What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is 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
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit.

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.

Will Universal Credit affect me if I’m retired?

Universal Credit affects people of working age at the moment.

Pension Credit

Universal Credit won't affect you unless you're part of a mixed-age couple. Currently, if you or your partner have reached State Pension age, you may  qualify for Pension Credit as a couple. From 15 May 2019, the rules will change and you won't be able to make a new claim for Pension Credit until both of you have reached State Pension age. You'll have to claim Universal Credit instead, which will be significantly lower than Pension Credit. If you think this might affect you, contact Citizens Advice

Tax credits

People who have reached State Pension age can no longer make a new claim for Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit. As a result, Pension Credit now includes additional amounts for dependent children.

Next steps

To find out more about Universal Credit go to understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

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