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Universal credit

This section provides an overall view of how universal credit will work and specific details of the benefit in regard to the financial support for housing costs.

Overview of universal credit

Universal credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working age that will replace a number of existing benefits. 


A survey of the categories of claimant entitled to universal credit and exceptions to the rules. 

Making a claim for universal credit

Information on how to claim universal credit. 

Calculating universal credit

How universal credit is calculated including components of the benefit and the treatment of income. 

Housing costs under universal credit

This section outlines the costs that can be met under the housing element of universal credit, who can claim housing costs and how these are worked out. This will replace housing benefit and support for mortgage interest for all claimants. 

Conditions for the housing cost element

This section looks at the three principal conditions, namely the payment condition, the liability condition and the occupation condition. 

Liability condition

To be eligible for the housing costs element of universal credit the claimant must be liable to make the payments in respect of the accommodation. 

Payment condition

The housing cost element under universal credit can be claimed for rent payments, mortgage interest payments and service charges. 

Occupation condition

The housing cost element under universal credit will only be paid towards the accommodation the claimant occupies as their home. 

Calculating the housing costs element: Renters

How the housing costs element is worked out under universal credit for claimants who are renting. 

Size-related criteria

The calculation of the housing costs element under universal credit for claimants who are renting. 

Housing costs contributions: non-dependant deductions

The ‘housing cost contribution’ that is deducted from a claimant’s housing cost element when a non-dependant lives with them. 

Housing costs element: Owner-occupiers

How the housing costs element is worked out under universal credit for claimants who are owner-occupiers. 

Payment of universal credit

How universal credit is paid and information on deductions, overpayments and changes in circumstances. 

How universal credit is paid

Universal credit is normally made as one payment each month into a claimant’s bank account. However, there are some situations where this can be varied. 

Deductions to repay debt

This section looks at how deductions are made in respect of debts to DWP and debts to other creditors to whom 'third party deductions' may be made 

Changes in circumstances

It is a claimant's responsibility to report changes of circumstances to DWP. A change will affect benefit from the first day of an assessment period. 

Overpayments of universal credit

All payments of universal credit are recoverable and can be taken from ongoing entitlement. 

Claimant commitment

Information about the ‘claimant commitment’ condition for people claiming universal credit. 

Challenging universal credit decisions

How to challenge a universal credit decision 

Migration and transitional protection

Transitional protection for claimants who move from other benefits to universal credit as part of 'managed migration'. 

This content applies to Scotland

Last updated: 18 December 2020