Universal Credit is payment for people both in work (but on a low income) or people who are unemployed.
You must be aged 18 to claim Universal Credit.
Universal Credit includes support for the cost of housing, children and childcare as well as financial support for those with disabilities or health conditions and those who provide care for another.
It is worth noting that if you are in work, there are no limits on how many hours a week you can work if you’re claiming UC.
Instead, the amount you get will gradually reduce as you earn more, so you won’t lose all your benefits at once.
1 - I think I need to make an application
Lots of us have to rely on Universal Credit to top our incomes up so there is absolutely no shame in applying for a benefit which you may be entitled to.
We recommend that you use the Make the Call campaign first on 0800 232 127 as you may be entitled to other benefits.
However for more information on Universal Credit and how to apply for it please visit NI Direct.
Some people are finding it quite a long process to apply for Universal Credit. To help, this is the information you will need for applying for UC online:
Your bank, building society or credit union account details (call the Universal Credit helpline if you do not have one)
An email address
Information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay
Details of your income, for example payslips
Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out
Details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs
If you do not provide the right information when you apply it might affect when you get paid or how much you get.
In Northern Ireland, payments are made fortnightly.
You also have to verify your identity online. You’ll need some proof of identity for this, for example:
A driving licence
A debit or credit card
2 - I think I need more help
The Money Advice Service has a super useful Money Manager for people who are in receipt of Universal Credit that helps you see only the information you need in relation to your personal circumstances and save you money.
If you are experiencing problems applying for Universal Credit you can get free advice and guidance from local organisations. You can find some listed on our Support Services page.
There are also services that can help you identify if you may be entitled to any other state benefits you may not know about.
If you want to speak online with one of our team for specific advice - it only takes a few minutes and we are here to help!
We know that living on Universal Credit means that money can be tight, so check out our Quick Guides on managing your money well.