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SAIL information to help you

Universal Credit

What is it?

Universal Credit (UC) is the major benefit change introduced by the government in 2013.

UC is designed to replace many means-tested benefits for working age adults – Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits.

When fully implemented there will be over 12 million UC claimants across the UK and over 8 million households will be affected. But the introduction of UC has been very slow.

It is not scheduled to be fully implemented until 2019 and there has been speculation it will be cancelled before then.


Because of the slow roll out, applications for UC are only being accepted from certain parts of the UK.

New applications are expected to be online, as part of the government’s “digital by default” policy. If that’s a problem for you then you can use computers at your local Jobcentre or contact us.

There’ll be an interview after the application.

For people who are claiming one or more of the benefits that will be replaced by UC, there will be a process of migration. The DWP will contact you if you need to do anything.


UC claimants will be placed in one of four separate conditionality groups depending on their circumstances. Claimants in each group will have to commit to certain actions to keep their UC payments, for example attending work-focussed interviews.

UC is complex

UC is a complex new benefit. So if you’re asked to apply for UC we recommend you get advice either from SAIL or from your local CAB.

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