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Universal Credit

Universal credit is a benefit for people, 18 years and over but under State Pension age, who are on a low income or who are unemployed.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit, which is paid monthly or twice a month for some people living in Scotland.

It is replacing the following tax-credits and benefits, which are now referred to as legacy benefits:

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

When moving over to Universal Credit, it will mean the end of the disability premiums used in the calculations for legacy benefits.

All other benefits, including Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Council Tax Reduction/Support, will remain unchanged.

Who can claim Universal Credit

To claim Universal Credit, you must be over 18 years old and younger than State Pension age.

Sometimes you can claim from the age of 16, such as when you:

  •  have a limited capability for work
  •  are caring for a severely disabled person
  •  are estranged or separated from your parents
  •  have children

If you are a student, you may not claim Universal Credit unless you are receiving DLA or PIP and have a limited capability for work.

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit. If you have savings, income, or assets worth more than £16,000 (excluding if you own the home you live in) you will not be eligible to claim Universal Credit.

How much will I receive?

How much Universal Credit you’ll get will depend on your circumstances. Everyone receives a standard allowance, which is topped up with any additional amounts you qualify for. Use GOV.UK’s benefits calculator to check what you could be entitled to.

These are the current figures for the standard allowance. Visit GOV.UK for more detailed information on what you’ll get.

Your circumstances  Monthly standard allowance 
Single and under 25  £292.11 
Single and 25 or over  £368.74 
In a couple and both under 25  £458.51 (for you both) 
In a couple and either of you is 25 or over  £578.82 (for you both) 
How does Universal Credit work?

Universal Credit is paid in a single monthly payment or two payments for some people in Scotland. It is made up of a number of individual payments called ‘elements’. These elements are:

  • Standard allowance – the basic rate which is available to everyone who is eligible for Universal Credit. This is in addition to your other eligible elements.
  • Child element – this is awarded if you are responsible for children under 16 and qualifying young people under 20
  • Disabled child addition – this applies if you have a child who is receiving DLA or PIP
  • Limited capability for work or work-related activity element
  • Carer element
  • Housing element
  • Childcare costs element

Each element has a different rate of payment, and the elements you qualify for are all added together to make up your monthly payment.

If you have a muscle wasting condition, or a family member has, you may be entitled to:

  • The child element
  • The disabled child addition
  • Limited capability for work/work-related activity element
  • The carer element

How to apply for Universal Credit

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