What is Universal Credit?

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Universal Credit is the new benefit for working-age people by merging all six benefits into one single payment and was designed to make claiming benefits easier. Over a number of years the following benefits and tax credits will be abolished as Universal Credit replaces them:

  • Income support

  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance

  • Income-related employment and support allowance

  • Housing benefit

  • Child tax credit

  • Working tax credit

How does Universal Credit work?

Whether claimants are in or out of work they can still claim Universal Credit. The amount of credit claimants can receive depends entirely depends on their circumstances and how much other income they are getting. If a claimant has low earnings and is still in work, they are eligible to receive Universal Credit. Find out how Universal Credit is calculated.

Universal Credit is also different because it is administered by one benefit department; the DWP, whereas other benefits are paid by a range of different departments.

Most people claim Universal Credit online. For information, visit our help guide to online claims.

Who can claim Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is payable to individuals between the ages of 18 and Pension Credit qualifying age. Is is available to people who are out of work, including those looking for work and people who are out of work due to illness, disability or childcare commitments and to those caring for disabled people or those in work and on low incomes.

The government is slowly rolling out Universal Credit in stages. For more information on where Universal Credit is currently available and who can claim, visit our Universal Credit roll out guide.

Will claimants still need to look for work?

Receipt of Universal Credit is dependent on claimants signing a commitment and being placed into a group that determines what you have to do in order to continue receiving the benefit.  

For information on which group your claimant would be placed in, please visit our Claimant Commitment page.


If you’re interested in learning about our new benefits calculator that covers all means-tested and contribution based benefits, including Council Tax and Universal Credit, visit our benefits calculator page. 

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