What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new benefit, gradually replacing certain existing means-tested benefits.

It’s slowly being rolled out nationally, so whether you can claim it will depend on where you live.

Which existing benefits does Universal Credit replace?

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment, which will replace the following:

  • Housing Benefit
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support.

If you’re already claiming any of these benefits, you will eventually be moved to Universal Credit. If you’re claiming for the first time, you will need to claim Universal Credit if you live in an area where it’s been rolled out.

Will Universal Credit affect me if I’m retired?

Universal Credit affects people of working age at the moment.

Pension Credit

If you’ve reached Pension Credit qualifying age, Universal Credit probably won’t affect you unless you’re part of a couple and your partner is under Pension Credit qualifying age. When Universal Credit is fully rolled out, the person under Pension Credit qualifying age will have to apply for Universal Credit instead, which will be paid at a significantly lower rate than Pension Credit. If you think this might affect you, contact Citizens Advice

Child Tax Credit

As Child Tax Credit is being abolished, Pension Credit will change to include additional payments for those with dependent children.

Working Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit is slowly being replaced by the introduction of Universal Credit. This will mean you won’t be able to make a new claim for Working Tax Credit if you’re over Pension Credit age and working in a low-wage job.

Housing Benefit

As Housing Benefit is being abolished, Pension Credit will change to include a housing credit.

Next steps

To find out more about Universal Credit go to understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0843 455 0035.

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