Universal credit: How to claim

Who can claim

To claim universal credit, you usually need to:

You can claim universal credit if you are working or unemployed.

You can apply as an individual or as a couple if you live with a partner. Your partner’s income and savings will be considered as part of the claim.

If you’re a full-time student or in training, you may be able to claim universal credit in some circumstances.

If you’re 16 or 17

You can claim universal credit in some circumstances.

This includes if you:

  • are not expected to seek work due to illness or disability
  • have caring responsibilities for a disabled person
  • are pregnant or responsible for a child
  • aren’t supported by your parents

If you or your partner are pension age

You should claim housing benefit instead if you need help with rent.

You may get other benefits such as pension credit to help with other living costs if you're on a low income.

Mixed age couples

From 15 May 2019 you can't usually make a new housing benefit claim as a couple unless you've both reached pension age. Mixed age couples will usually have to claim universal credit instead.

If you already get housing benefit because one of you is pension age, you can continue to receive it after this date.

You'll be financially worse off on universal credit so it's important to claim housing benefit and pension credit before 15 May 2019 if you qualify.

Use the AgeUK benefits calculator to check your entitlement now

Last updated 12 Feb 2019 | © Shelter

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