Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs (including rent) and replaces income support, income-based job seekers allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, housing benefit and tax credits. New claims for these benefits are generally not possible – you should claim UC instead. UC claimants must be of working age and may be unable to work, earning a low wage, or looking for work.
People with current claims for benefits being replaced will be contacted and asked to claim UC between now and 2028. UC is paid monthly, or twice a month for some people in Scotland, First payments outside Scotland are made about five weeks after a claim is made.
Like child tax credits and housing benefit, help with the costs raising children born after April 2017 is generally limited to the oldest two. Like housing benefit, there are limits on the amount of help you can receive with the rent depending on your location, the of tenancy and household.
Most UC claimants are required to take steps to find employment under threat of sanctions although there are exemptions, and the requirements should be tailored to the claimant’s circumstances.
For more information on UC click here
If you are aged 16 – 64, this could help with some of the extra costs caused by pulmonary hypertension. The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you, not the condition itself. Your income and national insurance history and your household’s circumstances don’t count in deciding entitlement, only your care and mobility needs. Decisions on entitlement often involve medical assessments. Disabled adults living in Scotland should claim Adult Disability Payment . For more information on PIP click here.
There are two types of ESA. Contributory ESA is paid to claimants who satisfy national insurance conditions. Income-related ESA is means-tested on a claimant’s income and capital. To get ESA (or an extra element of universal credit), a claimant must be assessed as having ‘limited capability for work’. You can no longer make a new claim for income-related ESA which is being replaced by universal credit. People who receive income-related ESA will be contacted by the DWP and asked to claim UC before 2028. For more information on ESA click here.
This applies if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain disability benefits. There are limits on the amount you can earn but there are no National Insurance contribution rules. You don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for, and you won’t be paid extra if you care for more than one person. For more information on CA click here.
It’s important to note that receiving CA can affect the benefit entitlement of the person you care for – get advice before claiming.
This is money paid to you by your employer if you are sick and unable to work. There are no age rules, and the benefit is not means-tested but you need to normally earn at least the threshold for national insurance contributions (£123pw in 2023/4). For more information on SSP click here. You may also be entitled to means tested benefits such as universal credit.
This is means-tested on a claimant’s income and capital. HB for private tenants is capped according to the ‘local housing allowance’. HB for social tenants is reduced if a claimant is ‘under-occupying’ (known as the ‘bedroom tax’). Working age people can no longer make new claims for HB for most standard accommodation and instead must claim universal credit, if for example, they move to a new local authority area. People currently receiving HB will be asked to claim universal credit before 2028. For more information on HB click here.
CTR schemes, which can reduce your council tax bill if you have a low income, are operated independently by each local authority and have their own rules – but all are means-tested based on income and capital. For more information on CTR click here.
This is a means-tested benefit for people with caring responsibilities for young children or disabled people and their specific groups who are not expected to find work. IS being replaced by universal credit (UC.) You can no longer make a new claim for IS and people with current claims will be asked to claim UC instead. For more information on IS click here.
Child benefit is paid at a flat rate for each child you have responsibility for (not only your biological children), with a slightly higher amount paid for the oldest child. People who earn above £50,000pa will be asked to pay increased income tax if they receive child benefit, but there are no other earnings or national insurance contribution rules.
This is paid to help people on a low income with the costs of bringing up a child. You don’t need to be working to qualify and the amount you receive depends on your income and family circumstances. Universal credit (UC) is replacing CTC and working tax credits so new claims are only accepted in very limited circumstances: you must generally claim UC instead. People who currently receive tax credits are being contacted and asked to claim UC. For more information on CTC click here.
This is money provided to boost the income of working people on a low wage. It is means-tested, and it doesn’t matter whether you are working for someone else or are self-employed. Like CTC and means-tested benefits, WTC is being replaced by UC (see CTC section above). For more information on WTC click here.
This is a means-tested benefit for people on a low income who have reached the qualifying age for state retirement pension, which is currently 66 years and due to increase from 2026. It has two parts – Guarantee Pension Credit and Savings Pension Credit. You may be able to get one or both parts depending on your circumstances. For more information on PC click here.
This is a tax-free benefit for disabled people under 16 living in England and Wales who need help with mobility or care. In Scotland, children should claim the Child Disability Payment. Like PIP (which disabled adults may qualify for) entitlement to DLA does not depend on income or national insurance history and can be claimed alongside means-tested benefits like universal credit or council tax reduction. For more information on DLA click here.
We’ve teamed up with national charity Turn2Us to offer you FREE access to special benefits calculator and grants search tools to find out what you may be entitled to.
Access the benefits calculator here
Access the grants search tool here
The information on this page was reviewed and updated in September 2023