Hamza Alyas

Universal credit is a payment to help a person with his living costs. It is usually paid monthly in the UK or twice a month for some of the people living in Scotland. The person who is on a low income, cannot work or out work can get it. 

Universal credit is a replacement for the following tax credits and benefits:

  • Housing benefit 
  • Income support
  • Child tax credit 
  • Working tax credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance

If a person is getting any of these tax credits or benefits, he doesn’t need to do anything unless and until either 


  • His circumstances change
  • He gets a letter named Migration Notice telling him that he must claim and get his Universal credit

If someone gets a migration notice, he must move to Universal Credit within 3 months to keep getting financial support. Universal credit doesn’t affect any other benefits a person is getting, for example, Carer’s allowance or PIP (Personal Independence payment).

A migration Notice letter is received when some of the existing benefits will be ending soon. The person needs to move to the Universal Credit. 

Eligibility criteria:

A person who is on low income or need help with living cost may be able to get Universal credit.

A person could be:

  • Working (includes part-time or self-employed)
  • Out of work
  • Can’t work for example because of health issues

The person willing to get universal credit should:

  1. Live in the UK
  2. Is 18 years old or over (some exceptions are there for 16 to 17 years old children)
  3. Have 16000 pounds or less in money, investments, and savings
  4. Is under state pension age

When a person lives with his/her partner, they both need to claim Universal Credit. The person should have joint control of the household, even when his/her partner is not eligible. The amount that will be received depends on the income and savings of the partner as the person. 

If one of the partners has reached state pension age, both of you can still claim universal credit as a couple. But once both reach out the State Pension age, universal credit claims will be stopped. 

If a person is getting pension credit, it will stop if one of the partners claims for universal credit. Pension credit is usually better to stay on. A benefits calculator can be used for this kind of calculation.

A person can claim universal credit if he is in full-time education. Universal credit can be claimed even if the person is 21 or under, studying any qualification to A level or equivalent, and does not have the support of parents. It can also be claimed if the person is studying part-time or is doing a course for which no finance or student loan is available. 

Students who have disabilities or health conditions can claim Universal Credit if they are in full-time education. Limited capability for work should be assessed by a Work Capability Assessment before starting the course. 

Students must also be entitled to at least one of the following:

  • Attendance allowance 
  • Personal independence payment 
  • Disability living allowance 
  • Armed Forces independence payment 
  • Adult disability payment 
  • Adult disability payment in Scotland 

A person who is 16 or 17 can claim universal credit if he has a disability or health condition with medical evidence for it, is caring for someone who gets disability-related benefits, is responsible for the child, is pregnant and expecting a baby in the next 11 weeks, had a baby in last 15 weeks, does not have parental support or live with the partner who is eligible for universal credit and responsible for a baby.

If someone has health conditions or a disability that affects his ability to work, he can get an extra amount for universal credit. 

The amount you can receive:

Universal credit is paid to eligible persons monthly. The amount depends on the standard allowance, any extra amounts for which the person has applied, and if earning then the amount you earn or any money taken off the payment. 

A person can get one standard allowance for household.

What you get

Single or under 25

Single and 25 or above

Living with partner and both under 25

Living with partner and one of is or above 25

Amount (£)





If eligible, then extra amount can also be claimed on top of the standard allowance. If you have children then you can get extra amount for the first two children. Extra amount cannot be claimed for other children unless children were born before 6th April, 2017, already claiming for 3 or more children before 6 April 2017 or any other exceptions apply.

How much you’ll get

For the first child

Extra monthly amount (£)

315 (born before 6 April 2017)

269.58 (born on or after 6 April 2017)

For second child or other eligible children


A person will also get an extra amount if any of the children is disabled. The number of children does not matter in this case; the person is eligible for the extra amount. A person will get £146.32 if a child is disabled or £456.89 if a child is severely disabled. 

Childcare costs can also be claimed back up to 85% if the person is working or if you live with a partner both of you should be working unless one of the partners cannot work due to a health condition or disability. For this purpose, childcare should be from a registered provider. The maximum amount one can get each month is £950.92 for one child and £1630.15 for 2 or more children. 

If one has a health condition or disability then he can also get an extra amount monthly. £390.06 in case of limited capability for work and work-related activity and £146.31 if he claimed employment and support allowance or health-related universal credit before 3 April 2017. 

Transitional protection payment is also available if a person has a severe disability premium and is moving to Universal credit. If someone cares for a person who gets disability-related benefits or health-related benefits. He will get £185.86 if he provides care for at least 35 hours a week to that person.

Payment method:

Universal credit is paid monthly usually in a bank in a credit union account or a building society account. Approximately 5 weeks are taken to make your first payment but one can claim for it in advance if he needs money in this period. 

One important thing is if either you or your partner is employed, the amount you get as a universal credit will be dependent on the amount earned. The more amount you earn, the universal credit will be reduced. For each £1 you earn, credit payment will be reduced by 55p.  

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