Universal credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working age and is intended to cover both living expenses and accommodation costs.
Last updated: 10 February 2021
People must meet the conditions of entitlement to claim universal credit
People can only claim universal credit if they are eligible based on their immigration and residence status.
Universal credit is made up of a standard allowance and additional elements, with deductions of claimant's earned and unearned income and capital.
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.
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.
Most people claiming universal credit must accept allocated work-related commitments and will have their universal credit reduced if they do not comply.
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.
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 claimants who move from existing benefits to universal credit (UC) as part of managed migration.
The housing cost element under universal credit can be claimed for rent payments and service charges.
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.
Housing cost element under universal credit will only be paid towards the accommodation the claimant occupies as their home, with some temporary absence allowed.
Calculation of the housing costs element under universal credit for claimants in private and social rented sector, bedroom entitlement and under-occupancy.