18 December 2017

Universal Credit – Claims in Live Service areas from 1 January 2018

rom 1 January 2018, Universal Credit live service areas will no longer accept new claims from new claimants.

In some areas, called live service areas, universal credit claims can only be made by people who meet certain gateway conditions. From 1 January 2018, no brand new live service claims will be possible in those areas. Instead claimants will need to claim tax credits and other existing benefits.

Our understanding is that those who successfully made a universal credit claim in a live service area which ended due to an increase in earnings, may still have their claim restarted automatically if their earnings fall within 6 months of the award ending.

According to HB bulletin HB U4/2017, where someone joins an existing universal credit claim (by becoming part of a couple with an existing UC claimant) this will be classed as a change in circumstances and they can continue claiming UC as a couple. Similarly, where a couple who are already claiming UC in a live service area separate, this will also be classed as a change of circumstances and both claimants will remain on UC (if appropriate).

No brand new claims will be possible in these live service areas until the full universal credit service is introduced. You can find out the status of each postcode area using our postcode checker tool: universalcreditinfo.net

The closure of Universal Credit live service for new claimants is made under a determination under Regulation 4 of the Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014. See GOV.UK

(Updated 3 January 2018)