Universal Credit

UC Universal Credit Logo.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age (between 18 years old and State Pension age, usually) who are on a low income or need help with living costs. Universal Credit is typically given in a single monthly payment.

It is also possible to receive payments twice a month through an Alternative Payment Arrangement, or if you live in Scotland you’ll be contacted about whether you want to be paid monthly or fortnightly.

Who is eligible for Universal Credit?

Different factors are taken into account to determine if you’re eligible for Universal Credit or not.

You must:

  • live in the UK
  • be aged 18 or over (although you can sometimes claim Universal Credit aged 16–17)
  • be under State Pension age (or have a partner who is under State Pension age)
  • have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investment

You can find more details on who can get Universal Credit on the GOV.UK website.

How is Universal Credit worked out?

Universal Credit is made up of a standard allowance, plus you may get more money on top of your standard allowance if you’re eligible. You may be eligible for additional income if you have an illness or disability, have children, provide care for someone who is severely disabled, or towards additional housing costs. 

If you’re eligible, you may receive Universal Credit when working (until your earnings are at a level which would cause your payments to stop). Universal Credit exists to support those on a low income or who need help with living costs, whether you’re working, unable to work, or even studying.

You can find more details on who can get Universal Credit on the GOV.UK website.

How much money will I get on Universal Credit?

The total amount of Universal Credit you can get will depend on your individual circumstances, but the standard rates are currently:

  • Single person under 25: £265.31
  • Single person 25 and over: £334.91
  • If you live with your partner and are under 25: £416.45 (for you both)
  • If you live with your partner and either of you are 25 and over: £525.72 (for you both)

The extra amounts you may be entitled to are explained in full on the GOV.UK website.

You can apply for Universal Credit online. You’ll need to have a few things ready, such as:

  • your bank, building society or credit union account details
  • an email address
  • access to a phone
  • proof of identity (such as a driving licence, passport, debit or credit card, payslip or P60)
  • information about your housing costs, earnings, childcare costs, savings and investments, and any disability or health conditions that affect your ability to work.

It usually takes about 5 weeks from applying to getting your first payment (this includes a one-month assessment period and a week for the payment to get to your account). You might need an in-person or phone appointment with the Universal Credit team during this time if they need more information or you can’t verify your identity online. 

The GOV.UK website has more information on how to claim Universal Credit, as well as help available to support you through your application. It also explains how to apply for an advance if you need money while you’re waiting for your first payment.

Universal Credit United Kingdom: log in

If you have already applied for (or already claim) Universal Credit, you can log in to your account using the link below.

Will I get the Cost of Living Payment if I claim Universal Credit?

If you claim Universal Credit, you may be entitled to the Cost of Living Payment. If you are, the payments will be paid to you automatically.

To get the first Cost of Living Payment of £326, you must have been deemed entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended between 26 April 2022 to 25 May 2022.

You’ll then get the second Cost of Living Payment of £324 in autumn 2022. You will be eligible for the second Cost of Living Payment of £324 if you were deemed entitled to a payment (or later found to be entitled to a payment) of Universal Credit for an assessment period that ended in the period 26 August 2022 to 25 September 2022.

Will Universal Credit increase in 2022?

Universal Credit and other benefits will not be increasing in 2022. However, they are expected to go up in April 2023, as part of the usual annual uprating’.

The exact amount your own personal Universal Credit payment goes up by will depend on the inflation rate, and your individual entitlement, at the time.