Universal Credit (UC) is a means-tested benefit for people of working age with a low income.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit, which means the amount you get depends on how much income and capital you’ve got. Capital means things like savings and some kinds of property.

Jobcentre Plus will administer Universal Credit; it will eventually replace many existing benefits, which will be abolished.

Universal credit is being introduced in Salford, probably in July, for some new claimants.

Universal Credit is not taxable and will be paid monthly.

Who can get Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age. This means you must be under the age when you can make a claim for Pension Credit.

You don’t have to be out of work to get Universal Credit. You may be able to get it if you’re working, looking for work, sick or disabled, or caring for children or a disabled person.

If you’re already in work, you won’t lose all your UC if your earnings or hours of work increase. Instead, your UC will go down as your earnings go up.

You’ll have to meet various conditions to get UC. These include accepting a claimant commitment. This is a document that says what you’ll have to do to prepare for work, find work, get better paid work, or work more hours. For example, you may have to go to interviews to help you find work or apply for jobs.

What’s the age for claiming Pension Credit?

If you’re a woman, the age you can get Pension Credit is the same as your state pension age.

If you’re a man, the age you can get Pension Credit might be different from your state pension age.

The GOV.UK website has an online calculator which tells you when you can get Pension Credit at www.gov.uk.

Which benefits will Universal Credit replace?

Universal Credit (UC) will eventually replace the following benefits and tax credits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Budgeting loans – an advance payment of UC will replace these.

However, if you live in accommodation to help you lead a more settled life or provide you with care, support or supervision, you may be able to get Housing Benefit and UC at the same time. UC often can’t help with your housing costs if you’re in this situation, so you may have to claim Housing Benefit as well as UC.

For help from Salford Citizens Advice visit your local bureau in Eccles, Irlam and Cadishead, Salford City, Swinton, Walkden or at Salford Royal.

Telephone our advice line: 0844 826 9695 (if calling from a landline or if calling from a mobile 0300 456 2554) Also open Saturday mornings from 10am.

For Irlam and Cadishead please note that our bureau has moved into Cadishead Library.

Tom Togher.