Jargon cheat sheet

Eat or Heat's guide to Universal Credit

Jargon Definition
Online journal This is the name given to the claimant’s online Universal Credit account. They’ll use this to manage their claim, communicate with the DWP and check their payment statements.

Work coaches can add ‘actions’ for the claimant to complete in the online journal, and the claimant can use it to send messages to their work coach.

Live service People that live in live service areas can make their claim online, but not manage it online.

It’s only available to a limited group of claimants. It’s available in all local authorities, but will eventually be replaced by full service.

Full service People that live in full service areas can make and manage their claims online. It’s available to all new claimants of legacy benefits.

It’s only available in a few local authorities, but is gradually being rolled out.

Legacy benefits This refers to the 6 working age benefits that will replaced by Universal Credit:


  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-based Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Housing benefit (HB)
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC)
  • Working Tax Credits (WTC)
Explicit  vs. implicit consent This refers to the type of consent someone needs to give for you to talk on their behalf as an adviser.

Explicit consent means the client needs to give specific agreement – either by being on a call with you or by posting a message in their online journal.

Clients normally need to give explicit consent if you’re in a full service Universal Credit area.

Implicit consent means that if the adviser has enough information to act, it’s assumed the client has given consent to speak on your behalf. This is normally accepted if you’re in a live service Universal Credit area, or with legacy benefits.

Verify A website used by the government to verify someone’s identity.

People claiming Universal Credit are asked to upload evidence or documents to Verify to prove their identity, for example a passport or driving licence.

Test and learn This is what the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) call their approach to rolling out Universal Credit.
Assessment period The month during which someone’s income is assessed, when the amount of Universal Credit they’ll get is calculated.

Claimants are assessed every month while they’re on Universal Credit – once one monthly assessment period ends, the next one starts.

This means payments change each month.

Maximum amount This is the maximum amount of Universal Credit someone is eligible for before a means test has been applied.

This is made up of a basic ‘standard allowance’ and extra payment ‘elements’ that might apply depending on someone’s circumstances. For example if they look after a child.  

Work allowance The amount someone can earn, before they’ll start to get paid less Universal Credit.

This will vary depending on a person’s circumstances and whether they get help with housing costs as part of their Universal Credit claim.

Taper rate Once someone earns more than their their work allowance, their Universal Credit payment will start to be reduced.

The taper rate indicates the amount of Universal Credit lost for each extra pound earned. The taper rate of 63% means for each extra pound earned, the Universal Credit payment is reduced by 63p.

Minimum Income Floor After someone on Universal Credit has been in self-employment for a year, their payment is adjusted based on the assumption that they are earning the ‘minimum income floor’.

The minimum income floor is normally the equivalent of a 35-hour working week on the relevant minimum wage.

Even if the claimant isn’t earning above the threshold, their Universal Credit payment will be set as though they are.

Universal Support Funding allocated to local authorities to help or commission support for people claiming Universal Credit.

It normally includes Personal Budgeting Support (PBS) – to help people adjust to monthly budgets – and Assisted Digital – for those who need help making and managing a claim online.

To-do An action added to a client’s online journal for them to complete. This could be to do with their claim or search for work.
New style JSA and ESA These are the replacements to contribution based JSA and ESA.

A client may also be eligible for Universal Credit.

Transitional protection A payment to help clients who get less when they’re moved from an old benefit to Universal Credit.

It’s not available until 2019.

Clients who move from other benefits to Universal Credit because of a change in circumstances won’t get transitional protection.

Natural migration Migration’ is the process of moving onto Universal Credit from legacy benefits.

Natural migration refers to people who move onto Universal Credit because of a change in circumstances while on legacy benefits that triggers a new claim. This could be being found fit for work at a Work Capability Assessment, moving house to an area with full service UC, or moving in with a partner.

For those naturally migrating to Universal Credit, transitional protection does not apply.

Managed migration Managed migration is due to begin in 2019. It involves DWP actively ending a legacy benefit claim, to be replaced with a new claim for Universal Credit.

For this group, transitional protection will apply for those whose entitlement under Universal Credit is lower than what they were receiving on legacy benefits. The process of managed migration is currently due to be complete in 2022.