Universal Credit if you're unemployed
You can get Universal Credit if you are over 18, under State Pension age and unemployed or on a low income.
If you have been made redundant
If you have been made redundant from your job, information on support and benefits is available at Redundancy and looking for work. Your local Jobs & Benefits Office will also provide support and advice.
New style Jobseekers Allowance
Universal Credit replaced Jobseeker’s Allowance. However, if you have been credited with enough National Insurance contributions, you may be entitled to New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance. Your partner’s income and savings won’t affect how much you’re paid.
You can get New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance for up to 182 days. Depending on your circumstances, it can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit.
You can get further information on New Style JSA or you can speak with your Work Coach.
Universal Credit if you're unemployed
To get Universal Credit you must do everything you can to find work or increase your earnings. Universal Credit aims to make sure you are better off in work than on benefits and gives you the support you need to prepare for work, start work or increase your earnings.
There is no limit to the number of hours you can work in a week if you get Universal Credit. Your Universal Credit payments will reduce as you earn more. This lets you take temporary or seasonal jobs without having to make a new claim.
Universal Credit includes support for the cost of housing, children and childcare, as well as support if you are disabled and for carers and people who are too ill to work.
The basic amount of Universal Credit is called the Standard Allowance which is an amount for you, or you and a partner. Depending on your circumstances, you may get an additional amount of Universal Credit if you have children, if you pay for childcare or a payment to help cover housing costs.
Additional amounts are also available for people who cannot be expected to work because of a disability or health condition, or because they provide a significant amount of care to someone with a disability.
To get Universal Credit you will need to agree your Commitment through your online account. Your Commitment sets out what you need to do to prepare for work, look for work or increase your earnings.
You will regularly discuss and update your Commitment with your Work Coach and you will need to agree the Commitment each time to keep getting Universal Credit.
The actions set out in your Commitment will depend on things like your health, your responsibilities at home and how much help you need to start working or increase your income.
Looking for work
To get Universal Credit, you will need to look for and prepare for work.
Work search actions could include:
- registering with job search websites or recruitment agencies
- searching for jobs on the internet and newspapers
- attending jobs fairs
- applying for jobs
Further information is available
Preparing for work
Work preparation actions could include:
- preparing a CV
- attending and completing a training course
- completing a free essential skills course to improve your reading, writing, maths or IT skills
You can volunteer while you are receiving benefits provided the work you do is unpaid and you meet the rules of your benefit.
If you get Universal Credit, the voluntary work or activity agreed in your commitment can count towards your work search requirement. The time agreed can be up to 50 per cent of your expected number of hours per week for work search.
How your work coach can help if you're unemployed
It is important that you keep in contact with your Work Coach through your Universal Credit journal and let them know if your situation changes to make sure you keep getting the right amount of Universal Credit.
Your Work Coach will contact you by telephone to discuss what activities you can do to help you move into employment, and to offer support to help you prepare for work and to get a job.
You can watch the Universal Credit Guide on what your Universal Credit work coach or case manager do
Help and Support
If you would like independent help and advice on Universal Credit or any other benefits, you can visit any independent advice office or contact: