Universal Credit: One Year On

Universal credit was fully introduced in Monmouthshire at the end of June 2018.

It is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work and replaces six existing benefits – see box below. These are known as legacy benefits.  If you now   want to make a new claim for any of these benefits, you will usually need to make a Universal Credit claim.


Housing Benefit

Employment Support Allowance (income related)

Job Seekers Allowance (income based)

Child Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit

Income Support


If you are already on these old benefits, you will gradually be transferred to Universal Credit (UC) between 2020 and 2023. But if your circumstances change before then you may need to apply for Universal Credit.


Applying for UC is normally done online through GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit.  As well as applying on line, your account is also managed on line.  A new Help to Claim service to support you in the early stages of your Universal Credit claim has been launched by Citizens Advice. This can help with aspects of making a claim, from the application through to the first payment. Universal Credit is usually paid in arrears, as a single payment every month.  If you do not have access to a computer or want help, drop in to your local Citizens Advice office in Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow or Monmouth.

How does it work if I’m self employed?

If you’re self-employed, you will have to report your earnings to DWP each month before you can get your payment.  Your monthly payment will be affected by your earnings each month and the minimum income floor. .


Your UC payment will change each month depending on your earnings and other circumstances. When the DWP work out your UC payment each month, they’ll compare your real earnings with how much they expect you to earn each month – this expected amount is called your minimum income floor. The DWP take this into account when working out your UC payment. The minimum income floor doesn’t apply to everyone, check at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales/benefits/universal-credit/on-universal-credit/how-the-minimum-income-floor-works-if-youre-self-employed/


I have just lost my job, do I have to claim UC?

If you’ve been working and lost your job, you may be able to claim new style Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), instead of, or with UC.  This is a contributory benefit and will depend  on your Class 1 NI contributions paid in the past two or three years. If you have had to stop working because you have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work, you may be able to claim new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead of, or with UC. This also depends on your NI contributions.


Your savings, or your partner’s, will not affect how much you are paid.  If your partner works it does not affect your claim, but a personal pension can affect the amount you receive. Both these benefits are paid fortnightly.


Drop in to one of our Citizens Advice offices to check if you are eligible for new style ESA or JSA, ring Adviceline on 03444 772020 or look at

https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-new-style-esa or


More information on Universal Credit at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales/benefits/universal-credit/

DWP freephone UC helpline 0800 328 9344 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm)