The UK Rules
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Universal Credit

Universal Credit Benefits

UC welfare is a single monthly payment which merges and replaces several benefits or tax credits that you already claim from the DWP.


Universal Credit is the all-new simplified benefit system that has slowly been replacing some of the older welfare structure since the introduction of Universal Credit in 2013.

The Department of Work and Pensions expect the complete transition of benefits and tax credits amalgamation into one simple Universal Credit payment to be fully functional before 2018.

This Universal Credit section provides claimants with valuable information regarding the way it is paid and how UC supports people who are earning a low income and helps those who are out of work and need it most by ensuring they are better off in work than claiming benefits.

Universal Credit Replacing Benefits

Universal Credit Replacing BenefitsUniversal Credit is replacing 6 benefits with a single monthly payment.

There is no need for you to change anything if you are already claiming any of the six specific benefits.

Note: You will need to end your Tax Credits claim if you (or your partner) start claiming Universal Credit or if you move in with a partner who is already receiving Universal Credit.

The area where you live may not yet be supported for Universal Credit as the new benefit system is being introduced in stages. Therefore, where you live and your personal circumstances are likely to affect whether you qualify to claim Universal Credit or not.

If you are not living in a qualifying area, and those who are not eligible for claiming Universal Credit, may still be able to make a claim to receive the Jobseeker’s Allowance or other welfare benefits.

How Much is Universal Credit?

The total amount of Universal Credit that you get actually depends on several factors, including your family circumstances, your age, and your household income. You can use an anonymous and free Benefits Calculator to get an estimation of how much you might be awarded when you claim Universal Credit.

When you work out how much money you will get from Universal Credit, the system calculates your maximum household award which is a combination of a single basic allowance and then any additional elements which may apply to you.

Universal Credit Basic Allowance

Table showing UC basic allowances per household and monthly amounts from April 2016.

Personal Allowance 2016 Universal Credit Monthly Amount
Single claimant aged under 25 £251.77 per month
Single claimant aged 25 or over £317.82 per month
Joint claimants both aged under 25 £395.20 per month
Joint claimants either aged 25 or over £498.89 per month
Universal Credit Award for a single person with no children £1,517 per month
Universal Credit Award for a couple or a lone parent £2,167 per month

Universal Credit elements can include welfare support for your housing costs or the cost of raising children and paying for childcare. The extra money may also help those who are disabled with limited capability for work or have a health condition, or for carers who are caring for somebody with a disability.

Note: Those who get Universal Credit to help with housing costs must pay the rent directly to their landlord.

Can You Work and Claim Universal Credit?

If you are eligible for Universal Credit, there are no limits as to the number of hours you can work each week. Even though payments reduce as you earn more, you do not usually lose all your benefits at once - especially if you are earning a low income.

How is Universal Credit Paid?

Even though many other benefits are paid every two weeks, Universal Credit is paid differently and only once a month. As a rule, UC is paid straight into your building society or bank account, or your credit union account. One single payment covers both of you if you live with your partner and you are both claiming Universal.

Your first payment (and a letter of confirmation) should arrive around 6 weeks after your application for Universal Credit is finished. Your letter informs you when you can expect to be paid, how much Universal Credit you will get, and which bank account is being used to receive the payments.

Waiting Period

The waiting period from submitting your claim and starting Universal Credit is seven days. You should contact the Money Advice Service is you need with Universal Credit budgeting and planning.

The Universal Credit 7 day waiting period applies if you are out of work unless you;

How to Claim Universal Credit

The new Universal Credit benefit system allows you to claim online or you can contact the helpline if you have any difficulties or your circumstances change and you need to inform them about your changes.

Universal Credit Contact Number Helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Welsh language (make a claim): 0800 012 1888
Welsh language (report changes): 0345 600 3018
Find out about free and paid call charges in the United Kingdom.

Universal Credit Claimant Commitment

Before you get Universal Credit you must accept a 'Claimant Commitment' agreeing that you will complete certain tasks. The things you agree to depend on your health, your household responsibilities, and what kind of help you need to increase your earnings or join the workplace.

People Also Asked About...

How to Apply for Universal Credit?
There way you apply for UC depends on where you live and what letters your postcode starts with. The Universal Credit full service currently deals with applications in certain areas. Check the full postcode references at the UK Government Universal Credit section.

When are UC Christmas Payments 2016 Paid?
Payment dates for the Christmas Bonus 2016 fall on the 26th and 27th of December. Monday the 2nd of January 2017 is also treated as a public holiday. In this case you should get paid early and most likely by Friday the 30th of December 2016.

What if my Postcode isn't Listed?
If your postcode is not yet listed, you should check to see if you live in an eligible Jobcentre area where you can claim using the Universal Credit service.

What Information do I Need When Applying for UC?
The main information you need to prepare for yourself and anyone who lives with you includes the postcode (with rental agreement if appropriate), National Insurance number, bank account details, your savings amount (capital), income sources (other than your work), details of any other benefits you receive, and Child Benefit numbers of any children living in your household.

How Do I Sign in to the Universal Credit Digital Service?
Signing in to the Universal Credit digital service is helpful for reporting changes, adding notes to your journal, checking your payments, and several other tasks. Check the full UC digital service references at the UK Government Universal Credit digital service facility online.

Universal Credit Benefits System; UK Rules Updated 2017