Universal Credit (UC) - What is Universal Credit (UC)?
Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working-age who are on a low income.
- Last reviewed 29 November 2023
What is Universal Credit (UC)?
It is payable whether or not you're in work.
It can include amounts for housing, the costs of raising children, disability, or being a carer. Which of these you will get depends on your circumstances.
It replaces six means-tested benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Housing Benefit (England, Scotland and Wales) / Housing Benefit (Northern Ireland)
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
The above six benefits are also known as legacy benefits.
Universal Credit is paid monthly. In Scotland, you can choose to have it paid twice a month. Outside of Scotland, you can ask for it to be paid twice monthly but this might be refused.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) works out how much money you get in two steps:
- It works out what it thinks you should need to live on, based on your household’s circumstances, then
- It takes away some of the income you have coming in from the amount of Universal Credit it gives you.
Already claiming legacy benefits?
In most of the UK, you don’t need to do anything if you are already claiming existing legacy benefits and your situation stays the same. If you have had a change of circumstance, see Switching from other benefits.
In some parts of the UK, people are being moved to Universal Credit. If you get a letter telling you your existing benefits are ending and you need to claim Universal Credit, it is important to make a claim on time to continue getting financial support. Read more information in our guide Universal Credit Migration Notice.
Applies to: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
Type of benefit: Means-tested
Administered by: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)