Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new type of benefit for people looking for work or who have a low income.


What is it?

Universal Credit is a new type of benefit for working-age people looking for work or who have low income.

. It is being introduced in stages and replaces the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Child and Working Tax Credits

Changing over to Universal Credit

There are two types of moves onto Universal Credit, sometimes called ‘natural migration’ and ‘managed migration’.

Natural migration is where someone makes a new claim for Universal Credit because their circumstances have changed, and they need to make a new claim for means-tested benefit.

Managed migration is the process whereby the DWP will tell claimants of the benefits listed above to claim Universal Credit. The DWP plans to finish this by December 2025. If you are told you must now claim Universal Credit, the letter will explain that your current benefits will stop after three months. It is important to claim within the deadline to ensure you are not worse off.

During 2024 most claimants of the benefits listed above can expect to get letters, except those who claim Employment and Support Allowance without Tax Credits (whether or not they claim Housing Benefit too). This final group of people are expected to be contacted in 2025 instead.

Read on below for more information about Universal Credit.

Things to know:

  • UC is replacing 6 other common benefits
  • A claim for UC will stop any payments for the benefits it replaces
  • You will have to wait around 5/6 weeks for your first payment
  • UC is paid in one lump sum per month
  • Help with rent is included as part of UC – so you are responsible for paying your rent yourself
  • You need access to the Internet and a valid email address to make and manage your claim
  • You need a bank account to receive payment
  • By March 2025, nearly every working-age claimant of means-tested benefits is expected to be on UC

Credit Unions:

A credit union account can help you manage your household budget if you think you will struggle to manage monthly payments, including your rent.

We have links with Bedford Credit Union and Harvest Money. For more information see our Credit Union page.