Universal credit: How to claim


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

If you or your partner are pension age

If you're both pension age and need help with rent, you should claim housing benefit instead of universal credit.

You may also qualify for other benefits such as pension credit if you're on a low income.

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 instead of housing benefit and pension credit.

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

Use the AgeUK benefits calculator to check your entitlement now


Last updated 13 Aug 2019 | © Shelter

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