What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people who are on a low income and of working age, whether you are in work or out of work.

It has replaced the following existing benefitswhich are now known as “legacy benefits”:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit
  • Housing benefit

As Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit, the amount you will get depends on your income and savings. Contributions-based benefits such as contributions-based JSA and ESA, remain unaffected by Universal Credit. Child Benefit, Carer’s Allowance, Bereavement Support Payment and Personal Independence Payment are also unaffected by Universal Credit and you can continue to claim these benefits.

Universal Credit includes a standard allowance and can include additional amounts for people with limited capability for work or for work-related activity, caring responsibilities; children; children with disabilities and housing costs.

The amount of Universal Credit is set to a maximum award, called the Benefit Cap, to include both daily living costs and housing costs. Some people are exempt from the Benefit Cap, including those that receive DLA or PIP or the support component of ESA.

If you are making a new claim to means tested benefits, or if there are certain changes in your circumstances, you may have to claim Universal Credit.  If you already receive a means tested benefit but your circumstances don't change the Government plan is for you to be moved over to Universal Credit as part of a managed migration between November 2020 and December 2023. This time frame however is subject to change.

Further information can be found on RNIB's Universal Credit web page. 

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