Universal Credit is a monthly payment that can be made to you to help with your living costs if you are on a low income. It is a means-tested benefit and can be claimed alongside other benefits, including Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
People eligible for Universal Credit include:
- People on a low income or those who are out of work.
- Are aged 18 or over (some people can claim them if they are 16 to 17).
- Are younger than the State Pension Credit qualifying age.
- Have less than £16,000 in savings (including the savings of their partner).
- Live in the UK.
If you live with your partner, then their income and savings are also assessed to check your eligibility for Universal Credit, even if they are not eligible themselves.
How much Universal Credit will I receive?
The amount you will receive in Universal Credit will depend on several things, including your household income and circumstances of all members of the household. The payments will be made up of your basic allowance and any additional elements you are eligible for.
This will depend on whether you are claiming on your own, or if you are claiming as a couple and how old you are. There is one basic allowance for each type of household:
- Single claimant aged under 25: £251.77 per month
- Single claimant aged 25 and over: £317.82 per month
- Couple claimant both aged under 25: £395.20 per month
- Couple claimant either aged 25 or over: £498.89 per month
You may qualify for additional elements if:
- You have 1 or 2 children who you are responsible for and who normally live with you. If you have 3 or more children, you will need to claim Child Tax Credit.
- You are paying for registered childcare when you go to work. If you are claiming as a couple, both of you must be in work unless the non-working partner has limited or no capacity to work, is a carer for a severely disabled person or is temporarily absent from the household.
- You have limited capability to work or have limited capability for work-related activity and have satisfied the Work Capability Assessment.
- You are a carer for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week.
- You can claim money for housing benefits.
How do I apply for Universal Credit?
There are several ways to start a claim for Universal Credit.
Online – you can complete your application for Universal Credit online through the government website.
Phone – you can also apply by phone by calling the Universal Credit Helpline:
- Telephone: 0800 328 9344
- Textphone: 0800 328 1344
After you have applied either online or over the phone, you will usually have to attend a face-to-face meeting at your local Jobcentre. At this interview, you must agree on a claimant commitment which sets out what you must to do to continue to receive Universal Credit. If you fail to meet the requirements of the claimant commitment, your Universal Credit may be stopped.
How is Universal Credit paid?
You will be paid Universal Credit through a single monthly payment made in arrears. You will receive your first payment at least five weeks after your application. The payments will be made into one bank account nominated by the household. If you require financial assistance before these five weeks, you can apply for an advance on your first payment online.
You can find out whether you are eligible for Universal Credit and how much you are likely to receive by using the government benefits calculator.
About CFG Law and claiming compensation
If you are struggling financially after an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to claim compensation to help ease the burden. At CFG Law, we are specialist serious injury solicitors, who provide legal advice together with financial, physical and emotional support.
We can help you with benefits advice and applications, and can also provide input should you need to appeal any decision on benefits. We also have an emergency fund that can help to ease the strain before any payments of benefits.