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 universal credit regulations (29 May 2024): Social Security (State Pension Age Claimants: Closure of Tax Credits) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024 (SR.No.119/2024) - Make provision in relation to the transfer of people over state pension age in receipt of tax credits to either universal credit or pension credit in Northern Ireland, with transitional protection to prevent a reduction in benefit entitlement for eligible claimants at the point of transfer. >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (29 May 2024): Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 31 and Savings and Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2024 (SR.No.118/2024) - Preserves existing protection for mixed-age couples in Northern Ireland on them being issued with a universal credit migration notice >> More universal credit legislation

New Upper Tribunal decision (22 May 2024): CU v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (UC) | [2024] UKUT 32 (AAC) | UA-2023-1084-USTA - Tribunal considering claim for universal credit backdating from claimant with disability failed to consider whether hypothetical person in his circumstances could reasonably have been expected to make claim earlier  >> More universal credit case law

New universal credit regulations (10 May 2024): Social Security (State Pension Age Claimants: Closure of Tax Credits) (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (SI.No.611/2024) - Make provision in relation to the transfer of people over state pension age in receipt of tax credits to either universal credit or pension credit, with transitional protection to prevent a reduction in benefit entitlement for eligible claimants at the point of transfer. >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (10 May 2024): Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 31 and Savings and Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Order 2024 (SI.No.604/2024) - Preserve existing protection for mixed-age couples on them being issued with a universal credit migration notice >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (10 May 2024): Universal Credit (Administrative Earnings Threshold) (Amendment (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2024 (SR.No.107/2024) - Make provision to increase the universal credit administrative earnings threshold (AET) in Northern Ireland >> More universal credit legislation

New Court of Appeal decision (30 April 2024): Michaela Simkova v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2024] EWCA Civ 419 - Court of Appeal rules that universal credit child element is not a social security family benefit for the purposes of Regulation (EC) 883/2004 >> More universal credit case law

New universal credit regulations (19 April 2024) Universal Credit (Administrative Earnings Threshold) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2024 (SI.No.536/2024) - Provide for an increase in the Administrative Earnings Threshold, from £617 per calendar month to £892 for an individual; and from £988 per calendar month to £1,437 for a couple (replacing the Universal Credit (Administrative Earnings Threshold) (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (SI.No.529/2024) in order to amend the commencement date to 13 May 2024) >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (19 March 2024): Social Security and Universal Credit (Migration of Tax Credit Claimants and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024 (SR.No.54/2024) - Include amendments and modifications to various social security regulations that, in particular, make changes in relation to the migration of legacy benefit claims to universal credit and require the allocation of a national insurance number before an advance payment can be made >> More universal credit legislation

New Upper Tribunal decision (12 February 2024): Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v JA | [2024] UKUT 52 (AAC) | UA-2022-001286-UOTH - Erosion of universal credit transitional protection when claimant moved on from specified accommodation breached her human rights >> More universal credit case law

New universal credit regulations (11 March 2024): Social Security and Universal Credit (Migration of Tax Credit Claimants and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2024 (SI.No.341/2024) - Include amendments and modifications to various social security regulations that, in particular, make changes in relation to the migration of legacy benefit claims to universal credit and require he allocation of a national insurance number before an advance payment can be made >> More universal credit legislation

New Court of Appeal decision (1 March 2024): Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v AM | [2024] EWCA Civ 186 - Court of Appeal rules that there is no requirement for a universal credit claimant to request backdating before their claim is determined >> More universal credit case law

New universal credit regulations (16 February 2024): Universal Credit (Work-Related Requirements) In Work Pilot Scheme (Extension) Order 2024 (SI.No.159/2024) - New regulations provide for the testing of universal credit in-work conditionality in pilot areas to be extended for a further 12 months >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (6 February 2024): Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Search and Work Availability Requirements - limitations) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024​ (SR.No.18/2024) - New regulations require jobseekers in Northern Ireland to widen their job search outside of their preferred sector after four weeks of jobseeking rather than thirteen >> More universal credit legislation

New Upper Tribunal decision (2 February 2024): FL v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (UC) | [2024] UKUT 6 (AAC) | UA-2021-001442-UOTH - Failure to provide claimant with transitional protection for loss of enhanced disability premium following natural migration to universal credit was unlawful and DWP must redecide entitlement on a lawful basis >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (2 February 2024): GS v Scretary of State for Work and Pensions | [2024] UKUT 4 (AAC) | UA-2022-001714-ULCW - Tribunal’s failure to mention evidence taken during hearing in its statement of reasons for decision, and later reliance on that evidence when refusing permission to appeal, amounted to error of law >> More universal credit case law

New universal credit regulations (15 January 2024): Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024 (SR.No.5/2024) - New regulations that make provision for additional amounts to be added to the transitional SDP element for claimants who move to universal credit following a change in their circumstances, where they were previously in receipt of a benefit or tax credit including a disability premium or element prior to migrating >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (11 January 2024): Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Housing Costs (Executive Determinations) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024 (SR.No.3/2024) - New regulations include provisions that increase local housing allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rates for private rented sector properties in Northern Ireland from April 2024 >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (11 January 2024): Rent Officers (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Functions) (Amendment) Order 2024 (SI.No.11/2024) - New regulations include provisions that increase local housing allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rates for private rented sector properties from April 2024 >> More universal credit legislation

New Upper Tribunal decision (8 January 2024): Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v PL (UC) | [2023] UKUT 288 (AAC) | UA-2022-001685-UOTH - First-tier Tribunal erred in law by directing Secretary of State to treat a claim for universal credit as a claim for income-related employment and support allowance >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (5 January 2024): PR v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (UC) | [2023] UKUT 290 (AAC) | UA-2022-000330-ULCW - Three-month wait for universal credit LCWRA element should not be applied to older member of mixed-age couple whose ESA ended on reaching pension age >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (4 January 2024): Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v SV | [2023] UKUT 279 (AAC) | UA-2023-000362-USTA - Evidence that comes to light later, but relates to the time a decision was made, can be used to establish whether a decision was made based on a mistake as to a material fact >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (29 December 2023): Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v AH (UC)  | [2023] UKUT 274 (AAC) | UA-2023-000283-UHCA - Claimant who was imprisoned on remand before end of first assessment period was not entitled to universal credit >> More universal credit case law

New universal credit regulations (22 November 2023): Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (SI.No.1238/2023) - New regulations that make provision for additional amounts to be added to the transitional SDP elelment for claimants who move to universal credit following a change in their circumstances, where they were previously in receipt of a benefit or tax credit including a disability premium or element prior to migrating>> More universal credit legislation

New Upper Tribunal decision (16 November 2023): Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v AD (UC) | [2023] UKUT 272 (AAC) | UA-2023-000542-USTA & UA-2023-000543-USTA - Income from student maintenance loan that was used to pay tuition fees did not reduce the amount to be taken into account in the calculation of income for universal credit >> More universal credit case law

New Court of Appeal decision (8 November 2023): SSWP v AT (AIRE Centre and IMA intervening) | [2023] EWCA Civ 1307 - Court of Appeal rules that DWP must carry out individualised assessments of whether refusal to award universal credit to claimants with pre-settled status would breach their right to live in dignity >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (4 September 2023): SM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (UHC) | [2023] UKUT 176 (AAC) | UA-2022-000261-UHC - Meaning of ‘care’ and whether it must be required in order to establish entitlement to an additional bedroom for an overnight carer >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (7 August 2023): AT v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (UC)  | [2023] UKUT 148 (AAC) | UA-2022-000858-UOTH - Universal credit is not payable for a third child conceived in a stable relationship even where the two older siblings were conceived in an abusive relationship >> More universal credit case law

New universal credit regulations (8 June 2023): Social Security, Universal Credit and State Pension (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2023 (SR.No.93/2023) - Make amendments to correct errors and clarify policy intent in relation to a number of areas in universal credit >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (8 June 2023): Universal Credit (Childcare) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2023 (SR.No.90/2023) - Increase the maximum amounts for childcare support in universal credit from 28 June 2023 >> More universal credit legislation

New universal credit regulations (1 June 2023): Universal Credit (Childcare) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (SI.No.593/2023) - New regulations increase the maximum childcare costs element and make provision for childcare costs to be met upfront by disregarding payments made by funds provided by the Secretary of State - typically from the Flexible Support Fund >> More universal credit legislation

New Upper Tribunal decision (23 May 2023): UA-2021-001684-USTA - Claimant can rely on social assistance benefits paid to a partner in order to demonstrate self-sufficiency where their presence did not increase entitlement >> More universal credit case law

New regulations (17 May 2023): Social Security and Universal Credit (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2023 (SI.No.543/2023) - New regulations that make amendments to correct errors and clarify policy intent >> More universal credit legislation

New regulations (12 May 2023): Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 (SI.No.532.2023) - New regulations that provide for immediate benefit support for those fleeing Sudan in connection with the violence which rapidly escalated there on 15 April 2023 >> More universal credit legislation

New Upper Tribunal decision (5 May 2023): UA-2021-000044-UOTH - Universal credit earned income assessment rules are not irrational or unlawful in the case of a claimant who is paid on a fortnightly basis >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (31 March 2023): UA-2021-000043-UOTH - Tribunal was entitled to decide that universal credit computer system was not ‘inoperative’ at beginning of Covid-19 pandemic and so did not prevent claimant from making a claim >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (20 March 2023): UA-2022-000030-UC - Legal effect of Court of Appeal’s declaration in Johnson that universal credit earnings assessment rules were irrational and unlawful can apply to periods before the Court’s decision >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (17 March 2023): UA-2021-001957-UCH - Universal credit child element is not a social security family benefit for the purposes of Regulation (EC) 883/2004 >> More universal credit case law

New Upper Tribunal decision (21 February 2023): UA-2021-0002228-UOTH - Tax refund received through PAYE counts as earned income for universal credit / claimant is ‘in paid work’ where contract of employment continues through unpaid sick leave >> More universal credit case law

New regulations (17 February 2023): Universal Credit (Work-Related Requirements) In Work Pilot Scheme (Extension) Order 2023 (SI.No.157/2023) - New regulations extend the period for which the pilot scheme established under the Universal Credit (Work-Related Requirements) In Work Pilot Scheme and Amendment Regulations 2015 (SI.No.89/2015) has effect >> More universal credit legislation

New High Court decision (7 February 2023): K, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Work And Pensions [2023] EWHC 233 (Admin) - High Court rules that DWP decision not to waive recovery of universal credit overpayment caused by official error was unlawful >> More universal credit case law