You may have heard about the introduction of Universal Credit by the UK government. Many people are expressed their state of confusion surrounding what it is and what the introduction of Universal Credit hopes to achieve.
Essentially, Universal Credit is a payment which aims to help people with their general living costs. It is paid into your account monthly if in England and Wales and twice a month for some people in Scotland.
How do you get Universal Credit?
You may be eligible for Universal Credit if you are on a low income or if you are out of work.
To find out if you are eligible you can always check on the Citizens Advice eligibility checker.
Whether you can claim Universal Credit does depend on where you live and your circumstances. You are only able to make a new claim for Universal Credit if you live in a ‘full-service area’. You can refer to the eligibility calculator to determine if you live in the right area.
Live with a partner
If you live with a partner you may be able to claim Universal Credit if you or your said partner are working. The income and savings of your partner will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for the universal credit.
If you have children, you should be able to make a new Universal Credit claim. That is, if any of the following apply to you:
- You have two or fewer children and you live in a ‘full service’ area.
- You have received Universal Credit in a ‘full service’ area in the last 6 months and your payments have now stopped. In this case, it does not matter how many children you have.
- You have received Universal Credit in a ‘live service’ area in the last 6 months and your payments have ended because of your earnings. In this case, it also does not matter how many children you may have.
You cannot claim if you have 3 or more children and have no applied to claim Universal Credit in the previous 6 months. Instead, you will need to apply for Child Tax Credit.
16 or 17
If you are 16 or 17, you will be able to apply for universal credit should any of the following apply to you:
- You are limited in your capability to work or you have obtained medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
- You are the carer of a severely disabled person
- You are responsible for a child
- You are currently in a couple with the responsibility of at least one child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
- If you are pregnant and it is 11 weeks or less before the expected week of childbirth
- If you have had a child in the last 15 weeks
- You do not receive parental support. For example, you are estranged from your parents or you are not under local authority care.
Training or studying full-time
If you are training for a qualification or are studying full time, you can claim if:
- You live with your partner and they are eligible for Universal Credit
- You are responsible for a child, either as a single person or as a couple or if you are both students.
- You are disabled and entitled to the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and have limited capability for work.
- You are in ‘non-advanced education’ and are 21 or under without parental support.
If you have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit, you can claim if you live with a partner who is eligible for Universal Credit. If you are under the qualifying age, you will have to make a joint claim.