What is Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a new benefit for working age people who are on a low income or out of work. It replaces a number of existing benefits and Tax Credits:
- Housing Benefit
- Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Income-Related)
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
You cannot usually get any of these benefits or Tax Credits separately if you get Universal Credit.
Council Tax Reduction is not included in Universal Credit. If you and/or your partner are liable to pay Council Tax as a resident of the Scottish Borders, you should apply for Council Tax Reduction to help pay your Council Tax and help with your monthly budgeting.
Who can claim?
You can no longer make a new claim to any of the benefits which are being replaced by Universal Credit. If you are not currently receiving any of these benefits and you wish to make a claim you will have to claim Universal Credit.
If you are currently receiving any of the benefits being replaced and your circumstances are unchanged you do not need to claim Universal Credit at the moment. The Department for Work and Pensions will transfer you on to Universal Credit in the future, and this is expected to be from mid-2019 onwards.
If you are currently receiving any of the benefits being replaced, and you have a change in your circumstances which means that you need to make a claim for a new or different benefit you will have to claim Universal Credit. For example:
- if you are getting Jobseeker's Allowance because you were looking for work but are now ill and unable to work you can no longer claim Employment and Support Allowance but must claim Universal Credit instead
- If you are living in someone else’s house but you move to your own tenancy you can no longer claim Housing Benefit but must claim Universal Credit instead
You can find more detailed information about eligibility on the GOV.UK website.
You can use our flowchart to work out whether you should claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.