Legacy benefits

Six existing means-tested benefits are being replaced, for working age people, by Universal Credit.

If you currently receive one of these ‘legacy’ benefits, you will eventually be moved over to Universal Credit.

While Universal Credit is being phased in, these older ‘legacy’ benefits continue to be available to some new claimants in some areas of the UK. The government aims for this process to be complete by the end of 2018, from which time no new claims can be made. 

The only exception to this is people with three or more children, who can continue to claim the legacy benefits until 31 January 2019.

You can check whether you are eligible to claim Universal Credit in your area using the universalcreditinfo.net postcode checker.  

If you currently receive one of these benefits, you will at some point be moved over to Universal Credit. The government aims to complete this process by March 2023. 

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Jobseeker’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week and are looking for work. There are two forms of Jobseeker’s Allowance: 

  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is available if you have paid enough in National Insurance contributions. It is not being replaced by Universal Credit. 
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is based on your income and savings. Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is being phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.

During 2018, as the phasing out of income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance continues, there will be a gradually reducing number of postcodes across the UK where Universal Credit has yet to be introduced and you can still claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

No new claims for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance can be made after December 2018. If you are already getting income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will at some point be moved over to Universal Credit.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

You may be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if your ability to work is limited because of ill health or disability. There are two forms of ESA:

  • Contribution-based ESA is available if you have paid enough in National Insurance contributions. It is not being replaced by Universal Credit. 
  • Income-related ESA is based on your income and savings. Income-related ESA is being phased out and replaced by Universal Credit.

During 2018, as the phasing out of income-related ESA continues, there will be a gradually reducing number of postcodes where Universal Credit is yet to be introduced and you can still claim income-related ESA. The government aims for this process to be complete by the end of 2018. 

No new claims for income-related ESA can be made after December 2018. If you are already getting income-related ESA, you will at some point be moved over to Universal Credit.
 

Working-age Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit helps people pay their rent. All local councils, and the Housing Executive in Northern Ireland, run a Housing Benefit scheme. 

Housing Benefit will continue to be available for people over Pension Credit qualifying age. For more details on claiming this benefit, see our information on Housing Benefit

You can use this online calculator to check your Pension Credit qualifying age.

For people under Pension Credit qualifying age, Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit. As Universal Credit is phased in across the UK, there will be a gradually reducing number of postcodes where you can still claim working-age Housing Benefit. The government aims for this process to be complete by the end of 2018. 

You cannot get Universal Credit to pay for temporary or supported housing. In this case you will still need to apply for Housing Benefit, regardless of your age.

Income Support

Income Support is a benefit to cover basic living expenses if you can’t work. Only limited groups of people can now claim Income Support. This includes some carers and single parents with very young children.

Income Support is being replaced by Universal Credit. As Universal Credit is phased in across the UK, there will be a gradually reducing number of postcodes where you can still Income Support. The government aims for this process to be complete by the end of 2018. 

No new claims can be made for Income Support after December 2018. If you are already getting Income Support, you will at some point be moved over to Universal Credit.
 

Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit

Working Tax Credit is a benefit to top up the earnings of working people on a low income. Child Tax Credit is a means-tested benefit for people, working or not, who are responsible for children.

Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are being replaced by Universal Credit. As Universal Credit is phased in across the UK, there will be a gradually reducing number of postcodes where you can still claim Tax Credits. The government aims for this process to be complete by the end of 2018. 

If you are already getting Tax Credits, you will at some point be moved over to Universal Credit. It is not possible to claim Tax Credits at the same time as Universal Credit, so when you move on to Universal Credit, your Tax Credit entitlement will end.

Your Tax Credit award will be finalised at this point, rather than waiting for the final review at the end of the tax year.
 

There are also two older benefits, Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance, which have been replaced by Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

It is no longer possible to make a new claim for these benefits but some people who already receive them may continue to do so.  

Incapacity Benefit

This was replaced by contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in 2008.

If you are still receiving Incapacity Benefit, you may continue to receive it for the time being.

At some stage, you will be reassessed under the Work Capability Assessment. If you’re found eligible, you will be moved on to Employment and Support Allowance.

For more information about the Work Capability Assessment, see our information on Employment and Support Allowance.

Severe Disablement Allowance

Severe Disablement Allowance was abolished in 2001.

If you still receive it, at some stage you may be reassessed under the Work Capability Assessment.

If you’re found eligible, you will be moved on to Employment and Support Allowance.