Universal credit: Guidance

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

UC is a means-tested benefit for people on low incomes whether they are in or 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 and completed in December 2018. You can see how UC was rolled out on the roll-out timetable page.

Those who have reached state pension credit age cannot claim UC (including couples where both people have reached that age). Instead, they will need to claim pension credit. Most mixed age couples are only able to claim UC, although there is one exception to this.

In this section of the website you will find:

Last reviewed/updated 23 May 2022