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Universal Credit

If you’re on a low income or currently unemployed, you may be eligible for Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a simpler, monthly payment that replaces and merges together other benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Income Support. The government is hoping to have everyone transitioned over to this system by the end of 2017. If you’re already claiming benefits then you don’t need to do anything.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. Whether you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. See www.gov.uk/guidance/jobcentres-where-you-can-claim-universal-credit for a list of areas where you can claim Universal Credit. You may still be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or other benefits even if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit.

The amount of Universal Credit you’ll receive depends on your circumstances and income. It can include support for housing, children and childcare, disabilities or other health conditions or caring for someone with a disability. There are no limits to the number of hours per week you can work while receiving Universal Credit, but your payment will reduce gradually the more you earn. You’ll never lose all your benefits at once while you’re on a low income.

Claim Universal Credit online at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. If you have any questions, or your circumstances have changed since applying for Universal Credit, call the helpline on 0345 600 0723.

For full guidance see www.gov.uk/universal-credit

More on fees and funding