What is Universal Credit?


Universal Credit supports you if you are on a low income or out of work. It includes a monthly payment to help with your living costs.

Who can get Universal Credit

You can apply for Universal Credit if you are on a low income or unemployed.

You will usually only be able to claim Universal Credit if you are aged 18 or over, but some people aged 16 or 17 can get it, depending on their circumstances.

And you usually won't be able to claim Universal Credit if you're in full-time education or training, but people with certain circumstances can still apply.

If you want to go straight to making a claim for Universal Credit visit gov.uk/universal credit

If you live in Northern Ireland, go to Universal Credit in Northern Ireland

Are there any things I should know about?

You cannot claim both Tax Credits and Universal Credit at the same. If you currently claim tax credits and you make a claim for Universal Credit, your Tax Credit award will terminate.

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If you are able to work, you will be asked to sign a claimant commitment. The claimant commitment is tailored to your circumstances, but you will be obliged to keep to it. You, and your partner, may need to both look for work of up to 35 hours a week - this is called conditionality. 

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When you claim Universal Credit, you will need to declare all of your capital.
If your capital is worth more than £16,000 you will not be entitled to claim Universal Credit.

If you are in a couple but must make a claim as a single person, your partner's capital / savings will still be considered.

Any capital / savings you have under £6,000 is ignored.

Any capital / savings you have worth between £6,000 and £16,000 is treated as if it gives you a monthly income of £4.35 for each £250, or part of £250, regardless of whether it does or not. So if you have  £6,300 in a savings account, £6,000 of it will be ignored and the other £300 will be treated as giving you a monthly income of £8.70.

If you have capital / savings worth more than £16,000 you will not be entitled to Universal Credit. This is the same if you are a single claimant or are making a claim as a couple.

 There are special rules for people who are moved across from Tax Credits to Universal Credit by HMRC / DWP under managed migration from 2019 which may mean you can still claim even if you have savings of more than £16,000.

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For Universal Credit, once a child reaches age 16 they become a qualifying young person and can be included in a Universal Credit claim up to (but not including) the 1st September following their 16th birthday. After that the rule is slightly different because, provided they remain in full-time non-advanced education or approved training and they were enrolled on, or started, the course before they were 19, they can only be included up to (but not including ) the 1st September following 19th birthday. This is different to child benefit and to child tax credit, where a qualifying young person can be included in a claim until they reach age 20 as long as the course started before their 19th birthday.