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Universal Credit

Find out about Universal Credit, including the eligibility criteria, allowances and the application process.

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What is Universal Credit (UC)?

The front cover of a Universal Credit leaflet

UC, short for Universal Credit, is the name of a benefit that some people who do not work, do not work many hours, or who do not earn much money can get. 

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The money is to help to pay for your living costs. 

Living costs include things like rent , food and energy bills.  

The Universal Credit logo in the middle of images including a hand of money, a woman talking to a man, a house, someone at the Job Centre, a woman at a PC and a woman holding a baby

Universal Credit replaces:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit (for most people who apply for Universal Credit)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit
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If you are getting any of those benefits or tax credits, you do not need to do anything unless:

  • your circumstances change, or
  • you get a letter called a ‘ Migration Notice ’ telling you that you must claim Universal Credit.

Universal Credit has 2 parts:

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1. Standard allowance

This is money for you (and your partner if you live with them).

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2. Extra amounts

You might get extra money if you:

  • have children
  • pay for childcare
  • have a disability or health condition
  • care for someone who gets a benefit for their disability or health condition
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You might also get extra money to help to pay for your housing costs, like rent or service charges.

Can I get Universal Credit?

To get Universal Credit you must:

  • be 18 or over (you can sometimes get Universal Credit if you are 16 or 17)
  • be under State Pension age
  • live in the UK
  • have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investments as a single person or as a couple.
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Visit the government website for the full eligibility criteria for claiming Universal Credit. This includes information for people who are:

  • 16 or 17.
  • 21 or under, studying any qualification up to A level or equivalent and do not have parental support.
  • in full-time education .

If you have had a ‘Migration Notice’ and make a claim for Universal Credit before the deadline date, some of the normal rules do not apply. Visit the government’s guidance for people who have had a Migration Notice for further information.

What checks are needed to get Universal Credit?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will need to check:

  • how much money you earn
  • how much you pay for rent and service charges
  • how much you pay for childcare if you want help with childcare costs
  • your savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out
  • if you have a disability or health condition which affects your work

If you live with your partner, the DWP will also need to check this information about your partner. 
 

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How much is Universal Credit?

From April 2024 - March 2025, the monthly payments are:

Standard allowance

You will get one standard allowance for your household of:

£311.68 (if you are under 25 and do not live with your partner). 

£393.45 (if you are 25 or over and do not live with your partner). 

£489.23 (if you and your partner are under 25 and you live together).

£617.60 (if you or your partner are over 25 and you live together). 

Extra amounts

You might get extra money if you: 

Have children. 

Pay for childcare. 

Have a disability or health condition. 

Care for someone who gets a benefit for their disability or health condition.

You might also get extra money to help to pay for your housing costs. 

For more information about the extra amounts visit the government’s information about Universal Credit payments 

If you have had a Migration Notice telling you that you must claim Universal Credit, you should still get at least the same amount of money as you had on your old benefits.  Sometimes you will be paid an extra payment called a ‘transitional protection’ payment to make this happen. Visit the government’s website for more information about transitional protection payments

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Easy Reads about Universal Credit

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What is Universal Credit?

 

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How to apply for Universal Credit

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The Universal Credit Jobcentre meeting

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Work Capability Assessments

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How to apply for Universal Credit

It's easy to apply for Universal Credit. 

If you are receiving any of the benefits or tax credits that Universal Credit is replacing, you do not need to apply for Universal Credit unless: 

  • your circumstances change, or 
  • you need to make a new claim for benefits (for example you need to start to claim help with housing costs), or   
  • you get a letter called a ‘Migration Notice’ telling you that you must claim Universal Credit 

If you live with your partner, you will both need to apply for Universal Credit. 

To find out how to apply for Universal Credit, we have created a straightforward step-by-step digital guide to take you through the application process. 

Find out more →

How Universal Credit is paid to you

Universal Credit is usually paid every month into your bank or building society account.  The date that you get your first payment will be the date that you are paid every month (unless it is a weekend).   

Your payment might include money for your rent or other housing costs which you will need to pay to your landlord. 

If you find it difficult to manage your money with a monthly payment, you can ask for your Universal Credit to be paid more often, for example twice a month, or 4 times a month.  You can also ask for your rent or housing costs to be paid direct to your landlord. 

If you need money while you are waiting for your first Universal Credit payment, you can ask for an advance payment.  If you get an advance payment, the money will be taken off your Universal Credit payments. 

You might have money taken off your Universal Credit payment if you have a paid job, or you get money from some other benefits or a pension.   

For more information about when you will get money taken off your payment visit the government’s information about Universal Credit payments 

Frequently asked questions about Universal Credit

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The information on this page is for guidance only. Mencap hold no responsibility for DWP processes, timescales, decisions and service.

As well as the DWP you can also contact the Learning Disability Helpline about any general welfare benefit queries.

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