What is Universal Credit?
Universal credit or UC is a new benefit that has been introduced to simplify the current benefit system. It replaces 6 of the existing benefits that you can, or may already get because you have a limited income.
The benefits being replaced are:
- income support;
- income based jobseekers allowance;
- income related employment and support allowance;
- housing benefit;
- child tax credit;
- and working tax credit.
Who can claim?
Universal credit can normally be claimed by people aged 18 and up to retirement age. There are some exceptions to this and single parents can claim from the age of 16. At the moment it is available to most single people in Scotland who are claiming a benefit for the first time.
It is only available to families in some local authorities but is expected to be available to all families making a first claim for benefit by 2018. It will then be made available to people already receiving one of the benefits being replaced.
How to claim universal credit
Universal credit needs to be claimed online, so you will need access to and be able to use a computer. Apply for universal credit online.
You will be asked a series of questions and then be sent an appointment for an interview at your local Jobcentre plus. You need to attend this appointment or your claim will not proceed and you will not receive universal credit.
If you do not have a computer or you have difficulty using one, you will need to contact a service that can help you set up your online account.
For further information on universal credit and where to get help to claim please contact the lone parent helpline on 0808 801 0323.