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 across the country. This means that for working age people, UC has replaced new claims for the following means-tested 'legacy' benefits:

  • 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 expected that from July 2019 there will be a one-year pilot, affecting just 10,000 claimants nationally, which the government will use to inform its plans for future managed migration. 

Legacy claimants receiving severe disability premium

From 16 January 2019 claimants receiving severe disability premium have been able to claim Universal Credit, even if they have a change of circumstances which would normally trigger a UC claim. This new exemption applies to claimants who are receiving legacy benefits (other than tax credits) and whose award includes a severe disability premium. Qualifying claimants can remain on their existing benefits and/or make claims for other legacy benefits as well. 

The DWP will carry out checks to identify claimants who were receiving the severe disability premium and have already switched to Universal Credit. Claimants who have lost out will receive a lump sum to cover the period since they moved to Universal Credit and an ongoing monthly payment.