Universal Credit: an introduction

Eat or Heat's guide to Universal Credit

Universal credit is the biggest change to our social security system in over sixty years. It will eventually replace many of the current benefits and tax credits for people of working age.

Universal Credit was introduced in 2013 to replace six means-tested benefits and tax credits:

  1. Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  2. Housing Benefit
  3. Working Tax Credit
  4. Child Tax Credit
  5. Income based Employment and Support Allowance
  6. Income Support.

Whether you should apply for Universal Credit instead of one of these benefits, depends on where you live and your circumstances.

Universal Credit works differently from other benefits – so if you’re moving from another benefit it’s important to know the differences.

The biggest differences are:

  • you can get Universal Credit if you’re unemployed but also if you’re working
  • you’ll get a single payment each month, rather than weekly or fortnightly
  • instead of getting a separate housing benefit, your housing costs will be paid directly to you as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment.

Although,  you can make a case for other arrangements.

For Universal Credit advice contact:

Citizens Advice Waltham Forest help line: 03003301175 or visit: