How to claim universal credit

Who can get universal credit

You can usually get universal credit if you:

You can be in or out of work.

Most full time students cannot get universal credit but there are exceptions.

Claiming universal credit as a couple

You must claim as a couple if you live together as a couple. You do not have to be married or civil partners to count as a couple.

Your joint income and savings are used to work out if you qualify and how much you get.

Universal credit is paid as a monthly payment into one bank account. If you have separate bank accounts you will have to agree whose account it goes into.

You can request a split payment if you're at risk of domestic or financial abuse, or if your partner will not or cannot manage a monthly payment. For example, because of addiction problems.

If you’re 16 or 17

Most 16 and 17 year olds cannot get universal credit.

You can sometimes claim if you:

  • are pregnant or responsible for a child

  • have caring responsibilities for a disabled person

  • cannot live your parents or they cannot support you

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

If you're pension age

You can only get universal credit if you live with a partner who is working age.

You will not have to work or look for work on universal credit but your partner may have to.

If you live alone or with a partner who is also pension age and you have a low retirement income, you can usually get:

  • housing benefit to help with rent

  • pension credit for your other living costs

Last updated: 10 April 2022

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