Universal Credit is a means tested benefit for people under retirement age. It can be paid to you if you are in work or out of work, depending on your income and savings.
It is made up of different components called elements. These elements will be awarded to you based on your circumstances. If your income is low, you will receive a standard allowance, and if you rent your home, you may receive money towards your rent. If you have children you may also receive extra money for their costs. (N.B. you only get money for the first two children that you have. Any children born after April 2017 will not be awarded a child element).
Every person’s claim to Universal Credit is calculated based on their specific circumstances. It is typically paid every month, although you can request it to be paid more frequently in some circumstances.
N.B. some people who are on ‘legacy benefits’ (such as ESA) may be better off not claiming Universal Credit straight away. The government have said that by 2024 everyone will be asked to move on to Universal Credit. Those on legacy benefits, in some circumstances, may be better waiting until the government asks them to move to Universal Credit. If you already claim another benefit, seek advice before making a Universal Credit claim.
If you claim this benefit and have mental health needs, you can request a Work Capability Assessment. You can do this by giving Universal Credit a note from your doctor explaining why you cannot work. They will carry out an assessment and may ask you to attend a medical. If they find you have Limited Capability for Work Related Activity, you may be eligible for extra money.
You can claim this benefit if you are in hospital. However, if you are in hospital over 6 months, Universal Credit may stop paying money towards your rent.
You can apply for Universal Credit either online or by phone.
Further information about Universal Credit can be found here: