Universal Credit makes the welfare system simpler by replacing six benefits and credits into a single monthly payment if you are on a low income or out of work. It includes support for the costs of housing, children and childcare, as well as support for disabled people and carers.
It ensures that you will be better off in work and makes it easier for you to start a new job or work more hours. As your take home pay increases, Universal Credit will gradually reduce, meaning that your benefits don't end immediately if you are on a low income.
Can I apply?
From 2 March 2015, singles, couples and also families across the Wigan Borough can now make a new claim for Universal Credit if they meet all of the criteria which has been set by DWP.
To apply for Universal Credit you need to look at the lists below and decide:
- If ALL the statements apply to you and your partner, then you can apply for Universal Credit
- If only SOME of the statements below apply, you and your partner will need to just claim for Housing Benefits and Council Tax reduction.
- If you are a family please see the addition criteria for families below.
Single or a couple criteria
- Have lived in the UK for at least 2 years
- Have a valid National Insurance Number
- Be between 18 years old and 1 year from State Pension Credit age
- Have a bank, building society account or Post Office Card Account
- Not be homeless or in supported accommodation
- Not own their own home (including part ownership)
- Not have more than £6000 in savings and capital
- Not be pregnant, or given birth within the last 15 weeks
- Not be required by the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission (CMEC) to pay child maintenance
- Not have a fit note (unless Work Capability Assessment [WCA] confirmed found fit for work)
- Not be in a period of self-certification awaiting a fit note
- Not be making the claim through a Personal Acting Body (PAB)/Corporate Acting Body (CAB)
Families* must meet all of the above criteria but will have dependent children living with them for some or all of the time.
You cannot make a new claim for Universal Credit if one or more children in the household:
- Has been adopted in the last 12 months
- Is receiving Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
- Is certified blind or severely sight impaired
- Is fostered
- Is looked after by the council (apart from short periods solely to provide respite care).
*A family is defined as single/couple claimants who are responsible for one or more children/qualified young persons (i.e. someone aged 16-19 and in full time non-advanced education or training).
Current benefit status
- Not be entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Carers Allowance (CA)
- Not be awaiting a decision on a claim, nor appealing against a decision of non-entitlement, to Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support (IS), Housing Benefit (HB), Child Tax Credits (CTC) or Working Tax Credits (WTC)
- Not be awaiting a decision on an application to revise an award of JSA, ESA, IS or HB.
Employment or education status
- Not be self employed, be a Company Director or in a limited liability partnership
- Not be in any form of education or training
- Not expect to commence education or training in the next month
- Be out of work or in work but does not expect to have employment earnings next month exceeding over £330 (Individual earnings) or £525 (Joint earnings)
Please do not delay in making your claim for Universal Credit as the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) cannot back date your claim.
Council Tax Reduction
If you are currently liable for paying the rent and Council Tax at your property your housing costs will be included in your single monthly Universal Credit payment but you will need to apply for your Council Tax Reduction separately.
Failure to do so will result in you paying full Council Tax.
Please note – Council Tax Reduction can not be backdated.