What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit for working age people on a low income or out of work. 

It is being introduced gradually as part of the government’s welfare reform and will replace six ‘means tested’ benefits (legacy benefits):

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers
  • Income-based Employment Support Allowances
  • Working Tax Credit.

If you currently receive any of these benefits, you can’t claim Universal Credit at the same time. It’s being introduced in stages and the Department for Work and Pensions will let you know when you’ll be moving to Universal Credit.

What's different about Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is paid differently from any benefits or tax credits you may get now:

  • It is a single monthly payment
  • It is paid directly into your bank or building society account
  • It includes help towards paying your rent
  • You need to claim Universal Credit online.

As Housing Benefit is one of the benefits that Universal Credit replaces, if you claim Universal Credit your Housing Benefit claim will usually end. You will need to provide details of your rent when you make your claim for Universal Credit.

From 1 April 2017, some 18 to 21 year olds claiming Universal Credit will not be entitled to help with housing costs.  This will only apply in Universal Credit full service areas. Certain exemptions apply.

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