Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working age who are on a low income.
It replaces six means-tested benefits:
These six benefits are also known as legacy benefits.
Universal Credit is paid monthly and includes an element for rent. Claimants are expected to pay their rent from the monthly Universal Credit they receive.
You can apply for Universal Credit now. If you choose to apply sooner, it’s important to get independent advice before you do as you will not be able to go back to your old benefits that Universal Credit replaces. Many claimants could be financially better off on Universal Credit. You could take advantage of this by choosing to apply for Universal Credit sooner if you think it’s right for you. Otherwise, you will be moved across by the Department for Work and Pensions by 2024.
Do be aware, if you move over to Universal Credit this cannot be undone. If you are not sure you will be better off, get advice in the first instance.
Before you start to use the calculator, there are a few things you will need to know. It will be easier for you to work through all the questions if you have gathered this information for you and your partner, if you have one.
You may be asked to enter your income from benefits. If you don’t know how much you get, your most recent award letter will tell you.
If you don’t have the exact information that you need, it is possible to complete the process using estimates, but please be aware that the results may not be correct for you.
These calculators use information about your benefits and calculate if you are better off on Universal Credit or not. You will need to have your benefits information to hand when using either of these calculators. It should take around 15-30 minutes. There are 2 options from Entitled to and Turn2us.
To get Universal Credit you must:
If you live with a partner, their income and savings will be taken into account.
You can get Universal Credit if you’re living with other people but it might affect how much you get. For example, living with parents might mean you get less help with housing costs.
You can get Universal Credit if you’re self-employed - the application process is the same.
Whether you’ll be able to get Universal Credit depends on your situation.
Eventually the government will move all working age benefit claimants on to Universal Credit but for now you only need to claim it if you have a change in circumstances. Examples could be:
Some people on the old ‘legacy benefits’ may be better off claiming Universal Credit instead.
People who are likely to be better off:
People who are likely to be worse off:
Try this calculator for more support.
WARNING - once you apply for Universal Credit, you cannot undo this. If you're not sure whether you will be better off, get advice first.
You can ask for the ‘rent element’ of your Universal Credit to be paid directly to your landlord. Aspire Housing can help process this for you, you can ask for this when you become a tenant or at any time during your tenancy by contacting our rent team.
Help with your council tax is still processed by the council. Contact your local council and apply for a council tax reduction.
Click here for up to date information on getting a basic bank account where you don’t need a good credit rating and you can’t go overdrawn.
Citizens Advice has a helpline specifically to help people making a claim for Universal Credit. Click here for more information.
Our award-winning Money Advice Team can help you with all issues relating to money. You can speak to them on the phone, have a meeting using Microsoft Teams, chat with them on our website or visit one of our face to face surgeries in the Newcastle borough – click here for more information.
We also recommend these websites:
Money Helper – click here
Citizens Advice – click here
Click here for a 'Understand Universal – Get The Facts' leaflet.
If you have more questions about Universal Credit or benefits, head over to our FAQ's for more support.