Universal Credit

2. Eligibility

You may be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or out of work.

You can find out if you’re eligible by:

Use a benefits calculator to check what benefits you could get if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit.

Detailed guidance on eligibility

Whether you can claim depends on where you live and your circumstances.

Find out about eligibility if you’re in Northern Ireland.

Where you live

You can only make a new Universal Credit claim if you live in a ‘full service’ area.

Use the Citizens Advice eligibility checker to find out which area you live in.

If you live with your partner

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if you or your partner are working.

Your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account, even if they aren’t eligible for Universal Credit.

If you have children

You can make a new Universal Credit claim if any of the following apply:

  • have 2 children or fewer and you live in a ‘full service’ area
  • received Universal Credit in a ‘full service’ area in the previous 6 months and your payments have stopped - it doesn’t matter how many children you have
  • received Universal Credit in a ‘live service’ area in the previous 6 months and your payments ended because of your earnings - it doesn’t matter how many children you have

You can’t claim if you’ve 3 or more children and you’ve not claimed Universal Credit in the last 6 months. You can apply for Child Tax Credit instead.

If you’re 16 or 17

You can make a new Universal Credit claim if any of the following apply:

  • you have limited capability for work or you have medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
  • you’re caring for a severely disabled person
  • you’re responsible for a child
  • you’re in a couple with responsibility for at least one child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re pregnant and it’s 11 weeks or less before your expected week of childbirth
  • you’ve had a child in the last 15 weeks
  • you don’t have parental support, for example you’re estranged from your parents and you’re not under local authority care

If you’re in training or studying full-time

You can make a new Universal Credit claim if any of the following apply:

  • you live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re responsible for a child, either as a single person or as a couple, if both of you are students
  • you’re disabled and entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and have limited capability for work
  • you’re in ‘non-advanced education’ (for example studying for A levels or a BTEC National Diploma), are 21 or under and don’t have parental support

If you’ve reached Pension Credit qualifying age

You can only claim if you live with a partner who is eligible for Universal Credit and under Pension Credit qualifying age.