Why have benefits changed?

Last updated: 23/01/2020

There have been several changes to the UK benefits system. Some benefits have been replaced while others might have different rules for claiming them or the payments have reduced.  The biggest change is the introduction of universal credit.

Universal credit provides financial support for living expenses and housing to working age people both in and out of work. It has replaced income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, income related employment and support allowance, child tax credit, working tax credit and housing benefit. Although many people still receive these benefits you cannot make a new claim for them so have to apply for universal credit instead.

If you are getting income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, income related employment and support allowance, child tax credit, working tax credit or housing benefit you will be sent a letter asking you to claim universal credit instead. For most people, the move from these benefits to universal credit will start late in 2020. If your circumstances change before then you may have to apply for universal credit earlier.

Some benefits are moving away from the UK government control to Scottish government control. The new Scottish social security system will be responsible for 11 benefits over the next few years.