Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit for people who are unemployed or on a low income to help you to pay for your living costs. The payment does not include the costs for your council tax, so if you receive UC and need help to pay your council tax, you will need to make a separate application for Council Tax Support.
Universal Credit will eventually replace the following benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income Related Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income Related Employment Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit
If you are currently receiving any of the above benefits the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will let you know if you need to transfer to Universal Credit.
Who is entitled to Universal Credit?
You may be entitled to Universal Credit if:
- you are on a low income or out or work
- you or your partner are under state pension age
- you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
If you would like to check if you might be eligible for Universal Credit please use the benefit calculator. It will also inform you if you may be eligible for an alternative benefit.
When you should apply for Housing Benefit instead of Universal Credit
You should apply for Housing Benefit instead of Universal Credit, if you fit into any of the categories below. If you currently receive Housing Benefit and any of the criteria below applies to you, your claim will not be affected.
- You and your partner are pensioners - you must have reached the qualifying age for state pension credit.
- You will be receiving the Severe Disability Premium until you are moved onto UC by the Department for Work and Pensions in future.
- You reside in specified accommodation (this is where care is provided by or on behalf of the social sector landlord, a hostel, domestic violence refuge)
- You reside in temporary accommodation (this is housing arranged by a council because they have decided you are homeless)
- In all cases the accommodation must be allocated by the council or by a social housing provider through arrangements made with the council
If you are in a couple your eligibility for means-tested benefits is determined by the age of the youngest person. This means that if one of you is below the pension age you will need to apply for Universal Credit. Find out more and read real life examples on how people are affected.
Apply for Universal Credit
Universal Credit is administered by the DWP. You will need to apply online.
The payment does not include the costs for your council tax, so if you receive Universal Credit and need help to pay your council tax, you will need to make a separate application for Council Tax Support.
Need help to make a new Universal Credit claim?
Citizens Advice Harrow can support those wishing to claim Universal Credit from opening an account to receiving the first payment. For more information see the Citizens Advice website.