The introduction of universal credit is one of the most significant social security reforms in recent decades.
Universal credit is for people of working age who are in and out of work. Eventually the change will affect 8.8 million people and 7 million households.
Six into one
Universal Credit will eventually replace six benefits (these are known as legacy benefits).
- income support
- income based jobseeker’s allowance
- income-related employment support allowance
- housing benefit
- working tax credit
- child tax credit
So far people have gone onto universal credit if they have to make a new claim for one of those six benefits because they have lost their job or because their circumstances have changed.
In February 2019 1.4 million people were getting universal credit and that figure is expected to rise to 3 million by the end of 2019.
For most people new claims for those ‘legacy’ benefits have stopped and when circumstances change such as getting married, having your first child, or moving to another local authority area your legacy benefits will stop and you will have to claim universal credit instead.
That still leaves about 3 million people on legacy benefits that, at some point between 2020 and 2023, will be moved across to universal credit. The government is still working out how to do it.
UNISON benefits calculator
It can often be tricky to figure out which benefits you are eligible for and how to claim.
Check out what you might be missing with the UNISON benefits calculator.