There are certain eligibility criteria that need to be met to claim state benefits including Universal Credit. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether or not single mums can claim Universal Credit. Additionally, we will also explore other specifications that make an individual eligible for Universal Credit as well as changes in one’s circumstances that need to be communicated to DWP with regards to benefits claim.

Can Stay At Home Mums Get Universal Credit?

Yes, stay at home mums can claim Universal Credit. To qualify for Universal Credit, claimants must be able to fulfil the below eligibility criteria:

  • aged between 18 (in some cases it may be 16 or 17) and state pension age
  • unemployed or on low income
  • between the claimant and their partner, total savings are less than £6,000
  • experiencing high costs for child care
  • suffering from a disability or health condition
  • caring for someone else

The amount of Universal Credit that an individual receives depends on their personal circumstances and income (if any). For instance, someone who is single and younger than 25 years of age will be eligible for Universal Credit amounting to around £257 per month. Meanwhile, this amount will rise to around £509 for someone who is living with a partner and either one of them or both of them are above the age of 25.

You will be able to claim Universal Credit as per the below classification, depending on the number of children you have:

Number of childrenAmount of Universal Credit
First child£282.50 (born before 6 April 2017) £237.08 (born on or after 6 April 2017)
Second child and any other eligible children£237.08 per child
Disabled or severely child£128.89 or £402.41

If your youngest child is younger than 1 year of age, you will not be expected to look for work while you are on Universal Credit. Below are details of your responsibilities regarding work depending on the age of your child/children if you are claiming Universal Credit:

Age of your youngest childYour responsibilities
Under 1 yearYou don’t need to look for work in order to claim Universal Credit.
1 yearYou don’t need to look for work if you are not already working but you will be asked to attend work-related interviews with a work coach.
2 yearsYou should take active steps to prepare for work including making a CV. 
3 or 4 yearsYou should work or look for work for a maximum of 16 hours per week. This may include training and work-related interviews.
Between 5 and 12 yearsYou should work or look for work for a maximum of 25 hours per week. This may include training and work-related interviews.
13 years and aboveYou should work or look for work for a maximum of 35 hours per week. This may include training and work-related interviews.

In addition to Universal Credit, stay at home mums can also claim the following benefits:

  • Income Support.
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Pension Credit.
  • Housing Benefit.
  • Child Tax Credit.
  • Working Tax Credit

Can I Claim Universal Credit If I Quit My Job?

Yes, you can claim Universal Credit if you quit your job voluntarily. However, it is essential that are able to prove a “good reason” for quitting your job if you want to continue receiving your Universal Credit payments without any deductions from the Department for Work and Pension.

A good reason for leaving your job may include (but are not necessarily limited to) any of the following:

  • constructive discharge from your workplace
  • medical reasons that hamper your output/ability to work
  • better employment at another job
  • facing domestic violence at home
  • to care for a family member

According to Citizen’s Advice, good reasons for leaving your job (that will not affect your Universal Credit) payments include the following:

  • taking voluntary redundancy due to reasonable circumstances
  • weren’t paid according to the National Minimum Wage 
  • did not feel safe due to the lack of health and safety standards in the working conditions 
  • did not feel safe due to fear of being bullied or harassed 
  • worked on a zero-hour contract

You must be able to provide evidence of the reason that you claim for your resignation. If you are unable to claim a “good reason” for leaving your job and it appears to the DWP that you have voluntarily become unemployed, you will possibly face a sanction on your Universal Credit payments. This means that you will be paid a reduced amount of the benefit for a period of three months before you become entitled to the original amount.

When Do I Tell Universal Credit I Have A Job?

You should inform the Department for Work and Pensions immediately when you have a job, an increase in pay or any other change in circumstances that affect your eligibility criteria or the scale of payments that you receive in the form of Universal Credit (or any other state benefit). 

It is understandable that with a rise in income, you will face a reduction in your benefits. In the case of Universal Credit, for every £1 that you (or your partner earn), 55p will be counted as income during your Universal Credit calculation. While communicating a change to the DWP, you should state your disposable income in such cases, which is the take-home amount after your deduction of taxes, NIC and pension fund from your gross income.

If you or your partner have to take care of a child and one of you have limited capability for work, you may be able to claim a work allowance despite one of the partners having a job. However, if you were taking the help of Universal Credit to pay mortgage interest payments, you will lose that claim once you get a job.

It must be kept in view that your Universal Credit payment does not automatically stop when you get a job. You will continue to receive the benefit, however, the amount will be reduced depending on your wages.

Which Change In Circumstances Affect Universal Credit?

Certain changes in your circumstances can bear an impact on the benefits you receive including Universal Credit. If you hide such facts from the authorities with the intention to avoid a reduction in your benefits, you may be penalised or taken to court. Therefore, it is advisable if you face any of the following situations, you must inform the relevant authorities by signing in to your Universal Credit account

  • a new mobile number, postal or email address
  • a change in your bank details
  • change of residence due to moving in with a partner
  • having a child
  • changes to your health condition
  • being unable to work due to an illness
  • starting to care for a child or disabled person
  • finding or finishing a job
  • changes to your earnings, savings, investments
  • changes to rental payments
  • changes to your immigration status (in case you’re not a British citizen)

What Counts As Income For Universal Credit?

During your benefits calculation by the DWP, not only is your job-related income(s) taken into account, but the authorities will also consider unearned incomes. These are incomes that individuals receive without having to work.  

Unearned incomes that affect your Universal Credit payments include the following:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance (new style)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (new style)
  • Pension Income
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • State benefits that aren’t replaced by Universal Credit

For every £1 earned through any of the above means, £1 will be reduced from your Universal Credit payments.

However, the following unearned incomes do not count towards Universal Credit calculations:

  • Child Benefit
  • Child Maintenance Payments
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Income From Boarders And Lodgers.

Which Benefits Are Included In Universal Credit?

Universal Credit has replaced six benefits, referred to as the “legacy benefits” by serving a single payment for households and helping them meet housing and childcare costs. These include the following:

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

Additionally, it provides support for health conditions, disabilities or the role of a carer that prevent claimants from working full time or working at all.

Conclusion:

From the above discussion we can conclude that single mums and other individuals who fulfil the eligibility criteria for claiming Universal Credit will be able to receive payments until they are able to resume work again. If your youngest child is younger than 1 year of age, you will not be expected to look for work while you are on Universal Credit. However, once your youngest child is between 3 and 4 years of age, you will be expected to start looking for work. 

FAQs: Can Stay At Home Mums get Universal Credit?

Can I get Universal Credit if I live with my parents?

Yes, you can get Universal Credit if you live with your parents. However, if you live with other people, the amount that you may be able to claim will be reduced. For instance, if you live with your parents, your housing costs will be reduced.

How much is Universal Credit per child?

If your first child is born before 6 April 2017, you can claim £282.50 and if they are born on or after 6 April 2017, you can claim £237.08. 

Who is exempt from Universal Credit?

If you fail to meet the eligibility criteria for Universal Credit including being aged between 18 years and state pension age, unemployed or on a low income with total savings less than £6,000, experiencing high costs for child care, suffering from a disability or health condition or caring for someone else, you will be exempt from Universal Credit claims.

How can stay at home moms live financially?

Stay at home moms can manage their finances by altering their spending, managing a budget and looking for work from home job opportunities or part-time work that they may be able to transition to when need be.

Is it cheaper to be a stay at home mom?

While some individuals may find it more financially feasible to be a stay at home by saving on childcare costs; others may need the additional income that comes with a job. However, if someone is unable to find a job to cover their living expense, being a stay at home and claiming benefits may prove to be a cheaper option for them.

References:

Universal Credit: further information for families – GOV.UK

Can I be a stay at home mum and claim Universal Credit?

Universal Credit and you – GOV.UK

Can I claim Universal Credit if I leave my job voluntarily?

Universal Credit: Report a change of circumstances – GOV.UK

Getting a job and Universal Credit

Understanding Universal Credit – How earnings affect Universal Credit

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