Universal Credit was introduced in 2013, aiming to simply the benefits system, to make transitions into work easier, and make every hour of work pay. It’s for people on low incomes or in work to help them meet their living costs.

Universal Credit is for people both in work and out of work, disabled people and those with a health condition, single people and those with families, people who own their homes and people who rent.

It replaces six means-tested benefits and tax credits with one. This is paid in arrears, as a single household payment, on a monthly basis. It is designed to use Real Time Information from HMRC to respond to the changes in income, gradually reducing the UC payment as earnings increase to ensure work pays.

The six benefits it replaces are:

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Income-based Employment Allowance(ESA)
Income support (IS)
Working Tax Credits (WTC)
Child Tax Credits (CTC)
Housing Benefit (HB)

Universal Credits- the facts

  • Universal Credit is being rolled out gradually across the country, one job centre at a time. Everywhere in the country either operates a “live service” or “full service”.
  • Live service areas are places where a limited version of Universal Credit is in place only for certain people (eg single adults not in work), so as to test the system on those with simpler claims. ‘Full’ service has been developed to upgrade and build on the first, ‘live’ system.
  • From May 2016, full service Universal Credit began to be introduced across the country, in a small number of local authorities initially, which meant all new claimants of the six different benefits being replaced are required to apply for UC.
  • Live service roll-out is now complete, but full service roll-out is ongoing and due to accelerate significantly from October 2017. All areas will eventually become full service by 2022.
  • There are currently 467,000 people on Universal Credit in England and Wales, with around 48,000 new claims each month. By the time roll-out is full complete, around 7.2 million families will receive Universal Credit.

Click here: for more information on how the change can affect you:citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit