Universal Credit is a benefit which began in 2013 - it is replacing means-tested social security benefits and tax credits for working age individuals and families. This now includes those couples where only one of them is working age (mixed age couples).
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 stated 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. The 'Digital' or what the DWP call the 'Full' service was then slowly rolled out across GB and NI - this was completed in December 2018.
Now anyone of working age 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.
And from July 2019 'migration' will start (with a pilot in Harrogate) - where it's not just new claimants who can get Universal Credit - but existing 'legacy' benefit claimants will be moved onto Universal Credit by the DWP.
Full 'roll-out' is expected to have been achieved by the end of 2023.