Universal credit: Passported benefits

The extent to which eligibility to Universal Credit passports the claimant(s), and their household, to other ‘passported’ benefits, such as free school meals and health costs is constantly changing as more claimants enter the system.

In March 2012, the Social Security Advisory Committee were asked to produce a report about the impact of passported benefits on UC.

Each Government department will be setting its own criteria and therefore advisers will need to check the latest information for the relevant passported benefit.

Initially, in most parts of the country, all UC claimants had entitlement to passported benefits. However over the last year, earnings requirements have been added. These vary depending on which part of the country the claimant lives.

The following links are to information and  announcements about the different passported benefits:

Healthy Start Scheme

From 1 November 2016, Universal Credit is a qualifying benefit for the Healthy Start Scheme for pregnant women, mothers and children who are either entitled to or who are the responsibility of a person entitled to universal credit,with an earned income (after deduction of tax, national insurance and pension contributions) of £408 or less per assessment period. The £408 earnings threshold is to be met in either the most recent complete assessment period or the assessment period immediately preceding it. In the latter case, entitlement continues for a further 8-week run-on period if earnings continue to exceed the earnings threshold (NHS)

Free School Meals (Department for Education)

In England, a child may be able to get free school meals if the parent/guardian gets any amount of Universal Credit. In Scotland, you can claim free school lunches if you are receiving any amount of Universal Credit. In Wales, you can claim free school meals if you are receiving any amount of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is not yet available in Northern Ireland (due to be introduced from September 2017) but they are consulting on an earnings threshold for free school meals and uniform grants.

Health costs

You qualify for help with health costs in England and Wales (from 1 April 2017) if you:

If you are part of a couple, then these thresholds apply to your combined income

According to the NHS website, currently not all health costs claim forms have a tick-box for UC. In those cases the box for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance should be ticked instead.

In Scotland, you qualify for help with health costs if you are in receipt of UC. See the Scottish Government website for more information.

Other passported benefits

There are many other passported benefits that may be relevant for UC claimants. The following links take you to the relevant information:

Updated 16 May 2017