Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.

Coronavirus: Universal Credit - Eligibility Rules
Universal Credit - Eligibility Rules

To be entitled to Universal Credit, the claimant (and joint claimant ie partner) must:

    • Be aged between 18 and Pension Credit age
    • Have accepted a claimant commitment
    • Not be excluded from claiming - such as some students
    • Be in Great Britain ie pass the presence and residence tests. 
    • Have savings below £16,000.
    • Have a low enough income given their circumstances.
    • Not be registered for the tax-free childcare scheme.

There are some exceptions to the above rules, such as some 16/17 year olds can claim, and not everyone has to have a claimant commitment.

And there are extra rules for some special groups - such as care leavers and 'prisoners' (includes people on remand).

If you are not sure whether you are entitled or not contact a Benefits Adviser.

NOTE: Couples make a joint claim for Universal Credit and usually both have to satisfy all the claiming conditions - although there are exceptions.

NOTE: Having a bank account is not a condition of getting UC - although it does make it easier. So a person should not delay making their claim whilst they get a bank account set up. They should get their UC account set up online and contact the UC Helpline for help.

Frequently Asked Questions
My hours at work have recently reduced. I'm worried about my rent - can I make a new claim for Housing Benefit?

It is no longer possible to make a new claim for Housing Benefit (unless you live in certain types of supported housing that fall under the definition of 'specified' or in 'temporary' accommodation). 
So unless you are living in 'specified' or 'temporary' accommodation, if you need help towards your rent, your only option will be to make a claim for Universal Credit.
If you are going to make a claim for Universal Credit, then consider whether you may be better off if you delay this by a few days - click here.

I'm being made redundant at the end of the week. I don't get any benefits at the moment but will need help paying my bills - what can I claim?
As long as you satisfy the basic claiming criteria for Universal Credit you will be able to make a claim.
Any redundancy payment you may receive will be classed as capital/savings - and added to any existing capital/savings - and must total less than £16,000*.
Whether you will have an award paid, and how much, will depend on your individual circumstances. 
The timing of your UC claim can be important if you are due a payment of wages in the next few days (click here).
Depending on your National Insurance record you may be able to claim New-Style Jobseekers Allowance (this will be taken into account as income for Universal Credit).
If you are not already receiving any help with your Council Tax Bill, you should also make a new claim for Council Tax Support.
* If your capital/savings are over £16,000 be very careful what you spend your money on (must be necessities) and keep receipts - when you come to claim UC the DWP may ask for these and if they consider that you have spent some savings in order to get them below the £16,000 level, or you cannot evidence what you have spent your savings on, they can treat you as still having them.