Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

How to claim universal credit

Who can get universal credit

You can usually get universal credit (UC) if you:

You can be in or out of work.

Some students can get UC but most cannot.

If you're 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.

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

Your UC goes into one bank account each month. If you have separate bank accounts you have to choose which account it goes into.

You can ask for your UC to be paid separately if:

  • you're at risk of domestic or financial abuse

  • your partner cannot manage a monthly payment

This is called a split payment.

If you’re 16 or 17

Most 16 and 17 year olds cannot get UC.

You can sometimes claim if you:

  • care for a disabled person

  • are pregnant or responsible for a child

  • do not have to look for work due to illness or disability

  • cannot live with your parents or they cannot support you

Social services give you money to live on if you're a care leaver.

If you're pension age

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

You do not have to work or look for work on UC but your partner may have to.

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

Last updated: 5 April 2023

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help