This information is for people living in the UK. If you are looking for information about benefits in another country, please contact your local epilepsy organisation.
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you can’t work.
The gov.uk website has information on Universal Credit in England, Scotland and Wales.
The nidirect website has information on Universal Credit in Northern Ireland
If you already get other benefits
Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
You can’t claim both tax credits and Universal Credit. You can’t claim Universal Credit if you get the severe disability premium.
What will I get?
You’ll get a standard allowance. You may get extra amounts if you:
- Have children
- Have a disability or health condition which stops you from working
- Need help paying your rent
How much Universal Credit you get will depend on how much you earn. The amount you get is reassessed each month. It may change if your circumstances change.
In some circumstances the benefit cap may limit the total amount of money you get.
The cap won’t apply to you if you or your partner:
- Get Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition that stops you from working (this is called ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity’)
- Get Universal Credit because you care for someone with a disability
Standard allowance per month
- If you’re single and under 25 you get £342.72
- If you’re single and 25 or over you get £409.89
- If you’re in a couple and you’re both under 25 you get £488.59 between you
- If you’re in a couple and 25 or over you get £594.04 between you
You may get more money on top of your standard allowance.
If you have a disability or illness you may need a Work Capability Assessment to see how your disability or health condition affects your ability to work. The result of this assessment may mean you can get extra money.
The gov.uk website has more information about extra amounts you may get.
If you’re employed, your Universal Credit payment will reduce gradually as you earn more - for every £1 you earn your payment reduces by 63p. There’s no limit to how many hours you can work.
Can I claim Universal Credit?
You may be able to get Universal Credit if all these things apply to you:
- You’re on a low income or out of work
- You’re 18 or over
- You’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
- You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
- You live in the UK
The number of children you have doesn’t change whether you can get Universal Credit, but it could affect how much you get.
How you're paid
Universal Credit is paid once a month. Your payment can include an amount for housing, which you’ll usually need to pay to your landlord. It usually takes around 5 weeks to get your first payment. If you need help with your living costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for an advance.
If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland
You can get paid once or twice a month.
How to claim
Apply for Universal Credit online (all countries).
Universal Credit helpline
Contact the Universal Credit helpline if you can’t use a computer or if you have a question about your claim and can’t access your online claim.
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Citizen Advice support
Help to Claim is a part of Citizens Advice which can support you in the early stages of your Universal Credit claim, from the online application, through to support with your application before your first full payment.
It’s an independent service provided by trained advisers from Citizens Advice. They can help with things like how to collect evidence for your application or how to prepare for your first appointment.
Help to Claim contact details:
What can I do if I’m not happy with the decision?
If you’re not happy with the decision you can ask for mandatory reconsideration:
This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.
- Updated April 2020To be reviewed April 2021