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 remains under review. The expectation is that entitlement to passported benefits will be withdrawn as earnings increase, although the exact mechanism and whether it will be consistent between different passported benefits is yet to be announced.
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.
During the current roll-out phases, some Government departments have announced that any amount of UC will give entitlement to their passported benefit. This is a temporary measure during and further announcements and consultations are expected as UC rolls-out nationally.
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.
You qualify for help with health costs in England if you:
- Receive UC and had net earned income of £435 or less in the last UC assessment period; or
- Receive UC which includes an element for a child and/or you (or your partner) had limited capability for work and work related activity and had net earned income of £935 of less in the last UC assessment period
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 Wales, you qualify for help with certain health costs if you are in receipt of UC. See the Welsh Government website for more information.
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 February 2017