Are You Eligible for Universal Credit?

Only certain people are currently expected to claim Universal Credit (UC).  The test that is applied is called the Universal Credit gateway. The people who are not expected to claim UC are listed below. If you cannot claim UC you will be expected to claim another benefit. This is most likely to be Job Seekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. 

Coventry and Birmingham are both now designated as Universal Credit areas. The rules below apply in these areas.



To be able to claim UC you need to:

  • Be single and not have any children living with you
  • Be expecting to earn less than £338 (after tax) in the next month
  • Be aged between 18 and Pension Credit age 
  • Be a British citizen
  • Have a National Insurance number
  • not be homeless or in supported or temporary accommodation
  • not be a home owner (including part-ownership)
  • be fit for work and not have applied for a “fit” note
  • consider yourself to be fit for work
  • not be pregnant or have given birth in the last 15 weeks
  •  not be entitled to Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support (IS), Incapacity Benefit (IB), Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • not be waiting for a decision on a claim for JSA, ESA, IS, Housing Benefit (HB), Child Tax Credit (CTC) or Working Tax Credit (WTC)
  • not be waiting for an outcome of an application to revise a  decision about a refusal to pay  JSA, ESA, IS or HB.
  • not be appealing against a decision about a refusal to pay JSA, ESA or IS
  • not be a carer for a disabled person
  • not be responsible for a young person under 20 who is in non-advanced education or training
  • not be self-employed, a company director or part of a limited liability partnership
  • not be in education or on a training course of any kind or planning to be in education or training
  • not have an appointee for  benefits
  • Have a bank or building society or Post Office or credit union account that DWP can make a payment into
  • Not live in the same household as a member of the regular or reserve forces who is away on duty
  • Have lived in the UK for the last 2 years and not have been abroad for more than 4 weeks continuously during that time
  • Not be required to pay Child Maintenance through Child Support Agency
  • Not be an approved foster carer even if currently there are no foster children
  • Not be expecting to adopt a child in the next 2 months or have adopted a child in the last 12 months
  • Not be expecting to receive any earnings from self-employment in the next month

If you meet all of these conditions you will be expected to claim UC. If you are not sure or you feel you have been given the wrong advice by DWP or you have made a mistake in claiming UC you should seek advice as soon as possible.


Changes in circumstance for gateway claimants

Once you have claimed UC you will stay within the UC system even if your circumstances change so that you no longer meet the gateway conditions. This will include if you have a new partner who does not themselves meet the gateway conditions. The new partner will have to give up any benefits they receive which UC replaces. These are:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Any benefits not in this list will not be affected and will continue in payment. You will need to choose which partner will be paid the UC.


Future changes

The next stage in the Introduction of Universal Credit will be that if you need to make a new claim for any of the benefits replaced by  Universal Credit:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

you will instead be expected to claim Universal Credit.

The dates this change will be introduced are as follows:

November 2017


Birmingham Broad St JCP

Birmingham City JCP

Birmingham South West JCP

Sutton Coldfield JCP

Washwood Heath JCP

Yardley JCP

December 2017


Erdington JCP

Handsworth JCP

Kings Heath


Perry Barr JCP

Selly Oak JCP

Sparkhill JCP



April 2018


Coventry Cofa Court JCP

Coventry Tile Hill JCP



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