Why have benefits changed?

Last updated: 07/04/2021

There have been several changes to the UK benefits system in the last few years.  The biggest change is the introduction of universal credit.

Universal credit provides financial support for living expenses and rent 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, now called legacy benefits, you cannot make a new claim for them so have to apply for universal credit instead.

If you are getting a legacy benefit (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 from the Department for Work and Pensions, DWP, asking you to claim universal credit instead. This process was supposed to start in 2020 but has been delayed. If your circumstances change before you are asked to claim universal credit you may have to apply for universal credit earlier.

Some benefits, including disability benefits, will move from the UK Government control to Scottish Government control. The new Scottish social security system is gradually introducing them.