Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or if you can't work.

You'll get a single payment for your household which is paid into your bank or building society account once a month. If your payment includes money for housing costs, you'll need to pay this to your landlord.

Universal Credit replaces the following benefits:

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

Applying for Universal Credit

You can make a new claim for Universal Credit unless:

  • you (and your partner, if applicable) are of State Pension age or receive Pension Credit.
  • you live in temporary or supported exempt accommodation. These are normally hostels or sheltered accommodation.

In either of these cases you can apply for Housing Benefit for help towards your rent.

Universal Credit doesn't include help towards paying your Council Tax or cost of school meals. You can apply for support for these separately:

If you already claim benefits

If you already claim a benefit or tax credit that Universal Credit replaces, your local Jobcentre Plus will tell you when you have to move to Universal Credit. This may be if you have a change in your circumstances that would mean changing from one benefit to another.

If you already receive Housing Benefit but apply for Universal Credit, we'll cancel this from the date of your claim. This means you’ll then be in charge of paying your rent to your landlord. If you're allowed, you may be paid an extra two weeks of Housing Benefit.

When you reach State Pension age

If you receive Universal Credit and reach State Pension age, you may be allowed to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit instead. If you have a partner, you'll both need to be State Pension age to do this.

Contact Universal Credit for more advice about changing to pension age benefits.

Benefit cap

The benefit cap limits the total amount of benefit that most people of working age can receive each week. You can find the benefit cap amounts on GOV.UK.

Extra help to pay your rent

If you receive Universal Credit but are still finding it difficult to pay your rent, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).