Universal Credit: How does Universal Credit work? How much is Universal Credit?

With the goal of simplifying the welfare system, Universal Credit was introduced in 2013. The scheme offers financial assistance for a variety of different circumstances, and the Universal Credit base allowance has recently been increased to help those financially impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

How does Universal Credit work?

Universal Credit was introduced to replace the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit


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Unlike previous benefits which paid out weekly or fortnightly, Universal Credit is usually paid out monthly in one payment.

You may be entitled to Universal Credit if you’re not working, or if you earn a low income.

Under Universal Credit, you receive a basic ‘standard allowance’.

However you may be entitled to extra payments, depending on your circumstances.

Circumstances which could mean you receive extra payments include:

  • If you look after one or more children
  • If you have a disability or health condition which prevents you from working
  • If you require help paying your rent

As a couple claiming Universal Credit, you will get one payment between the two of you.

You can check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit HERE.


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How much is Universal Credit?

The basic allowance for Universal Credit differs depending on your circumstances.

Per month, you may get:

  • £251.77 if you are under the age of 25
  • £317.82 if you are aged 25 or over
  • £395.20 if you and your joint claimant are both under the age of 25
  • £498.89 if you and your joint claimant are both aged 25 or over

For the additional child element, you may receive £277.08 for your first child born before April 6, 2017.

In all other circumstances, you may be eligible for £231.67 per child.

If your child is disabled, or has a long-term health condition, you may be eligible for more than this.

The amount you receive for additional benefits will differ depending on your circumstances.

Before you make a claim for Universal Credit, it’s difficult to accurately estimate how much you will be entitled to.

The Money Advice Service outlines how much you can receive for additional elements HERE.

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