Universal Credit

Universal credit (UC) is now available across the UK. As a result, HMRC state that most people can no longer make brand new claims for tax credits and other benefits that UC replaces, however, there are some exceptions to this.

Existing tax credit claimants are currently unaffected by the roll-out of UC unless they choose to make a UC claim, have a change of circumstances that ends their tax credit claim but they need to continue claiming similar support, or they need to make a new claim for another benefit that UC has replaced (such as housing benefit).

This section of the website explains who can claim UC including how it affects existing tax credit claimants, gives an overview of the entitlement rules of UC and links to helpful UC guidance and leaflets.

Latest updates

New High Court of Northern Ireland decision (17 May 2022): RK, Re Application for Judicial Review [2022] NIQB 29 (25 April 2022) - High Court of Northern Ireland rules that treatment of maternity allowance as unearned income for the purposes of universal credit is not unlawful >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (5 May 2022): UA-2021-001182-UC - Guidance to representatives, tribunals and the DWP on the approach to obtaining information from an abusive partner to support a claim from the person fleeing abuse when a non-molestation injunction is in place >> More universal credit case law

New regulations (13 April 2022): Universal Credit (Local Welfare Provision Disregard) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.448/2022) - New regulations provide for the disregard of local welfare provision in the calculation of capital for universal credit purposes >> More universal credit legislation 

New regulations (5 April 2022): Social Security Benefits (Claims and Payments) (Modification) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.428/2022) - Temporary modification of fuel deductions from universal credit so that new payments for ongoing consumption or increase in existing payments may only be made if requested by claimant >> More universal credit legislation 

New regulations (5 April 2022): Social Security (Terminal Illness) (2022 Act) (Commencement) Order (Northern Ireland) 2022 (SR.No.171/2022) - Amend the definition of terminal illness within universal credit to extend the period within which death may reasonably be expected from six months to 12 months >> More universal credit legislation 

New Upper Tribunal decision (5 April 2022): UA-2020-000306-USTA - Whether definition of ‘full-time course of education’ in universal credit refers to actual number of hours of study rather than classification by the particular educational institution >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (31 March 2022) CUC/1792/2020 - Evidence needed to decide whether a person has failed to accept a claimant commitment >> More universal credit case law

New regulations (25 March 2022): Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022 (SR.No.149/2022) - New regulations ensure that those who left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion are exempt from the habitual residence for universal credit >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (23 March 2022): Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015 (Commencement No. 16 and Commencement No. 8, 13 and 14 and Transitional and Transitory Provisions (Amendment)) Order (Northern Ireland) 2022 (SR.No.132/2022) - Brings into force provisions of the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015 in so far as they are not already in force, and removes restrictions that have prevented frontier workers from making universal credit claims >> More universal credit legislation

New Upper Tribunal decision (23 March 2022): CUC/1019/2020 - Tribunal was correct to decide that an Irish widow’s pension should be counted as the claimant’s unearned income to be deducted from any calculation of universal credit >> More universal credit case law

New regulations (21 March 2022): Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.344/2022) - New regulations ensure that those who left Ukraine in connection with the Russian invasion are exempt from the habitual residence for universal credit >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (17 March 2022): Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 34 and Commencement No. 9, 21, 23, 31 and 32 and Transitional and Transitory Provisions (Amendment)) Order 2022 (SI.No.302/2022) - Brings into force provisions of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 as listed in schedule 2 of the No. 9 Commencement Order (SI.No.983/2013) in so far as they are not already in force, and removes restrictions that have prevented frontier workers from making universal credit claims >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (10 March 2022): Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (Terminal Illness) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.260/2022) - Amend the definition of terminal illness to extend the period within which death may reasonably be expected from six months to 12 months >> More universal credit legislation 

New regulations (18 February 2022): Universal Credit (Work-Related Requirements) In Work Pilot Scheme (Extension) Order 2022 (SI.No.139/2022) - Extends the period for which the pilot scheme established under the Universal Credit (Work-Related Requirements) In Work Pilot Scheme and Amendment Regulations 2015 has effect >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (24 January 2022): Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (Claimant Commitment Exceptions) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (SI.No.60/2022) - Include provision for a further exception from the basic condition of entitlement to universal credit of having accepted a claimant commitment for people who are terminally ill >> More universal credit legislation

New Commissioner's decision (5 January 2022): C3/21-22(UC) - Northern Ireland Social Security Commissioner rules that a tribunal was correct to treat pay in lieu of notice as employed earnings for universal credit purposes rather than as a termination of employment payment that could be excluded from the calculation >> More universal credit case law

New regulations (24 November 2021): Universal Credit (Exception to the Requirement not to be receiving Education) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (SR.No.303/2021) - Provide for the exception to the universal credit basic condition not to be receiving education on the grounds of receipt of a disability benefit to apply only when a person has also been determined to have limited capability for work on a date before the person starts undertaking a course of education >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (24 November 2021): Universal Credit (Work Allowance and Taper) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (SR.No.302/2021) - Provide for a reduction in the universal credit taper rate from 63 per cent to 55 per cent, and for work allowances to be increased by £500 per year >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (18 November 2021): Universal Credit (Work Allowance and Taper) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI.No.1283/2021) - Provide for a reduction in the universal credit taper rate from 63 per cent to 55 per cent, and for work allowances to be increased by £500 per year >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (4 November 2021): Universal Credit (Exceptions to the Requirement not to be receiving Education) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI.No.1224/2021) - Provide for the exception to the universal credit basic condition not to be receiving education on the grounds of receipt of a disability benefit to apply only when a person has also been determined to have limited capability for work on a date before the person starts undertaking a course of education >> More universal credit legislation

New Court of Appeal decision (8 October 2021): Pantellerisco & Ors v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2021] EWCA Civ 1454 - Court of Appeal rules that universal credit benefit cap earnings assessment is not irrational and unlawful in the case of a four-weekly paid claimant  >> More universal credit case law

New regulations (13 September 2021): Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Sanctuary Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (SR.No.248/2021) - Provide an exception to the bedroom tax for claimants living in a social sector property that has been adapted under a sanctuary scheme in Northern Ireland >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (10 September 2021): Domestic Abuse Support (Relevant Accommodation and Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Sanctuary Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI.No.991/2021) - Provide an exception to the bedroom tax for claimants living in a social sector property that has been adapted under a sanctuary scheme >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (13 July 2021): Universal Credit (Coronavirus) (Restoration of the Minimum Income Floor) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (SR.No.209/2021)  - Provide for the reintroduction of the universal credit minimum income floor in Northern Ireland over the 12 months to 31 July 2022 >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (8 July 2021): Universal Credit (Coronavirus) (Restoration of the Minimum Income Floor) Regulations 2021 (SI.No.807/2021) - New regulations have been issued to give the DWP flexibility to manage the reintroduction of the minimum income floor (MIF) over the 12 months to 31 July 2022 >> More universal credit legislation

New Court of Appeal decision (23 June 2021): Moore & Anor v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2021] EWCA Civ 970 - Court of Appeal refuses permission to appeal against High Court decision that treatment of maternity allowance as unearned income for the purposes of universal credit is not unlawful >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (18 June 2021): CSUC/280/2020 - Tribunal correct to take two lots of four-weekly paid wages into account in one universal credit assessment period / Johnson and Pantellerisco did not apply >> More universal credit case law