Universal Credit: what is it and who can apply for it?
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a government grant that helps you pay for the costs of everyday life and it is usually paid monthly.
You may be able to get it if you have a low income, if you are not working or if you cannot work for several reasons.
Universal Credit includes the following benefits:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
You could get Universal Credit if:
- You have a low income or are jobless.
- You are at least 18 years old and studying.
- You are at least 18 years old and do not have family support.
- You are of state retirement age (or your partner is).
- Your family’s savings are no more than £ 16,000.
- You reside in the UK.
The number of children can affect the amount of the benefit.
If you live with your partner
Your partner’s income and savings will accumulate towards Universal Credit.
If you are at least 18 years old and are studying full time
You can re-apply for Universal Credit if any of the following are true:
- Your partner (who lives with you) is eligible for Universal Credit.
- You have a dependent child.
- You have a disability that limits your ability to work.
- You do not have the support of your parents and you are not under the care of the authorities.
If you are studying full time
You can also apply for Universal Credit if you are attending full-time postgraduate courses and:
- You don’t have parental support.
- You have limited work capacity and are eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
- You are in charge of a child.
- You are a couple with child responsibility and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit.
Your Universal Credit consists of a standard allowance and any additional amounts depending on:
- Presence of dependent children.
- Having a health condition that prevents you from working.
- Difficulty paying the rent.
The standard amount varies according to income. See the reference tables.
- YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
- Single and under 25 years old
- Single and over 25 years old
- As a couple and both of you are under 25 years old
- As a couple and both of you are over 25 years old
- STANDARD MONTHLY PAYMENT
- £ 342.72
- £ 409.89
- £ 488.59 (for both)
- £ 594.04 (for both)
If you have children
If you have 1 or 2 children, you will get an additional amount for each child.
If you have 3 or more children, you will get an additional amount for at least 2 children. You can get an additional amount for more children if the following conditions are met:
- Your children were born before April 6, 2017.
- You applied for 3 or more children before April 6, 2017.
- However, there are always other exceptions.
- HOW MUCH YOU COULD RECEIVE
- For the first child
- For the second child or any other children
- If your child is disabled
- If you need help with childcare
- EXTRA MONTHLY PAYMENT
- £ 281.25 (born before April 6, 2017) £ 235.83 (born after April 6, 2017)
- £ 235.83 for each child
- £ 128.25 or £ 400.29
- up to 85% of all costs (up to £ 646.35 for one child and £ 1,108.04 for two or more children)
You could get money to help pay for housing costs. How much you get depends on your age and circumstances.
The payment may cover the rent and some service charges.
The value of Universal Credit is relative to your income
If your income increases while receiving Universal Credit, the value of the subsidy will decrease by 63 p for each additional euro earned.
How do you receive the payment
The Universal Credit is credited to your bank account once a month.
The credit may include the amount for the accommodation to be paid to the landlord.
If you don’t have a checking account and are having difficulty opening it, call the Universal Credit helpline and provide an alternative payment method.
Your first payment
It usually takes about 5 weeks to get your first payment.
The wait before the first credit is due to an evaluation period of your position.
If you need help with your living expenses while waiting for your first benefit, you can apply for an advance payment.
Dates of payments
With reference to the date of the first payment, the following will be monthly payment after 30 days.
If the next payment date falls on a public holiday, you will receive the benefit the business day prior to the due date.
What is needed to submit the application
You will need:
- Your checking account details.
- Email address.
- Information about your accommodation, for example the rent cost.
- Details of your income, for example pay slips.
- Details on savings and any investments, eg. shares or rental properties.
- Details of how much you pay for the care of your children.
Report a change in circumstances
In order to continue receiving Universal Credit, you must provide – through the journal of your Universal Credit account – any changes of circumstances.
The Universal Credit payment may be stopped or reduced if you do not immediately signal a change in circumstances.
Changes may include:
- You have found a job or you have stopped working
- You had a son
- You moved in with your partner
- You take care of a child or a disabled person
- You changed your residence
- You changed your bank details
- The cost of your rent has changed
- There have been changes in your health condition
- Your illness has worsened and you can no longer work
- Your monthly salary has changed
You can contact the Universal Credit switchboard on 0800 328 5644.
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