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Benefits being replaced by Universal Credit

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

If you want to speak to someone about changes to benefits, you can phone the independent welfare changes helpline for free on 0808 802 0020 or contact your local Citizens Advice.

Universal Credit will replace:

  • Housing Benefit for rent
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income Support

If you're thinking of claiming one of these benefits for the first time, you might need to apply for Universal Credit instead. It depends where you live - check if you can apply.

You cannot apply for Universal Credit if you are including more than two children in your claim.

You’ll need to apply separately for help with your rates. A new Rate Rebate scheme is replacing Housing Benefit for rates for people claiming Universal Credit.

If you’re already getting any of these benefits, you don’t need to do anything until the Department for Communities (DfC) gets in touch.

It will take at least 5-6 weeks from when you claim to getting your first Universal Credit payment you can ask for an advance payment of Universal Credit if you need help.

Discretionary Support

If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment, you may be able to get emergency help with unexpected expenses or items you need for your house - for example a bed or cooker.

See Help for people on a low income for how to apply.

Food banks and help with other emergency expenses

If you don’t have enough food, you may be able to get help from a foodbank or other organisation.

See food banks for how to apply.

If you move in with a partner who gets Universal Credit

You'll have to make a joint claim for Universal Credit as a couple. This means that if you're claiming any of the benefits Universal Credit replaces, you'll need to stop and claim Universal Credit instead.

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