Universal Credit roll out

Universal Credit roll out

Universal Credit is gradually being rolled out across the UK. If you are making a new claim for benefits, or are already claiming benefits and have a change in your circumstances, you may have to claim Universal Credit at some point before September 2018.

Once the roll out for new claims is complete, all existing claimants who have not had a change in circumstances, will be moved over to Universal Credit at some point between July 2019 and March 2022.

If you are single, without children and looking for work

Most new claims from single unemployed people who do not have children are now affected, no matter where you live.

Single people who already claim tax credits or Housing Benefit are included but you must not already be receiving Jobseeker's Allowance or be in one of the categories listed at the end of this guide. 

If you are single and working, in a couple or have children

Universal Credit is currently being rolled out to these groups. Whether you will be asked to apply for Universal Credit or existing benefits will depend on your circumstances and whether you live in a live or full service area.

Live Service Areas

Some areas currently allow claims from people who are unemployed and live with their partner or have children (unless you fit into one of the categories listed at the end of this guide). These are called live service areas.

Full Service Areas

Some areas allow claims from almost everyone, whether or not they are in one of the categories below or are working. These are called full service areas. The whole of the UK will be a full service area by September 2018.

When your area is a full service area most people making a new benefit claim will be invited to claim Universal Credit instead of existing benefits. If you live in a Universal Credit full service area you can no longer make a new claim for tax credits, Housing Benefit or out-of-work benefits like Income Support.

Families with three or more children are an exception to this rule. They can continue to claim existing benefits until at least November 2018. Anyone living in a full service area who is already getting benefits or tax credits will also be asked to claim Universal Credit if they have a change of circumstances.

You can find out when you will be affected personally by putting your postcode into the benefits calculator.

Or read the government's list of jobcentre areas now taking claims for Universal Credit and Universal Credit full service roll out schedule.

Universal Credit roll out and existing benefit claimants

Existing benefit and tax credit claimants who do not have a change of circumstance will not be affected until July 2019 at the earliest. The government expects to finish moving existing benefit and tax credit claimants onto Universal Credit by March 2022.

Which groups can't claim Universal Credit in a live service area?

Even if you live in a live service area, if you are in any of the groups below you won't be able to apply for Universal Credit until your area becomes a full service area:

  • you are already claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or the benefits listed below
  • you aren't fit for work because you have an illness or disability
  • you care for someone who has a disability
  • you own your home or have a mortgage on it
  • you live in supported accommodation or are homeless
  • you expect to earn over £338 in the first month of being on Universal Credit (£541 a month for couples)
  • you expect to earn money from self-employment (in a trade, profession or vocation) in the first month of being on Universal Credit
  • you’re a company director or a member of a limited liability partnership
  • you're in education or training, or intend to start education or training in the first month of your claim

If you are currently claiming or have applied for any of the following benefits you also won't be included in the Universal Credit live service:

  • Employment and Support Allowance (contribution based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (contribution based)
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (income based)
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

For more general information please see our Universal Credit guide.

Universal Credit roll out in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland the Universal Credit roll out will begin in September 2017 and be completed by September 2018.

  • 25 September 2017 - Limavady
  • 13 November 2017 - Ballymoney
  • 11 December 2017 - Magherafelt and Coleraine
  • 15 January 2018 - Strabane and Lisnagelvin
  • 5 February 2018 - Foyle and Armagh
  • 19 February 2018 - Omagh and Enniskillen
  • 5 March 2018 - Dungannon and Portadown
  • 16 April 2018 - Banbridge and Lurgan
  • 30 April 2018 - Kilkeel, Downpatrick and Newry
  • 14 May 2018 - Bangor, N'ards and Holywood Road
  • 28 May 2018 - Knockbreda, N'abbey and Shankill
  • 11 June 2018 - Corp St, Falls and A'town
  • 25 June 2018 - Shaftesbury Sq, Lisburn and Larne
  • 2 July 2018 - Carrick, Antrim and Ballymena
  • July to September 2018 - Cookstown, B'hinch and Newcastle


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