Universal Credit for disabled people

Universal Credit is gradually replacing Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, tax credits and a number of other benefits. So if you make a claim for them, you may be asked to claim Universal Credit instead. And if you’re already receiving them, you’ll eventually be moved over to Universal Credit.

What is Universal Credit and how is it different?

Universal Credit is a new benefit that’s being brought in to replace six existing benefits including Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and tax credits.

Universal Credit is quite different from the benefits it’s replacing. These differences include monthly payments, joint payments for couples, and an online claims process. And if you start working or increase your hours, your Universal Credit will reduce gradually so you won’t lose all your support at once.

Find out more about Universal Credit in our guide Universal Credit – an introduction.

When will I be affected by Universal Credit?

At the moment, Universal Credit mostly affects people who are newly unemployed and living in certain areas of the country.

Eventually everyone claiming any of the benefits and tax credits that it replaces will be moved over to the new system.

Read our guide Universal Credit explained.

The claimant commitment

When you make a claim for Universal Credit, you sign a document called a ‘claimant commitment’. This sets out the things you have to do in return for receiving your payment.

The things you have to do are often related to looking for and preparing for work. What goes in your claimant commitment depends on the ‘work-related group’ you’ve been put in. This will take into account your health and any disabilities you have.

What do you have to do in return for your Universal Credit payment?

Which work-related group you are put in depends on how your health condition or disability affects you.

You’ll have an assessment, called a ‘Work Capability Assessment’, which will be used to decide:

  • whether you’re fit for work – in which case you’ll probably need to take action to look for work and go to job interviews
  • whether you’re able to do some work or are able to prepare for work – in which case you might have to do things like taking part in training or work experience
  • whether you have significant limits on your ability to prepare for work – in which case you probably won’t have to look for or prepare for work
Find out more about availability for work if you’re disabled on the Citizens Advice website.

Will I get the same amount of money under Universal Credit?

The Department for Work and Pensions has said that as long as your circumstances stay the same, you won’t lose out on any money when you move onto Universal Credit. You will either get the same amount of benefit as you do now or you might get more.

However, if you have a change of circumstances, the amount you get might drop.

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