Eligibility

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get.

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

If you live with your partner

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

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 do not 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
  • 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 do not have parental support

If you’re in a couple and one of you is State Pension age

You and your partner can claim Universal Credit as a couple if one of you is under State Pension age and eligible for Universal Credit.

When you both reach State Pension age your Universal Credit claim will stop.

You may be able to apply for Pension Credit or other benefits as a couple when your Universal Credit stops. Ask your Jobcentre Plus work coach what else you could be eligible for. 

  1. Step 1 Check if you're eligible

  2. Step 2 Create an account and make a claim

    You need an online account to claim Universal Credit.

    1. Set up an account and make a claim

    You must submit your claim within 28 days of creating your account.

    If you live with your partner, they will also need to set up an account. You'll be given a code to link the accounts together.

  3. and Find out how your claim is assessed

    You'll need to have an interview with Jobcentre Plus. You'll be told how to arrange this after you submit your claim. It will be within 10 working days.

    If you have a disability or health condition you may need a work capability assessment. You'll be told if you need one after you claim.

    1. What to do if you have a health condition or disability
  4. Step 3 Attend your interview

  5. Step 4 Apply for an advance on your first payment

    If you need help with bills or other costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply to get an advance.

    1. Get an advance on your first Universal Credit payment
    2. Check if you can get any other financial support
  6. Step 5 Get your first payment

    You’ll get your first payment 5 weeks after you claim. Your account will be updated to tell you how much it will be.

    1. What to do if you disagree with the decision
  7. Step 6 Follow your agreement and report any change of circumstances

    You must keep to the Claimant Commitment you agreed at your interview. If you do not, your payments could stop.

    You must also update your account if your circumstances change to get the right payment.

    1. How to report a change in circumstances
    2. What to do if your payments are stopped