Universal Credit

2. Eligibility

You can currently claim Universal Credit if you’re either:

  • a single person anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland
  • a couple or family living in certain areas

You can apply for Universal Credit if all the following apply:

  • you’re 18 or over
  • you’re under State Pension age
  • you have less than £16,000 in savings
  • you’re not in full time education or training

You may still get Universal Credit if you’re 16 or 17 or a full time student.

You’ll get less Universal Credit if you have savings over £6,000 or earn enough money to cover your basic living costs.

Use a benefits calculator to check if you can get Universal Credit.

If you live with your partner

If you live with your partner you’ll need to make a joint claim as a couple. 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 you either:

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

If you have 3 or more children and you haven’t claimed Universal Credit before, you can apply for Child Tax Credit.

If you have a disability or illness that affects your work

You may need to have a work capability assessment to see how your disability or health condition affects your ability to work. If you need an assessment you’ll get a letter telling you where to go and what to do.

Depending on the outcome of your assessment you could be eligible for an extra payment on top of your standard allowance.

If you’re 16 or 17

You can get Universal Credit 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 don’t have parents and you’re not under local authority care

If you’re in training or studying full time

You can get Universal Credit if any of the following apply:

  • you’re in a couple and your partner is 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 or Personal Independence Payment 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 don’t want your savings to be taken into account

If you want to claim a benefit without your savings, your partner’s savings or their income being taken into account, you can apply for either:

You can apply for these if you’re entitled to apply for Universal Credit.

Who isn’t eligible

You can’t claim Universal Credit if you already get:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • income-related Incapacity Benefit

You may be able to claim other benefits if you don’t live in a qualifying area or you’re not eligible to claim Universal Credit.