Universal credit: Guidance

In October 2010, the Government announced that as part of its Welfare Reform agenda, Universal Credit would replace most current working age benefits. You can find out more about the background to UC in the resources section of the website.

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for working age people on low incomes who are in and out of work. It replaces the following benefits

Claimants do not need to have paid national insurance contributions to qualify. In Great Britain, (i.e. England, Wales, Scotland) Universal Credit is dealt with by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). In Northern Ireland, Universal Credit is dealt with by the Department for Communities (previously the Department for Social Development).

Universal Credit was introduced in April 2013 by way of a small pathfinder in one part of the UK. By April 2016, some form of UC was available in all Jobcentres in Great Britain. From October 2016, UC full service started to roll out across the UK. We explain more about the roll-out on the roll-out timetable page

Both working tax credit and child tax credit will be replaced with UC, along with income-based Job-seekers allowance; income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Income support and Housing Benefit. Where Universal Credit full service is available in an area, most claimants will no longer be able to claim these legacy benefits.


Last reviewed/updated 30 May 2018