Who can claim Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit for low income working-age people who are either in or out of work. It does not affect people of pension age.

Universal Credit Full Service has been rolled out to new claimants across the country. It has replaced new claims for the following means-tested 'legacy' benefits for working age people:

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

If you are already receiving one or more of these benefits, you won't move onto Universal Credit until you:

  • have a change of circumstances which requires a new claim, or
  • you are moved to Universal Credit under a process called 'managed migration'. 

The government has said that eventually all existing working age claimants will be moved over to UC, but it has announced a number of delays to this process. It is to be complete by September 2024. 

Legacy claimants receiving severe disability premium

From 16 January 2019 to 26 January 2021 (inclusive), special rules existed for claimants receiving severe disability premium (SDP) in their legacy benefits. This ‘SDP Gateway’ prevented SDP claimants from claiming UC and enabled them to make new claims for legacy benefits (such as housing benefit, income support or income-related employment and support allowance).

On 27 January 2021 the gateway was removed. Now, if you are receiving SDP and have a change of circumstances that requires a new claim, you won’t be able to claim legacy benefits and will have to apply for UC instead. Your existing legacy benefits will also come to an end. UC may include an extra amount for qualifying claimants to compensate for the loss of SDP.

Please contact our Welfare Rights Service if you need to check your position or if you need advice about UC or other benefits.

For more information watch our Universal Credits Key Facts video: