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Welfare reform

Universal Credit

​​​​​​​​​What is Universal Credit?Universal Credit

The Department for Work and Pensions has produced a short YouTube video, What is Universal Credit?
  • Universal Credit combines 6 benefits including Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as those who are out of work
  • Applications are made online
  • Universal Credit is responsive – as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they’ll get ongoing support, giving people more incentive to work for any period of time that is available
  • You'll receive 1 monthly payment, paid into a bank or building society account
  • You'll have to pay the rent and housing costs directly to your landlord

Universal Credit will be administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. Information about who's eligible, how to make a claim and more is available on the GOV.UK website.

A guide to Universal Credit on GOV.UK

Get ready for Universal Credit

To see how ready you are for the changes and find out what you can do to prepare use the personal planner The Money Advice service has produced a short video, Get Ready for Universal Credit
  • Make sure you have a bank or building society account. An account with a direct debit facility may be useful for paying bills, rent and Council Tax. Getting a bank account
  • If you're a couple who live together you'll need to open a joint bank account as the Universal Credit payment will be for the whole household
  • If you're not confident using a computer or the internet get FREE training at a library
  • If you think you'll find it difficult to manage getting all your benefits in one monthly payment, or you're struggling to manage your money,  contact an advice agency for help on how to manage your money
  • If you're not in work or on a low income you'll be required to look for work or increase your earnings. Get help with jobs, careers and training

Get help finding work

Check your eligibility and make a claim

Check your eligibility and make a claim for Universal Credit

Changes to Universal Credit for existing claimants

From April 2016, the Work Allowance (which is the Universal Credit equivalent of Working Tax Credits) for non-disabled households without children reduced to zero.

​​All other allowances are ​simplified to a rate of £192 per month for households with housing costs and £397 per month for households without housing costs.

What does this mean for you?

The amount of Universal Credit you receive will gradually reduce as you earn more money, but unlike Job Seekers Allowance your payment won’t just stop.​ 

The examples below are based on persons who are 25 and on the new National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour. All figures are approximate; please speak to a benefits adviser for a calculation ​based on your individual circumstances.

Single person, no children, renting a 1 bedroom house.

​From​​​Hours worked (per week) Universal Credit paymentWages (per month) ​Total (per month)
April ​2016​16​£​0​​£500.57​£500.57
April ​2016​30​£0​​​​£895.72​£895.72
April 2015​​16£​64.60£500.57​£565.17
April ​2015​30​£0​£895.72​£895.72

Couple, no children, renting a 1 bedroom house.

​From​​Hours worked (per week) Universal Credit paymentWages (per month)​Total (per month)
​April ​2016​16£​173.52£500.57​£674.09
​April ​2016​​​​30​£0​£895.72​£895.72
​April 2015​16​£245.67​£500.57​£746.24
​April 2015​30​£0​£895.72​£895.72

Single person, 1 child, renting a 1 bedroom house.

From​​​Hours worked (per week) Universal Credit paymentWages (per month) ​Total (per month)
​April 2016​16£​471.75£500.57​£972.32
​April 2016​30​£309.25​£895.72​£1,204.97
​April 2015​16​£633.42​£500.57​£1,133.99
​April 2015​30​£566.10​£895.72​£1,461.82

Couple, 1 child, renting a 1 bedroom house.

​From​​Hours worked (per week) Universal Credit paymentWages (per month) ​Total (per month)
April 2016​16£​708.6​5£500.57​£1,209.22
​April 2016​30​£451.80​£895.72​£1,347.52
​April 2015​16​£775.97​£500.57​£1,276​.54
​April 2015​30​£542.15​£895.72​£1,437.87​

​More information on other benefit changes can be found on Welfare reforms - changes to the benefits system​.