You may be eligible for Universal Credit if you’re unemployed or on a low income. The easiest way to find out if you can claim Universal Credit is to use the Citizen’s Advice eligibility checker. You can also the detailed eligibility criteria below (but you’ll still need to use the Citizen’s Advice eligibility checker to find out if you’re in a Universal Credit area). If you aren’t eligible for Universal Credit, you may still be eligible for other benefits. Use the Gov.uk benefits calculator to find out.

Universal Credit Eligibility Criteria

Where you can claim Universal Credit depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. (Universal Credit is still being rolled out so it’s only available in Universal Credit “full service” areas). If you’re in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to use the eligibility checker on www.nidirect.gov.uk.

Do I live in a Universal Credit area?

You can only make a new Universal Credit claim if you live in a Universal Credit “full service” area. To find out whether you’re eligible where you live, search for your postcode using the Universal Credit area checker below:

Can I apply for Universal Credit if I live with my partner?

If you or your partner are working, you may still be able to claim Universal Credit. Even if you’re partner isn’t eligible for Universal Credit, their income and savings will be taken into account during your application.

Can I apply for Universal Credit if I have children?

The rules for applying for Universal Credit if you have children are a little more complicated. You’re eligible to apply for Universal Credit if any of the follow statements are true:

  • you have 2 children or fewer and live in a ‘full service’ area
  • you have received Universal Credit in a ‘full service’ area in the previous 6 months and your payments have stopped (it doesn’t matter how many children you have)
  • you have received Universal Credit in a ‘live service’ area in the previous 6 months and your payments ended because of your earnings (it doesn’t matter how many children you have)

You can’t claim Universal Credit if you’ve 3 or more children and haven’t claimed Universal Credit in the last 6 months. But you can apply for Child Tax Credit instead.

Can I claim Universal Credit if I’m 16 or 17?

If you’re 16 or 17, you can make a new Universal Credit claim if any of the following are true:

  • you have limited capability for work or you have medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
  • you’re caring for someone who is severely disabled
  • you’re responsible for a child
  • you’re in a couple, you have responsibility for at least one child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re pregnant and the expected week of childbirth is in 11 weeks or less
  • you’ve had a child in the last 15 weeks
  • you don’t have parental support. (For example; you’re estranged from your parents and not under local authority care

Can I apply for Universal Credit if I’m in training or studying full-time?

If you’re training or studying full-time, you may be eligible to claim Universal Credit as a new claimant if any of the following are true:

  • you live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit
  • you’re responsible for a child, either as a single person or as a couple, if both of you are students
  • you’re disabled and entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and have limited capability for work
  • you’re in ‘non-advanced education’ (for example studying for A levels or a BTEC National Diploma), are 21 or under and don’t have parental support

Can I apply for Universal Credit if I’ve reached pension age?

You can only claim if you live with a partner who is eligible for Universal Credit and under Pension Credit qualifying age.