Universal credit

This information is for single parents about to claim universal credit, already getting it or who want to know more. It explains more about what universal credit is, how to claim, how is it calculated and paid, and how the rules apply to single parents.

Please note that some of the information in this section has been updated and will be valid from 1st April.


What is universal credit?

Universal credit has gradually been introduced across the UK. It provides financial support, for living expenses and housing costs, to working age people both in and out of work and their families.


Single parents and universal credit

Single parents aged 16 to 65 can claim universal credit, if you are in paid. The upper age will increase in line with the qualifying age for state pension.


Moving to universal credit

Most people receiving income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit (legacy benefits) will be ‘invited’ to claim universal credit from late 2020.


Calculating universal credit

The amount of universal credit you’ll receive is based on your income, savings and family circumstances.


The benefit cap

The benefit cap is a limit on the total amount of benefit a household can be paid each year.


How do I claim universal credit?

You must claim universal credit on-line. If you have problems doing this, you need to call the Universal Credit Helpline for where to get help.


How is universal credit paid?

Payments of universal credit made on the same date each month into your bank account unless you request more frequent payments.


Useful contacts

The Lone Parent Helpline provides support and advice on anything from dealing with a break-up, moving into work or sorting out child maintenance, benefits or tax credit issues.