Services for children and young people in Northamptonshire (aged 0-25) with special educational needs and disabilities.

DWP - Universal Credit

Type of service:
Finance And Funding
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Caxton House, Tothill Street, Westminster, London SW1H 9NA
Telephone number:
0345 600 0723
Mobile number:
0345 600 0743 (Textphone)
Additional web link:
Service description:

Universal Credit is a new means-tested benefit that is currently replacing the following benefits:

   ●   Child tax credit
   ●   Housing benefit
   ●   Income-related employment and support allowance
   ●   Income-based jobseeker's allowance
   ●   Income support
   ●   Working tax credit

Other benefits, such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will remain largely unchanged by the new system.

Universal credit might entitle you to budgeting advances, free prescriptions and dental treatment, housing grants, free school meals and help with hospital fares.

The Rollout

Universal Credit is being phased in slowly, and the old-style benefits (listed above) will not disappear for some years.

Single jobseekers can make a claim for Universal Credit at any jobcentre in Great Britain, providing they qualify. However in Northamptonshire, the full Universal Credit service is currently only available in Corby.* You can track the status of the switchover in your area, here.
*correct as of November 2017

To qualify for Universal Credit, you must:

   ●   Be aged 18 or over (or aged 16 or 17 in certain cases)
   ●   Be under the qualifying age for pension credit
   ●   Be in Great Britain
   ●   Not be subject to immigration control
   ●   Not be in full-time education
   ●   Have accepted a ‘claimant commitment’

To receive Universal Credit, you must meet the following ‘Work-Related Requirements’:

   ●   The Work-Focused Interview requirement
   ●   The Work-Preparation requirement
   ●   The Work-Search requirement
   ●   The Work-Availability requirement

In some circumstances, the work-related requirements won’t apply if you:

   ●   Have been assessed as having a ‘limited capability for work and work-related activity,’ or
   ●   Are responsible for a child under the age of one, or
   ●   Have substantial caring responsibilities.

Universal Credit Payment Amounts (Awards)

Under Universal Credit, you will receive a Standard Allowance (based on your circumstances), and then Amounts will be paid on top to cover specific needs.

The ‘Standard Allowances’ are:

   ●   Single claimant aged under 25 - £251.77
   ●   Single claimant aged 25 or over - £317.82
   ●   Joint claimants both aged under 25 - £395.20
   ●   Joint claimants where either is aged 25 or over - £498.89

The ‘Amounts’ are:

   ●   The Child Amount - £231.67 a month (two-child limit)
        ◦    Disabled Child Additions - £126.11 - £372.30

   ●   The Work Capability Amount - £318.76 a month (requires a ‘Work Capability Assessment’)

   ●   The Carer Amount - £151.89 a month (if you have ‘regular and substantial caring responsibilities’ for a severely disabled person)

   ●   The Childcare Costs Amount - 85% of childcare costs will be met, up to a maximum of:
        ◦    One child - £646.35
        ◦    Two children or more - £1,108.04

   ●   The Housing Costs Amount (if you pay rent or have a mortgage)
        ◦    Covers mortgage interest for owner-occupiers (£200,000 limit on the loan amount).
        ◦    Covers rent for private tenants (might be capped due to location or number of rooms).
        ◦    Covers rent for social housing (might be reduced if the property is under occupied).
        ◦    ’Specified accommodation’ (such as care homes) will be met through Housing Benefit.
        ◦    Renters aged 18-22 cannot normally get the Housing Costs Amount.

   ●   The Work Allowance - Some of your earnings may be disregarded by applying a ‘work allowance.’ This will only apply if you or your partner are responsible for one or more children (or qualifying young people), or if you have a limited capability for work.

The Universal Credit Benefit Cap

There is a cap on the total amount of universal credit you can claim. The benefit cap is:

   ●   Within Greater London
        ◦    £1,284.17 a month if you are a single person (with no children)
        ◦    £1,916.67 a month in all other cases

   ●   Outside Greater London
        ◦    £1,116.67 a month if you are a single person (with no children)
        ◦    £1,666.67 a month in all other cases

The benefit cap will not apply if you, your partner, or a dependent child receive:

   ●   Attendance Allowance
   ●   Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
   ●   Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
   ●   Guardian's Allowance

It will also not apply if the Carer Amount or the higher rate of the Work Capability Amount has been included in your Universal Credit award.

The charity Contact has produced the following factsheets on Universal Credit (and how it will affect families with a child who has disabilities):

   ●   Contact - Factsheet: Universal Credit and Disabled Children (PDF 202KB)
   ●   Contact - Factsheet: Universal Credit, the Essentials (PDF 194KB)
Age range:
16 years - 65 years
Eligibility criteria:
  • Age - School (5-18)
  • Age - Adulthood (18-25)
Referral route:
  • Contact service direct
  • Job Centre
Last updated on:

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