This section details the benefits that those of working-age may be eligible to, including Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Statutory Sick Pay and Bereavement Support Payments.
Universal Credit is the means-tested benefit for working age people who have a low income whether they are in or out of work.
It is replacing:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit for working age people
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit.
Like the benefits it replaces, it includes some additional amounts for carers and for some people unable to work due to sickness or disability. It also includes help towards the costs of looking after children.
To claim Universal Credit you must:
- be 18 or over
- be under State Pension age
- have a low income and capital below £16,000
- be present, habitually resident and have the right to reside in Great Britain
- not be in education
- accept a Claimant Commitment (what is expected of you in return for receiving Universal Credit).
If you are already claiming one of the benefits that is being replaced by Universal Credit, you will eventually be moved onto Universal Credit.
You can claim Universal Credit online at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. It is paid monthly in arrears calculated on your income the previous month. You can choose to be paid twice a month if you live in Scotland.
If you require assistance with your claim, the Citizens Advice Bureau Help to Claim service can help you to claim Universal Credit. Or you can call 0800 0232581.
Jobseeker’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are under State Pension age, unemployed and available for work or working less than 16 hours per week.
There are two forms of Jobseeker’s Allowance:
- Contribution based or ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance depends on your National Insurance contribution record and it is paid at a flat rate of £84.80 for people aged 25 and over. It is paid for a maximum of 182 days in any one period of unemployment. The amount you receive may be affected by any earnings, or by an occupational or personal pension.
- Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance is being replaced by Universal Credit.
To claim Jobseeker’s Allowance contact your local Jobcentre Plus for advice or claim online at: www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/how-to-claim
Employment and Support Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance is for working age people who have limited capability for work due to ill health or disability. You will need a medical certificate, now called a “fit note”, from your GP before you can make a claim.
There are two main forms of Employment and Support Allowance:
- Contribution based or ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance depends on your National Insurance contribution record.
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance is being replaced by Universal Credit.
Most people who make new claims for Employment and Support Allowance will have an assessment phase of 13 weeks. A points based assessment looks at whether someone is either well enough to work, has ‘limited capability for work’ or ‘limited capability for work related activity’.
If you qualify for Employment and Support Allowance you will move from the assessment phase to the main phase. The number of points you qualify for affects whether you have to do certain things, such a prepare yourself for work or have interviews about looking for work, to continue to qualify for the benefit.
To claim ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance call 0800 055 6688 or visit www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/how-to-claim.
The number of points you receive when you are assessed will affect how long ‘new style’ employment and support allowance can be paid for.
Income Support, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit
These benefits are gradually being replaced by Universal Credit.
Statutory Sick Pay
Statutory Sick Pay is the minimum amount an employer must pay an employee who is incapable of work due to an illness, disability, or industrial injury. It is paid at £109.40 per week, normally after 3 waiting days and can be paid for up to 28 weeks. It does not depend on your National Insurance contribution record but you must be earning at least the lower earnings limit, which is £123 per week from April 2023. Statutory Sick Pay should be paid in the same way as your wages or salary; you may receive it as part of contractual sick pay from your employer.
Bereavement Support Payment is the benefit for working age people whose spouse or civil partner has died.
There is an initial payment of £2,500 (£3,500 for people who have dependent children) and up to 18 monthly instalments of £100 (£350 for people with dependent children).
To claim Bereavement Support Payment, contact the Department for Work and Pensions Bereavement Service on 0800 731 0469, get a form from your local Jobcentre Plus, or see the www.gov.uk website for more information.