Who can claim Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a payment for people over 18 but under State Pension age who are on a low income or out of work. In some circumstances you can claim if you are 16 or 17, in full-time training or a full-time student.
Universal Credit eligibility
To get Universal Credit, you must:
- be aged 18 or over (16 or 17 in certain circumstances)
- be under State Pension age
- not be in full time education or training (unless exceptions apply)
- not have savings over £16,000
You’ll get less Universal Credit if you have savings over £6,000 or you earn enough money to cover your basic living costs.
If you live with a partner as a couple you will need to make a joint claim. You will be treated as a couple if you and your partner are:
- married to each other
- in a civil partnership
- living together as if you were married
If you are 16 or 17
If you are 16 or 17 you can get Universal Credit if any of the following apply:
- you have limited capability for work or you have medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
- you are a carer for a severely disabled person
- you are single and responsible for a child
- you are part of a couple who are responsible for at least one child, and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
- you are at least 29 weeks pregnant
- you have had a child in the last 15 weeks
- you don’t have parental support (for example, you don’t have parents and you’re not under local authority care)
If you are in training or studying full-time
If you are in full-time training or are a full-time student, you can get Universal Credit if any of the following apply:
- you are part of a couple and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
- you are part of a couple who is responsible for at least one child, and one (or both) of you is a student
- you are single and are responsible for a child
- you are over the qualifying age for Pension Credit (which is increasing in line with the increasing State Pension age) or, in joint claims where your partner is under that age
- you are 21 or under, in full-time ‘non-advanced education’ (for example, studying for A levels or a BTEC National Diploma), and you don’t have parental support (for example, you don’t have parents and you’re not under local-authority care)
- you are disabled, have been assessed as having Limited Capability for Work (LCW) or Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity, (LWRA) and receive:
- Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
If you're Pension Credit age but your partner is not
If you live with a partner who is under the qualifying age for Pension Credit and is eligible for Universal Credit you can still make a joint claim for Universal Credit.
If you get Severe Disability Premium
From February 2021 if you are receiving Severe Disability Premium and you have a change in your circumstances, you may move onto Universal Credit. You will be eligible for transitional payments to make sure you don’t lose money when you move. This known as Transitional Protection.
You must report any changes in your circumstances to make sure you are getting the right payments.
If you are a Frontier or cross border worker
Frontier/Cross-border worker is a term used to describe a person who pursues employment in one country while residing in another country.
If you live in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) but work in Northern Ireland you may make a claim to Universal Credit as a frontier/cross border worker.
You can read further information on Frontier and cross border workers claiming Universal Credit or speak with the Universal Credit Service Centre.
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in Northern Ireland
If you are a British or Irish citizen living in Northern Ireland and receiving social security benefits or State Pension after the UK left the EU on 1 January 2021 you will continue to receive your benefit payments. You do not need to do anything.
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in Northern Ireland before 31 December 2020 you can only access social security benefits if you have been granted settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to apply to the scheme was 30 June 2021 for most people, but you might still be able to apply for EU Settled Status.
You may be able to get the benefits listed below.
- Carer’s Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (parts of Constant Attendance Allowance and Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance may not be included)
- Maternity Allowance
- State Pension
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance
- New Style Employment and Support Allowance
If you or your partner get any of the benefits listed above, the amount you get will be taken off your Universal Credit payments.
Help with health and travel costs
If you are claiming Universal Credit you may be able to get help with health and travel costs for you, your partner or your children. You may be able to get help with the cost of:
- dental treatment
- eye sight tests
- glasses or contact lenses
- travel for treatment on referral by a doctor or dentist
More information is available at Help with health costs
Help with other costs
If you are claiming Universal Credit you may be able to get the following help:
- Rate Rebate
- Support for Mortgage Interest
- Help with health costs
- Free school lunches
- School uniform grants
- School transport
- Help from the Healthy Start scheme
- Legal aid
- Cold Weather Payments
- Social Fund Sure Start Maternity Grant
- Funeral Expenses Payments
- Information on the pre-school application process
- BT Home Essentials - a simple low cost phone service
- Your local council may offer concessionary rates for some services.