How to claim universal credit

Who can claim

You can usually claim universal credit if you're aged 18 or over and on a low income.

You can be in or out of work and you must:

Your partner’s savings also count if you claim as a couple.

Most full time students can't claim universal credit but there are exceptions.

If you’re 16 or 17

You can sometimes claim universal credit if you:

  • are pregnant or responsible for a child

  • have caring responsibilities for a disabled person

  • are not expected to seek work due to illness or disability

  • don't live with your parents because you're estranged from them or they can't support you financially

Universal credit or housing benefit?

Most people must apply for universal credit when making a new benefits claim to help with rent and other living costs.

You can still make a new claim for housing benefit if any of the following apply:

  • you - and your partner if you live with them - are pension age

  • you're staying in a refuge, hostel or some types of supported or temporary housing

If you already get housing benefit you can continue to do so unless a change in your situation means you have to claim universal credit instead.

Mixed age couples

You're a mixed age couple if one of you is pension age and the other is working age.

From 15 May 2019, most mixed age couples must claim universal credit if they need to make a new claim for help with housing or living costs. 

Use the AgeUK benefits calculator to check your entitlement now

Last updated: 31 January 2021

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