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.

Universal Credit works differently if you’re in Northern Ireland.

Where you live

Eligibility for Universal Credit depends on whether you live:

  • in a ‘full service’ area
  • in a ‘live service’ area - it’s available to single people across England, Scotland and Wales as well as couples and families in some areas

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

If you’re over Pension Credit qualifying age, you can claim if you have a partner who’s under Pension Credit qualifying age.

You may in some cases get Universal Credit if you’re 16 or 17 or a full-time student.

If you’re in a full service area

You can get Universal Credit in a full service area if you:

  • are 18 or over
  • are on a low income or unemployed
  • are not in full-time education or training

If you’re in a live service area

You may be able to get Universal Credit in a live service area if you:

Even if you meet these conditions, you can’t apply for Universal Credit in a live service area if you:

  • are expected to earn more than £338 in the next month
  • are self-employed
  • have savings of more than £6,000
  • are not able to work or look for work due to a health condition or disability
  • are in full-time education or training
  • are not a British Citizen
  • are a homeowner
  • are homeless
  • are a carer, including if you’re a foster carer
  • are pregnant or you’ve had a baby within the last 15 weeks
  • are liable to pay child maintenance

If you live with your partner

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if you or your partner are working and your joint income is £541 per month or less.

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

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 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’re estranged from your 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 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