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What is Universal Credit?

Introduction

Universal Credit is a Government working age benefit. It is paid monthly in arrears into your bank account and replaces the following state benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit is a working age benefit. This means it is payable from from 18 years up to Pension Credit qualifying age. It can also be paid to 16 and 17 year olds in limited circumstances.

GOV.UK's State Pension calculator can advise when a person will become pensionable age.

Universal Credit will eventually be available to people on low income both out of work and in work.

Universal Credit in North Tyneside

Universal Credit became available in North Tyneside from 23 November 2015, initially for single jobseekers who would normally have made a new claim for Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

This includes those with existing Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit claims. Those currently claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance will not be affected just yet.

Couples and families

Generally once you are on Universal Credit you will stay on it, even if you become part of a couple or have a family.  

Eventually couples and families will be able to make new claims for Universal Credit as roll-out expands over the coming years, but we don’t know when that will happen in North Tyneside.

When couples are eventually able to claim, those couples where only one of them is of Pension Credit qualifying age, will claim Universal Credit. Both have to reach Pension Credit qualifying age in order to be able to claim Pension Credit.

People already receiving Pension Credit at the date that Universal Credit is introduced will remain claiming Pension Credit if their circumstances remain the same.

All other benefits will not be changed, such as disability benefits, Pension Credit and contribution-based benefits like Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance or Contributions-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. These will still need to be claimed separately.

Universal Credit and Council Tax Support

Universal Credit will not replace Council Tax support as the council will still administer this.

If you claim Universal Credit you will still need to make a claim for Council Tax support.

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