Find out what you're entitled to on Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new payment introduced by central government to replace the current benefits:

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (income-related)
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) (income-based)
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

If you are receiving any of these benefits, they will be cancelled when you apply for Universal Credit. Your first payment of Universal Credit is due 5 weeks after you apply.

Most working age people can now apply for Universal Credit, but if you don't need to apply yet, you might be better off staying on the old benefits for now.

The information on this page, our guide 'When should I claim Universal Credit?', and the online benefits calculator will help you to decide.

How to apply

To apply for Universal Credit, set up your account and complete your claim on the Gov.UK Universal Credit Application page. After making your claim online, you'll need to ring the Jobcentre to make an appointment - if you don't, your claim could be cancelled.

If you can't manage an online account, you can apply over the phone by ringing the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644. You will need to show why you can't manage an online account.

Universal Credit is not usually backdated, so if you decide that you need to apply, do it as soon as possible. You should not cancel your other benefits first - claiming Universal Credit will cancel any of the benefits it replaces.

Before you apply, check all the information on this page to make sure it's the right decision for you. If you would like someone to help you, find out where to get help on Universal Credit.

Who can't apply

You can't apply for Universal Credit if you:

When do I need to apply?

If you are currently receiving all the benefits you need, you do not need to apply for Universal Credit. If your situation changes, you may be able to adjust your current benefits. But some changes mean that if you want to carry on receiving benefits you must apply for Universal Credit. 

This guide covers some of the most common changes, and tells you whether you have the choice to adjust your current benefits, or if you must now claim Universal Credit.

More information

You can learn more about Universal Credit here:

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