How to claim universal credit

Who can claim

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 don't 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 won't or can't 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

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

  • don't live with your parents because you can't live with them or they can't support you

If you're pension age

You cannot get universal credit if you're pension age unless you live with a partner who is working age. You won't be expected to work or look for work while on universal credit but your partner may have to.

If you - and your partner if you live with them - are pension age, you can apply for housing benefit to help with rent.

You could also get pension credit if you have a low retirement income. For example, you only get the state pension.

Last updated: 4 October 2021

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