2 minutes

Universal Credit is a single payment for each household, to help with living costs for those on a low income or out of work. Support for housing costs, children and childcare costs are integrated into Universal Credit. It also provides additions for people with a disability, health condition, or caring responsibilities which may prevent them from working.

It was first introduced in Ashton-Under-Lyne in April 2013 and replaces:


  • Claimants are on a low income or out of work
  • Must be 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • Must be under State Pension age current retirement age is 67
  • The claimant and partner must have less than £16,000 or less in savings between them
  • Must reside in the UK

The main features of Universal Credit are:

  • it is available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work
  • it is responsive to earnings, whereby the monthly Universal Credit payment will adjust accordingly as claimants move in and out of work
  • most claimants on low incomes will still be paid Universal Credit and receive work coach support when they start a new job or increase their hours
  • claimants will receive a single monthly household payment paid into a bank account. In some cases, payment can be split between claimants in a household
  • support with housing costs will usually go direct to the claimant, and in some cases, this can be paid directly to the landlord instead
  • most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account

Universal Credit has been gradually rolled out in stages. It was initially available to a limited range of claimants, principally single working age people with no children and seeking work. The national expansion of Universal Credit to the full range of claimants was started in May 2016. By December 2018 it was available in every Jobcentre across Great Britain. A pilot for the managed migration of claimants on benefits being replaced by Universal Credit began in July 2019 in Harrogate, fall claimants are expected to be moved by 2024.

For more information visit the Government Website here