Universal Credit

Universal Credit replaces six other benefits with a single monthly payment if you’re out of work or on a low income. Most people now need to apply for this instead of Housing Benefit.

Universal Credit is a new working-age benefit being introduced as part of the government’s welfare reforms and is replacing the following six benefits:

  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income Support 
  • Working Tax Credit 
  • Housing Benefit 

Universal Credit replaces these six benefits with one single monthly payment to support to people on a low income who have savings under £16,000.

Once you have claimed Universal Credit, your Housing Benefit and payments of the other benefits and Tax Credit Universal Credit replaces will end and you will not be able to reclaim these benefits in future.

How and when to claim Universal Credit  - get advice before making a claim

You’ll only need to claim Universal Credit if your circumstances change,  and as a result of the change,  you  need to make a new claim for any of the six benefits and tax credits listed above which Universal Credit  replaces. Not all changes require you to make a  new claim for Universal Credit. For example, you do not need to start a new claim if you move house and stay in  Lambeth,  you just need to complete the change of circumstances form

It can be difficult to understand what changes of circumstance require you to make a new claim.  

Some people will find themselves worse off when they claim Universal Credit, so get advice if you’re unsure whether you should be claiming.  

It’s important to check before making the claim because you cannot reclaim the legacy benefits  Universal Credit is replacing at a later date, even if you claimed Universal Credit by mistake or as a result of being misadvised.

If you need help  

The Citizens Advice Bureau provide a "Help to Claim" service  and can explain when and why you may need to claim Universal Credit and if you need to apply help you make the claim. For more information, visit their website.

Get advice if you're unsure whether you should be claiming Universal Credit

Find out how to claim Universal Credit - GOV.UK

Even if you need to make a new claim for Universal Credit you will still need to claim Housing Benefit for help with your rent if you:

  • live in temporary or supported accommodation or a hostel
  • receive a disability benefit and satisfy the conditions for a ‘severe disability premium’
  • are old enough to get State Pension Credit Check if you are classed as pensioner by using GOV.UK’s state pension age calculator ( include link).

Universal Credit does not replace our Council Tax Reduction Scheme called Council Tax Support or free school meals. If you need help to pay council tax, you will still need to claim Council Tax Support.