Who can claim Universal Credit?

If you are under pension age and need help paying living and housing costs you may be able to claim Universal Credit (UC).

You can claim UC if you are working or unemployed but your savings need to be under £16,000.

I am making a new claim for benefit

If you are making a new benefit claim to help you pay living costs and rent, the claim will normally be for UC unless:

• you and your partner are of pension age

• you are already receiving the Severe Disability Premium

• you are a student (there are some exceptions where you can claim UC, for example if you are or your partner have a child or are on certain disability benefits).

You cannot claim UC if you have more than £16,000 in capital (for example, savings or property other than your home) or your income is too high.

What if I am already getting benefits?

If you are already getting one of the following benefits your claim will gradually be transferred to UC:

• housing benefit (with some exceptions)

• income support (IS)

• income based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA)

• income related employment and support allowance (ESA)

• child tax credit

• working tax credit.

These are known as ‘legacy benefits’ and have all been replaced by UC.

Benefits other than ‘legacy benefits’ are not being replaced so you can continue to claim them. These include contribution-based JSA, contributory ESA, (Now called ‘new style’ JSA and ESA) child benefit, carer’s allowance, bereavement support payment and personal independence payment.

I am receiving one of the legacy benefits but have had a change of circumstances

If you are already receiving one of the ‘legacy benefits’ but have a change of circumstances, for example, you move to a different council area, have a change in your household or change jobs, then you might be asked to make a new claim for UC instead. Your old benefits will stop.

This is known as ‘natural migration’.

I am receiving one of the legacy benefits and my circumstances have not changed

If you are already receiving one of the ‘legacy benefits’ but have no change of circumstances, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will gradually move you on to UC. This is due to happen between 2020 and 2023. You do not need to do anything before then.

This is known as ‘managed migration’.

Universal Credit key facts

• One single payment to cover living costs and rent
• Paid monthly
• Claim online
• Paid into your bank account

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

This page was last updated on: April 25, 2019

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.