Can Universal Credit check my savings? Benefits

With Universal Credit now fully rolled out across the country, you may find yourself having to apply for it in the near future. However, it’s important to know what can affect how much you receive and what the threshold is. Here at Building Better Opportunities, we’ve put together this guide to explain how Universal Credit can check your savings.

Universal Credit is a Means Tested Benefit

Universal Credit is a means tested benefit. This means that how much you receive is dependent on how much you earn or have saved. To qualify for Universal Credit, you’re required to demonstrate that you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings. It’s important to note that when applying for Universal Credit, if you live with your partner, their income will be taken into account alongside yours. This applies even if they aren’t eligible for Universal Credit.

How savings affect your Universal Credit payments

It’s generally considered within benefits that the first £6,000 in savings doesn’t count towards docking your payments. However, anything above the £6,000 threshold will begin to have an impact on how much you’re paid. This is as a result of the government judging that your means start to outweigh your needs. If you, or you and your partner have savings of over £16,000, it’s unlikely that you will be accepted for any means tested benefits.

How your partner’s savings can affect Universal Credit

If you are part of a couple, the Government asks that you and your partner make a joint claim for Universal Credit. The Government defines a partner when applying for Universal Credit as any of the following:

  • Married to each other
  • Civil partners of each other
  • Living together as if they were married

If any of these criteria apply, you’ll be expected to use the partner code given to the first one of you to make an account to link yours and your partner’s claims. In order to claim as a couple, the qualifying criteria must now apply to both you and your partner. As mentioned above, this considers your joint savings. However, it also requires you both to:

  • Be living in England, Scotland or Wales
  • Live at the same address
  • Be Married to each other, civil partners of each other or living together as if you were married
  • Not be in full-time advanced education (except in certain circumstances such as if you’re responsible for a child, or receive certain disability benefits and have a limited capacity for work)
  • Not have joint savings or capital over £16,000
  • Be 18 or over

There are some exceptions to these rules for those 16 or over that may qualify through other circumstances. More information on these can be found on the government website. You can also still apply for Universal Credit if either both or one of you are employed, or self-employed providing that you’re on a low income.

To apply for Universal Credit, you can do so online. Once you’ve sent your application, the Universal Credit team may contact you for more information or to verify your identity. In order to ensure that the application process is easy to complete and quick, you’ll need to have the following available when you apply:

  • Your Driving Licence, Passport and debit/credit card
  • Your bank, building society, or credit union account details (call the Universal Credit helpline if you don’t have one)
  • An email address
  • Information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay
  • Details of your income, for example payslips
  • Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out
  • Details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs

Get help with your claim

If you have any further questions regarding your eligibility for Universal Credit, please contact us. You may also find our guide to Universal Credit helpful. Here at Building Better Opportunities, we offer support to anyone that may find themselves struggling with finances, welfare or employment. With support available for the whole application process, as well as a variety of other services, we’re here to help.

To use our free services simply call into one of our drop-in sessions held across Stafford and South Staffordshire. We are a lottery funded organisation that’s dedicated to supporting individuals, couples and families across Stafford and South Staffordshire with their finances, employment status and health and wellbeing.