eligibility, how to claim, how you will be paid and how to appeal, can be found at GOV.UK.

Alternatively, more information about UC is available from the following sites:

A series of comprehensive guides to UC can be found at the GOV.UK website.

A Guide to Benefits including an explanation of Universal Credit, can be found at AdviserBook.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit and Housing Benefit will remain for those over the qualifying age.

After UC has been introduced, if one member of a couple is over and one under the qualifying age for pension credit then the couple will be treated as working age. This means they would be expected to claim UC. Those already claiming pension credit will be protected.

UC for Couples

If you are part of a couple you and your partner will need to make a joint claim for UC. Only one member of the couple will complete the claim form, but that person will need to enter details for both of you.

Further information is available at the following links:

UC for claimants aged 16 to 24

Universal Credit claimants aged 16 to 24 are helped to find a job, work-related training or an apprenticeship though the Youth Offer.

The Youth Offer provides help to find a job, work-related training or an apprenticeship and consists of three types of suport:

  • Youth Employment Programme
  • Youth Hubs
  • Youth Employability Coaches

Full details are available from GOV.UK.

UC for the Self Employed

If you are self-employed Universal Credit will provide support to help you grow your business.

To must be able to show that the self-employed the work you do is:

  • regular
  • organised
  • developed

You must expect to make a profit and it should be your main job.

Full details of UC for the Self employed is available from GOV.UK.

Alternatively more information is available at the following links:

Benefits Advice

If you would like further to talk to an advisor on any aspect of Benefits you can find an advisor in your area at Turn2Us.

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