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Universal Credit: Background
Universal Credit is a new benefit which is replacing means-tested social security benefits and tax credits for working age individuals and families.

The pages of this website provide a comprehensive overview of Universal Credit - together with commentary and tools to ensure any problems the introduction of Universal Credit is causing are kept to a minimum.

The government's aim is to streamline the benefits system making it easier to understand, improve work incentives, make it easier for claimant's to move in and out of work, tackle poverty amongst low income families, encourage responsibilty, and reduce the scope for error and fraud.

Universal Credit was first introduced in 2013 for a limited group of claimants on certain areas in the GB - on the Live / Gateway service. This service isnow 'live' across the whole of GB - but there have been no new claims accepted onto this service since 1st January 2018.

But the 'Digital' or what the DWP call the 'Full' service is slowly rolling out across GB and NI. Anyone of working age living in the Full / Digital service areas can make a claim for UC (although whether they are entitled to any UC will depend on their personal circumstances). But only certain people have to claim it.

So there is currently a 'twin-track' approach with claims from certain claimants being dealt with on an IT system developed prior to 2013 ie the Live / Gateway claims. And others on the more advanced Full / Digital system as it rolls out across GB and NI. 

And from late 2019 it is expected that 'migration' will start ie where it's not just new claimants that can get Universal Credit - but existing 'legacy' benefit claimants get moved onto Universal Credit by the DWP.

Full 'roll-out' is expected to have been achieved during 2022.

How it Works

The basics of how Universal Credit works.

Situation

How it works for different people.

Conditionality

What is it and who does it apply to.

Claims

Who and how to claim Universal Credit. 

How Much

How Universal Credit is worked out.

Payments

How Universal Credit is paid and extra help available.

Housing Costs

Who can get help with their housing costs and all the rules.

Changes in Circumstances

How a change impacts on a claim.

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Useful Tools