What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a benefit that the Government is introduced in October 2013 to replace a number of existing means-tested benefits. If you are of working age and have a low income (whether you are working or not), you may be entitled to claim Universal Credit.

This is a benefit that brings a number of means-tested benefits into a single monthly payment. The benefits included are:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Budgeting loans (an advance payment of Universal Credit will replace these)

At the moment, Universal Credit has only been rolled out to a limited number of local authorities, and in these areas, only people with certain circumstances have been transferred over. The DWP is not transferring over claimants with a disability yet, so it is very unlikely you will be transferred over to Universal Credit at the moment. The Government hopes to have completed the national rollout of Universal Credit to all claimants by the end of 2017.

Universal Credit started to be introduced in England, Scotland and Wales in October 2013 and in Northern Ireland September 2017. If you're circumstances don't change you will be moved over to Universal Credit between July 2019 and March 2022.

To find out if Universal Credit has been rolled out in your area, see Universal Credit Digital Test information.

We also have a list of when Universal Credit will start in Northern Ireland by Jobs & Benefits or Social Security office that adminsters the benefit:

There's more information about Universal Credit, including the rates, in our factsheet: 

For more advice and support about Universal Credit and other benefits please contact our Helpline on:

Debt Advice

Universal Credit has a number of aspects that could leave you without income or with a reduced income for short-term and long-term periods of time. If you are having difficulties resulting from Universal Credit, or are worried you will do if you have to claim, see “Can I get help with my debts” for help finding expert debt advisers.

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