Universal credit

Welfare Rights - Universal Credit block

Universal credit is a new benefit for people of working age, who are in or out of work. It is due to be introduced from October 2013 for new claims. 

This page lists all our resources on universal credit.

Universal Credit Early Warning System

Send us your case examples!

As the roll-out of universal credit gathers pace, we’d like to start building an evidence base on how the new benefit is affecting the health and wellbeing of children, their families and the communities and services that support them.

Building on the success of CPAG in Scotland’s Early Warning System, we are launching an Early Warning System for the rest of the UK beginning with cases relating to universal credit. We’d like to hear from you if you have cases that illustrate how universal credit is being implemented in practice, whether claimants are better or worse off than under the old system and how the new and old systems are being integrated. We will use the information gathered, in conjunction with evidence from CPAG in Scotland’s Early Warning System, to –

  • alert the DWP, local authorities and other interested parties to the issues raised with a view to influencing policy and working to get administrative problems resolved;
  • gather cases for our test case work ; and
  • ensure that advisers are kept up to date with the latest universal credit developments through our training, publications and Ask CPAG online resources.

So, if you are an adviser in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and have a case which illustrates how the new benefit is working for claimants, please complete our Universal Credit Early Warning System form (saving it to your computer first) and email it to ews@cpag.org.uk

NB – advisers in Scotland should continue to submit case examples on all welfare reforms, including universal credit, to CPAG in Scotland’s Early Warning System.


Key resources


  • Universal credit: problems and solutions

    Issue 256 (February 2017)
    article

    The roll out of the live and now full universal credit (UC) services has highlighted a number of problems. In some cases, these are caused primarily by interpretation of legislation and, in others, by DWP policies and systems. Henri Krishna summarises some of the main problems CPAG has encountered and shares solutions where we have them.

  • Universal credit full service – early warning

    Issue 255 (December 2016)
    article

    Kirsty McKechnie describes some early examples of problems with the operation of the ‘full service’ of universal credit, as reported to CPAG in Scotland’s Early Warning System.

  • Universal credit: alternative payment arrangements

    Issue 255 (December 2016)
    article

    David Simmons examines the normal and alternative universal credit payment arrangements.

  • Universal credit and ‘natural migration’

    Issue 254 (October 2016)
    article

    Simon Osborne looks at the circumstances in which a claimant with current entitlement to a ‘legacy’ benefit can end up on universal credit (UC) following a change in circumstances.

  • Housing benefit and universal credit

    Issue 253 (August 2016)
    article

    David Simmons examines some of the complexities that can arise from the phased replacement of housing benefit (HB) by universal credit (UC).

  • Universal credit: full steam ahead

    Issue 251 (April 2016)
    article

    Simon Osborne describes the latest plans for the roll out of universal credit (UC) and, in particular, the UC ‘full service’.1

    • 1. This process has already started: see, for example, provisions in SI 2016 No.33 and SI 2016 No.407.
  • Universal credit advances

    Issue 250 (February 2016)
    article

    Robbie Spence considers rules and practices that apply to payments in advance of universal credit (UC).

  • Universal credit: early warnings

    Issue 249 (Dec 2015)
    article

    Kirsty McKechnie reports on what is emerging about the experience of universal credit through CPAG in Scotland’s Early Warning System.

  • Universal credit: recent rule changes

    Issue 249 (Dec 2015)
    article

    Simon Osborne describes a number of new regulations which make some important changes to the universal credit (UC) rules.

  • Short-term benefit advances


    page

    Short-term benefit advances (STBAs) are small, repayable loans of future entitlement to certain benefits. They are for claimants who are in financial need due to delay in paying their benefit.