Universal Credit is a new means-tested benefit administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It has been fully introduced nationally. Universal Credit is be available to people who are in or out of work who have little or no income. For example if someone is unable to work due to ill health or lack of suitable employment.  

It has replaced  the majority of means-tested benefits and tax credits (known as legacy benefits) paid to people who are ‘working age’ i.e. those under state pension age (Pension age was equalised at 65 for both men and women in 2018 and is gradually rising and will be 66 by 2020).

The legacy benefits are

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

Although Universal Credit has been fully introduced nationally some people cannot claim it. For example claimants who receive the severe disability premium in their legacy benefits and were doing so on 16 January 2019 are unable to claim Universal Credit. There are also complex rules for families who have more than two children.

Existing recipients of legacy benefits will eventually be moved onto Universal Credit. The  Government is planning a pilot to move a small number of existing legacy benefit claimants (10,000) in 2019 before migrating all remaining claimants to Universal Credit. However some changes in circumstances could trigger having to claim Universal Credit sooner.

Seek advice if you are unsure which benefit you should claim or how a change could affect you.

Welfare Benefits

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