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Universal credit

This content applies to England

Universal credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working age and is intended to cover both living expenses and accommodation costs.

Who can claim universal credit

People must meet the conditions of entitlement to claim universal credit 

Eligibility for universal credit

People can only claim universal credit if they are eligible based on their immigration and residence status. 

Calculating universal credit

Universal credit is made up of a standard allowance and additional elements, with deductions of claimant's earned and unearned income and capital. 

Payment of universal credit

Universal credit is normally made as one payment each month into a claimant's bank account. The DWP has the power to alter this arrangement. 

Deductions from universal credit

A housing cost contribution is deducted from housing cost element if a non-dependant lives with a claimant or if a claimant owes money to DWP or other creditors. 

Universal credit claimant commitment

Most people claiming universal credit must accept allocated work-related commitments and will have their universal credit reduced if they do not comply. 

Changes in circumstances

It is a claimant's responsibility to report changes of circumstances to DWP. A change will affect benefit from the first day of an assessment period. 

How to challenge universal credit decisions

To challenge a universal credit decision, a claimant must first apply for a reconsideration and only then appeal to the tribunal, both within set time limits. 

Transitional protection for universal credit claimants

Transitional protection for claimants who move from existing benefits to universal credit (UC) as part of managed migration. 

Universal credit housing costs payment condition

The housing cost element under universal credit can be claimed for rent payments and service charges. 

Universal credit housing costs liability condition

To be eligible for the housing costs element of universal credit the claimant must be liable to make the payments in respect of the accommodation. 

Universal credit housing costs occupation condition

Housing cost element under universal credit will only be paid towards the accommodation the claimant occupies as their home, with some temporary absence allowed. 

Size-related criteria for universal credit housing costs

Calculation of the housing costs element under universal credit for claimants in private and social rented sector, bedroom entitlement and under-occupancy. 

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