Universal Credit Calculator FAQs

| posted in: FAQ, Universal Credit | 124 Comments

multi-platform-uccalc
Below are a number of frequently asked questions about the Universal Credit Calculator. These are collated based on feedback on the calculator and other posts on the blog. If you have questions, or see something that is missing or unclear in the blog below, please post your comments at the bottom of this page.

If you are looking for the answer to a question, use ctrl+f to see if it has already been answered.

 

Q. What information is the calculator based on?

The calculator is currently based on the Universal Credit regulations published in February 2013. It gives an accurate estimate of your entitlement, but does not claim to be exact as it does not ask the full set of (around sixty) questions required by the DWP to process a Universal Credit claim.

Policy in Practice have been working on Universal Credit for a number of years and have a good insight into how it will work and believe the calculator offers the best balance between speed and accuracy for claimants. Welfare Advisors should enquire about the premium version which can be customised and offers a greater level of accuracy.

 

Q. Why are certain features (such as childcare) only available on the premium version?

The free version of the Universal Credit calculator is intended for claimants, as an illustration of how Universal Credit will work. It offers an accurate estimate of what your entitlement might be, based upon the information entered. Users should be aware that the calculator is a quick ‘ready-reckoner’, rather than a comprehensive calculation which would take approximately sixty questions, rather than the ten shown. However, the premium version of the calculator can be adapted to calculate for the costs of further aspects of Universal Credit and other welfare reforms. Every effort is being made to improve the functionality of the free version as much as possible, so please bear with us in the meantime!

 

Q. The calculator tells me how much better off I will be in work under Universal Credit, but it doesn’t allow me to see if I am set to gain or lose anything when it comes into effect. If I am in work then how is this information useful to me?

Universal Credit is designed to reward work, and so it is important to see how work pays under the new system. There are many people who do want to know their out of work entitlement, which is also a central part of the Universal Credit calculation. Additionally, it is important to let people see the Housing Element, Child Element, and Unemployment elements of their Universal Credit entitlement since these are all separate payments under the current system.

The premium version allows advisors to compare the current benefit system against Universal Credit. Claimants can compare their current tax credit award / take home pay with what they get in terms of in-work Universal Credit support and take home income under Universal Credit.

 

Q. The calculator gives figures for both weekly and monthly allowances, but how often will I actually get paid?

Universal Credit will be paid monthly in a majority of cases. In certain exceptional circumstances, landlords and advisors can apply for more frequent payments.

 

Q. What is an ‘earnings disregard’ / ‘work allowance’?

The earnings disregard, also known as a ‘Work Allowance’ is an amount of money that a household can earn without affecting their Universal Credit award. The amount of the work allowance depends on the household, for example: lone parents receive a higher work allowance because they may face higher costs to go to work, and households with zero housing costs can earn more to encourage lower housing benefit payments.

 

Q. Does the calculator account for housing under-occupancy?

The premium version of the Universal Credit calculator calculates the cost of the bedroom tax.  If you are using the free version of the calculator, you may receive less housing benefit than shown if you have a spare bedroom (i.e. if the number of bedrooms is equal to the number of residents).  If you are concerned about how the bedroom tax will affect you, you should contact your Local Authority.

 

Q. I’m self employed, how do I use the calculator?

It is not yet clear how claims will work for those in self employment. Policy in Practice expect Universal Credit to follow a similar process to the current benefit system. To use the calculator, follow these steps:

1. Calculate your hourly wage by dividing your expected weekly profit by your hours worked.

2. Enter the higher of the minimum wage or the actual hourly wage and the hours worked.

3. Use the calculator as normal.

If your income / hours fluctuate, then Universal Credit will likely take the average income from the last three months to calculate your next Universal Credit award. Read this blog post for further information on self employment under Universal Credit.

 

Q. Should I include Council Tax Support in the calculations?

A: No, Council Tax Support will not be included in Universal Credit. Policy in Practice have worked with a number of large local authorities to design Council Tax Support schemes that work with Universal Credit and the other changes to the welfare system. Click here for thoughts on the decision to exclude Council Tax Support from Universal Credit.

The premium version of the calculator includes estimates of council tax support based upon the default schemes that the majority of councils will be using.

 

Q. I’m a student, how do I use the calculator? Will my bursary count as income?

Typically, student income will count as unearned income and will lead to a pound for pound reduction in the Universal Credit award. However, the regulations are unclear and are currently being scrutinised by the SSAC, students may yet be entitled to Universal Credit support.

Having made the choice to be in full-time education, students may be expected to take on the costs of supporting themselves and pay for this through higher future earnings (as under tax credits and JSA).

The alternative is that it will be treated in the same way as earnings. You would keep your housing support, and have your universal credit fall away at a rate of 65p in every pound of bursary above the earning disregard level. You would keep a percentage of your additional earnings from work.

 

Q. Why can’t I find my local authority in the Local Authority Area drop-down selection?

The drop-down for Local Authority Area does not directly correspond to each local authority, but rather to the Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA) that is used to calculate housing benefit. A local authority may only have one BRMA, but many have more than one BRMA (especially in London) .

You can input either your postcode or local authority into the BRMA finderto find your BRMA, then select this area in the drop-down.

124 Responses

  1. where is the option for couple with 4 kids. the breakdown is the same as it is now anyway so why change it?

  2. Angie Richmond

    Type your comment here…

    This is a good calculator.  However, the screen is too small and mistakes could easily be made.  Are these figures calculated for a monthly or weekly return? 

  3. deven_pip

    Angie – Thanks for the feedback.  I will look at this in the next iteration. 
    Julie – A scenario for four children will be added in the next iteration.  The calculator is built and developed in my spare time, and is intended only as an iteration.  The main difference between the current system and Universal Credit is what happens when the claimant moves into work. 
    Hope this helps. Deven. 

  4. It won’t let me print out the input form or results.

  5. deven_pip

    Hi,
    I have just made a significant update to the Universal Credit calculator.  
    It should look better and be much easier to use.
    Feedback with either positive or constructive comments is always appreciated. 🙂
     

    • Nadire Asllani

      I used the calculator and I understand that is an estimated amount. I found a little confusion about the disabilities which says some disability and serious disability. These terms have to be cleared; whose people are part of some disability and serious disability when both groups are out of work. Thank you
       

      • Hello Nadire,
        Disability and severe disability are based on the outcome of the work capability assessment. I will make this clearer in the. Tooltips for users. Thanks.

  6. Hi
    I work term time only and my hours and pay is annualised. How do you input that
    Thanks

  7. Hi

    Wondered whether there is anywhere to look into family claims, this one does not take account of my husband’s income 

  8. deven_pip

    Sarah, Fran, 
    Both good questions.  The ability to enter two incomes, or a salaried income will be available in the next iteration of the calculator.  
    In the meantime, you can calculate the figures by taking your annual household income and dividing it by the number of hours you (and your partner) work each year.  Use this to work out your hourly wage and the number of hours you (as a household) work each week. 
    Thank you for your feedback. 

  9. Hi,
    First off, I really like the calculator, especially the In work entitlement page, which could be a real benefit to people.
    Out of interest, how is the calculation done? I only ask as UC won’t ‘go live’ officially for another 18 months and the regulations have yet to be finalized, so do you think there is a (small) danger that the calculator could mis-inform people about their potential entitlement?
    I like how simple it is to use, but there are so many other factors that affect entitlement, not least:
    Transitional Protection for existing legacy benefit claimants when they switch over to UC – i appreciate this is impossible to add to the functionality!
    Non-dependants – any non-deps would reduce the amount of the eligible housing element
    Children – a different allowance is applied depending on whether you have no children, 1 child, or 2 or more
    Housing costs – support for mortgage interest will be available in UC, so this could be made clearer in the calculator.
    Conditionality – Where earns less than the amount expected of them, sanctions will apply reducing entitlement as they would be expected to contribute to the housing costs
    Childcare – UC will cover up to 70% of the cost of childcare (depending on ceratin criteria and limits)
    Earnings from Self-employment – where someone earns less than amount expected of them, they will be subject to an assumed income which will reduce entitlement
    I know your calculator is for illustrative purposes only, and i think its great that you have got something up and running before even the DWP have, but i wonder if its a bit too soon?
     

    • deven_pip

      Kit,

      Thank you. I really appreciate the feedback.
      Your comments are correct – it is impossible to build an accurate Universal Credit calculator until all of the regulations have been confirmed. However, I think it is better to have something available, even though it is illustrative, to help public understanding of Universal Credit.

      Users should be made aware of the disclaimer and I will add this to the calculator page. Having said that, I have been working on Universal Credit for a number of years and have a good insight into how it will work and where some of the regulations might land.

      Transitional protection – Yes, this is impossible to model but existing benefit and tax credit claimants should be reassured that they won’t be made worse off in cash terms when Universal Credit is launched.
      Non-dependents – I’ll look into this and put a post up shortly.
      Children – this functionality is already in the calculator. Families with more than three children should edit and add another £50 to their Universal Credit award for each additional child (reflecting the existing child tax credit).
      Housings costs – Housing costs can be edited in step one to reflect support for mortgage interest. The info bubble explains has been changed to explain this more clearly.
      Conditionality – I don’t think your understanding of conditionality is accurate. Read my blog post on in-work conditionality for more information.
      Childcare – I will look into adding this functionality.
      Earnings from self-employment – entering hours worked and using the default minimum wage gives an idea of how UC will work for the self-employed.

      You missed off a couple of things too – for example, Passported benefits such as free school meals will have an impact on entitlement and council tax support is (inexplicably) outside of Universal Credit.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      • Thanks for the quick reply Deven.
        Apologies, I garbled my comment on conditionality (i copied and pasted a line which was supposed to go next to the part on non-dependants!) Ignore my point on that.
        As for Passported Benefits and local CTAX support, i know all about the issues related to them – its what keeps me awake most nights (my job means i’m involved in all 3)!
         
        I look forward to seeing how the calculator develops as more details are released on UC. There will be an official ‘what if’ UC calculator available for go live in Oct 2013, hopefully it will be as user friendly as yours.
        Regards.

        • deven_pip

          Kit,
          Thanks again for your post.
          Feel free to post your thoughts on UC and Welfare Reform on the site – simply register and click on ‘write a post’ at the top of the page.
          Regards,
          Deven.

  10. Hi
    How do self employed people use the calculator
    Thanks

    • deven_pip

      Good question Fran – Thanks for your comment.

      This is unclear. I would expect Universal Credit to follow a similar process to the current benefit system when making a self employed claim – with some important differences.

      I wrote a blog post on self employment under Universal Credit.

      In the meantime:
      1. Calculate your hourly wage by dividing your expected weekly profit by your hours worked.
      2. Enter the higher of the minimum wage or the actual hourly wage and the hours worked.
      3. Use the calculator as normal.

      If your income / hours fluctuate, then Universal Credit will likely take information from the last reported month to calculate this months Universal Credit award.

      If you have time, I would be grateful if you could outline the current process for making a claim as self-employed under the current system, either as a new blog post or as a comment under the self employed post.

      Thanks again for your comment.

  11. Hi when I tried the calculator I was adding a couple with children but then the calculator only asks for 1 of the income’s. Am I doing something wrong when addidng information or does the UC looking at one claimants income?

    Thank you

    • deven_pip

      Hi Antonina,

      I will update the calculator in the next couple of weeks to allow you to enter two incomes.
      In the meantime you can get around this by
      a) Summing you and your partners a) income and b) hours
      b) Dividing total household income by total hours worked to get the household hourly wage
      c) Entering the household hourly wage and the household hours worked into the calculator.

      I hope this helps. Thanks for your feedback. Deven.

  12. 1)  Calculator just says Housing Costs
    I eventually guessed it meant Monthly Housing Costs but that should be stated.
     
    2)I am self-employed and I couldn’t work out how to fit that into the calculator

    • Thanks. It actually asks for weekly housing costs, this will be made clear in the next update.
      For self employment, please enter either the net profit / hours worked, or the minimum wage, whichever is the greater, in the hourly wage box. Enter weekly hours in the weekly hours box. I hope this helps. Deven.

  13. dont think much of calculator did not ask about pensions (war)

    not sure what it means about housing costs ? is that rent only or can you put in your mortgage   

    • Hi Dave,
      War Pensions will not form a part of the Universal Credit award.
      In addition, the calculator is developed in my spare time, though it doesn’t yet take into account all eventualities it will be broadly accurate for the majority of claimants. You can enter support for mortgage interest, or your actual housing costs in the housing box in the entitlement screen. Hope this helps. Deven.

  14. I just used the calculator and felt the housing costs option will mislead people. I entered my actual rent under housing costs and the resulting estimate included housing costs covering the whole of my rent, which won’t happen under UC.
    Why does the calculator ask for an actual rent amount, and the size of your property, knowing that housing costs will be based on/similar to current LHA arrangements? Wouldn’t it be better to stick to using LHA amounts?
    It’s also not clear that you would need to alter the size of property to what you’d be entitled to claim for, rather than the size of property you live in, in order to get the figure for the housing allowance you’d receive.

    • Hi SJ, Thanks for the feedback.
      The calculator gives an option to use the LHA figure, or enter your actual. I tested the calculator using an actual rent figure just now and it worked as expected. Was your actual rent above or below the LHA figure for your area? At the moment, I don’t have validation to say it should take the ‘lower of’ LHA or the amount entered and this is probably where your problem lies. The calculator is being updated at the moment as per the latest regs, this will take into account under occupation and I will add the validation above. Thanks. Deven.

      • My rent is higher than LHA. I assumed the calculator would work out the estimate based on what you’re entitled to (having entered household details), else why have the option of entering an actual rent? I’m glad this is being updated. There’s also no mention of the under-35 shared accommodation rate.

        • Thanks. I will change the ‘shared’ option to ‘Age: Under 35 – Shared’ and put a note in the guidance to make this clearer.

  15. sorry I gave up. How would I input a pension and a bed room tax – claiming UC with one partner over PCQA and one below

    • Hello Maggie,
      The calculator is currently being overhauled to incorporate the latest regulations for Universal Credit. It is a fairly substantial piece of work, but the next iteration will include a bedroom tax and the ability to enter two incomes. Please bear with me. Thanks, Deven.

  16. If I set “coupled household” at the start of the calculator it should ask me about my partner’s earnings too, not just mine.

  17. Vicky Hughes

    Hello, thanks for sending me the UVC calculator. Here are a few points I found. When I began step 1 regarding housing costs there was no specification if it was to be input weekly/monthly, the amount stated on screen was £400 plus which exceeds my monthly rent but may equate to a week in London. I input rent for weekly but had to guess.
    Step 2. My son is 16 and in FT college and so dependent on me which I stated, although step 2 calculated entitlement at only £150, which would mean £100 rent and council tax and only £50 for myself and son plus food and bills per week. When previously claimed benefits I received full HB and CTB plus about £120 not inc child benefit weekly. Think it has not included my son as a dependent child.
    Next step. The monthly calculation. Under the heading “Management Information”, on the blue section it states “The claimant is better off in work by £463.42 per week”. But underneath it states “The claimant is better off in work by £463.42 per month”. I think they should both state month. However the graph which I am unable to copy paste to show you in fact shows I would have £2,014 per month out of work and £1578 in work. This is actually stating I will be 463.42 worse off when in work. I hope this is not right. I hope this helps. I can give you my info for you to check the calculations yourself if you want. Please let me know when you make any updates to the calculator.
    Many thanks,
    Vicky

    • Thanks Vicky.
      These have now been fixed. Let me know if you have any more feedback.
      Deven.

  18. Type your comment here…does the calculator include the under occupancy calculations. It seems to me the questions asked do not allow for this to be included in the calculation. If not then the information may be flawed.

    I could be getting this completly wrong apologies if so  

    • Hi Tony. Great question.
      The calculator throws up an alert if you appear to be under occupying. For example, if you are a couple with one child but rent a three bedroom house, the alert will say ‘You may receive less housing benefit than shown if you have a spare bedroom.’ You can then adjust your housing costs manually in the ‘Enter Monthly Housing Costs’ box. The calculator is a quick ‘ready-reckoner’, rather than a comprehensive calculation which would take approximately sixty questions, rather than the ten shown. I am working with other companies to build a comprehensive calculator, but this won’t be ready until early next year.
      I hope this answers your question and you still find the calculator useful.
      Thanks. Deven.

  19. I really don’t understand how to read the graph results, where on the calculator does it give you a monthly figure of what you’d receive? I just wanted it to tell me after I put in earnings how much UC I’d get, not ‘how much better off I am working’ etc. I need to know how much my household would get compared to what we get from tax credits.

    • Hi Ed,
      In step 4, below the graph the calculator shows you monthly and weekly ‘take home income’.
      You can then compare this to your current take home income to see the difference.
      Thanks. Deven.

  20. tina wignall

    Type your comment here…it actually answers very little.  There are no details if you are working part time, no details on mortgage payments or how we are supposed to live without help with them even though its cheaper than most rented accomodation…however, since we receive up to 4 letters in one hit, all saying totally different things from the DWP (and even they have no idea what it all means,) this system can’t be any worse I just seriously doubt that it will improve until someone who can actually think things through takes over.

    • Hi Tina,
      I will add some guidance to the calculator for claimants with a mortgage. In summary: Home-owners / owner occupiers will only be entitled to mortgage support under Universal Credit if they are out of work (zero-earnings). There will also be a waiting period (TBD) before they can claim mortgage support. There will be a two-year limit to mortgage support under Universal Credit that will apply to households that are able to work. The government rationale behind the mortgage support regulations is that owner-occupiers should find work as soon as possible to meet their mortgage obligations.
      Letters from the DWP need to improve, I hope that they will – and though I’m not directly involved with the UC program I am doing all I can to think things through. All the best.

  21. this calc is confusing,as a already working household never not worked why do i want to know about my unemployment its not a factor,i do want to know how it impacts on the working poor. it would be helpfull to be able to see a comparrison between now and when uc comes in as opposed to comparing unemployed to employed

    • Hi Juliette.
      Many people do want to know their out of work entitlement, and it is an important part of the Universal Credit calculation. People may want to see their the Housing Element, Child Element, Unemployment element since these have been abolished. I have been asked about the comparison between now and under Universal Credit and am working toward this with a number of existing claim companies to help them build Universal Credit into their claim calculations. In the meantime, you can compare your current tax credit award / take home pay with what you may get in terms of in-work Universal Credit support and take home income under Universal Credit. The calculator is deliberately a ‘ready-reckoner’ and an estimate of your likely award. I hope you find it helpful. Deven.

  22. Your under 25 calculations are incorrect, Under 25’s get the shared accomodation rate regardless of actual property type (which is a load of bull in my opinion but thats a complaint for elsewhere) this means that your calculator is wrong I just did it for me and said I was getting £108 a week for my rent, I wish, I only get £58. That needs to be fixed. (both the calculator and the benefits, but only one is likely i think :'( )

    • Thanks for the feedback – I don’t quite follow though. You can edit your housing costs in the ‘Enter Monthly Housing Costs’ box.
      It is up to you to select the appropriate housing type (in your case, the shared room rate). Are you saying that if you select ‘Single (under 25)’ in household type, you should only get the shared room rate as a maximum, even if you have children? I don’t think that would be correct – the shared room rate only applies to single people. Sorry if I have misunderstood you. Best, Deven.

  23. Hi
    What about self employed people, how do they use calculator and housing costs is only mortgage interest not mortgage total, i think this needs to be clearer as there is room for error

  24. david.evans

    HI. I like the calculator. My query is regarding the ‘Housing Costs’ section. This seems a bit ambigious. Are you asking people to put in their montly rent or their rent + other costs to run there household? Thanks. David

  25. david.evans

    Also, do you have a seperate bedroom tax calculator which could be intergrated into this? It would help give an overall idea for people on how they could be affected by the Universal credit.

    • Hi David,
      The calculator asks you to enter the applicable housing costs Universal Credit under Universal Credit. For most people, this will be their monthly rent. The free calculator flags a warning if the number of bedrooms is greater than the number of residents.
      The premium version of the calculator can be adapted to calculate the costs of the bedroom tax.
      I hope this is helpful. If you have suggestions for how to improve the calculator please let me know. Thanks.

  26. I trialled the calculator, added in 2 kids and 3 bedroom but it did not take into account the bedroom tax, if both kids were same gender they would share and housing element should therefore be reduced by 14%. Am I missing something?

    • Hello Ian,
      Thanks for posting this as a comment on the site, so others can see the response.
      You aren’t missing anything at the moment. The free version of the calculator does not incorporate a full bedroom tax calculation as it would add to the amount of information people have to enter. There is an alert if the household appears to have a spare bedroom, but it does not take into account the age of children for example. I will update the hover over guidance and introduce an alert box when the number of rooms is the same as the number of people in the house so that people are informed of the risk. I’ll do this in the next update in December.
      Deven.

      • Deven,

        I know you have not worked out how students will be effected yet but what about those on maternity? I’m sure you are aware that the Council class maternity allowance as income yet the tax office don’t. Something else to bear in mind. 

  27. Hello

    I was wondering why the earnings disregard doesn’t change when you add addtional children to the household. I have used a single person with one child and then added a second child to the claim and there has been no change in the disregard.

    I take it when you are talking about the disregard you are talking about the appropiate floor level for someones claim. I have been doing some manual calcs based on some training I have had and understand that the minimum floor is used when this is higher than the maximum floor minus 1.5 times the housing cost. Each child should be increasing the minimum floor level. If the minimum floor goes up then on your calculator this should equate to the earnings disregard increasing – if this is the right floor to be using.

    Also I feel that for the calculator to be really useful then if would do the comparision of what benefit your currently get to what you might get in UC. In the current benefits system if you do the calculation of not working to working you are usually better off. To see if you stand to gain or lose out in the new system would be better.

    Simon

    • Simon,

      Thanks for your comments and feedback.

      The rules around disregards have been changed in the latest draft of the regulations to be simpler to explain to claimants.

      The disregard ceiling only applies to people with no housing costs. Otherwise the floor applies.

      The premium version allows for a comparison between the current benefit system and UC. Contact me if you are interested in licensing.

      Hope this answers your questions.

      Deven

  28. Using your calculator and some others available on the internet, aswell as working them out maually as much as possible, i’m getting different awards. This ranges from pence to hundreds of punds a month. The larger amounts seem to be down to the income disregard used, either the maximum or minimum amount.

    If after 1.5 x the claimant’s housing costs has been deducted from the maximum income disregard do you use the maximum or minimum income disregard?

    • Hello Craig,
      A good question to ask!
      The free version of the Universal Credit calculator only provides an estimate, though accurate in 95% of cases. No calculator can be 100% accurate as the regulations for Universal Credit have yet to be finalised and do change from time to time – though I am using the latest version of the regulations.
      In the latest release, it was announced that Universal Credit no longer deducts 1.5 x housing costs to calculate disregards. If housing costs are zero, then it uses the disregard ceiling, otherwise it uses the lower disregard floor.
      I offer training on the policy background and on the detail behind (as well as the implications of) the regulations. If it would be helpful for your authority, please get in touch.
      Thanks, Deven.

  29. well it lied to me! It doesnt take into account if you dont work you dont need to pay childcare or buses to and from work. I think UC are going to hurt me even more. I work waking nights and dont always have childcare during the day is the government saying i have to put my child in even more danger (of me falling asleep through exhaustion) by going back full time and not sleeping at all???

    • Dear Anonymous,

      Unfortunately childcare costs are not available on the free version of the calculator, though they are available on the premium version. The calculator does not take other work related expenses (such as travel) into account as these are not part of the welfare system. You can do these calculations yourself by subtracting your travel / childcare expenses from the ‘better off in work’ amount.

  30. The calculator doesn’t seem to show the correct amounts for under 25’s?

    • deven.ghelani

      Hi Lisa,
      There will be an update to the public version of the calculator later this month. The premium version is already updated in line with the Universal Credit Regulations (December 2012).
      Deven.

      • deven.ghelani

        This update is now complete – the calculator now meets the latest draft of Universal Credit regulations as of April 2013.

      • michaela

        Hi The calculations say ‘under current benifit system’ I get £400+ a week.
        But in fact i get £350 a week… Includeing child benifit So how am i ment to know if the u.c calcuations are correct. I understand its just an exteimation but surely it can not be that wrong that it hasn’t got the correct amount under the current system.

        • Dear Michaela,

          The calculator is meant to be a quick and easy estimate of your entitlement. It does not claim to be exact because it does not ask the full set of (around sixty) questions required by the DWP to process a claim.

          It is possible that the calculator is estimating a higher amount under the current system because your housing benefit is lower than the maximum allowance in your area. To get a more accurate estimate, enter in the amount of housing benefit you currently receive in ‘Rent’ on Step 1 of the calculator.

    • christopher williams

      hi the calculater does not seem to show the child disablity award in the calculation now it did last month seems there is a problem

      • Dear Christopher,

        We have recently added child disability to the free version of the calculator. I hope that it will now be more useful to you. Thank you for pointing this out.

    • with the new calculator i dont appear to be entitled to anything at all- i dont work i have children under 8 but i have ‘assets’ 2 properties left over from my messy divorce one is tenanted but it doesnt bring in cash as they are always wanting repairs – this is really depressing – unless i can put the kids in a home and work full time but that way i wont see them

      • Dear Lucy,

        I am sorry to hear about your situation. Since you are very concerned, I suggest that you contact your Job Centre or Local Authority directly and speak to them about your case.

        Households with savings over 16k, including non-residential properties, are not entitled to Universal Credit. We have argued that the savings limit should be raised in this post. There is a grace period of six months where a household would continue to receive Universal Credit if they were to see an increase in assets (i.e. through inheritance, or sale of a main home).

        Universal Credit is not expected to affect households in receipt of tax credits until at least 2014 at the earliest – so you have time to prepare for these changes. Would you be able to sell one of your properties? Could you take up part-time work without needing childcare (if your children are in school)? Could you increase your tenant’s rent?

        I hope this has been helpful.

  31. stephanie snow

    No OPTION FOR SELF EMPLOYMENT ON THE CALCULATOR SO NO GOOD FOR ME

    • deven.ghelani

      Hi Stephanie,
      Many have asked a similar question. You can find guidance on self-employment and Universal Credit by searching this blog.
      For example, try the FAQ or this post on self employment.

  32. I don’t work but have an injury pension income. Will your updated calculator include ‘other income’.? Thanks

    • deven.ghelani

      Hi Nicky,
      The premium version already includes ‘other income’. I hope to make this available through the site in April, before the launch of the Universal Credit Pathfinder.
      Best regards,
      Deven.

  33. John Lissimore

    I see your calculation assumes working 52 weeks in a year, I have yet to find an employer who wants me to work 52 weeks…

    • deven.ghelani

      Hello John,
      Thanks for the comment. The calculator shows monthly earnings by default (as with Universal Credit) so if you enter your monthly earnings you should get a reasonable estimate of your monthly income. Clearly, this will change from month to month as your hours change.
      I hope this helps. Deven.

    • Dear John,

      The calculator assumes that a person is working 52.14 weeks in a year (365/7). To make the calculator more accurate for your circumstances, you could average out the hours you work in a year over 52.14 weeks. For example, if you work 35 hours/week for 45 weeks (1575 hours/year), this would be equivalent to working about 30 hours/week for the full 52.14 weeks. Alternatively, you could enter your gross monthly salary and average number of hours worked each week.

  34. this calculator isnt any good for people with more than 4 children

    • Dear Clare,

      The free version of the calculator has now been upgraded so that users can select more children. I hope this will be of help to you.

  35. Dominic O'Dell

    Weekly or monthly salary needs to clarify gross or net after tax? This could be a confusion and distort earnings applied to the calculator, especially at 40% rate.

    • deven.ghelani

      Hello Dominic –
      Thanks for your comment – you should enter gross salary. The calculator takes into account the 40% tax rate for higher earners.
      Many thanks, Deven.

    • Dear Dominic,

      Thank you for your comments. Gross and net earnings have now been made clearer in the calculator.

  36. I have 5 children but no option to click 5 and when I clicked 4 children it says it will pay out nearly double what I receive now. I’m not understanding this

    • Dear Cheryl,

      The free version of the calculator has now been upgraded to allow users to select more children. Hopefully this will be of more help to you now. Please note that this calculation is for Universal Credit and will differ from the benefits you are receiving currently. These features are available in the premium version, designed for advisors. A new discussion has been set up here to discuss individual cases if you would like to comment there with more detail on your particular circumstances.

  37. What if you have more than 4 children there is no option for more but surely would make a difference

    • deven.ghelani

      Hello,
      Having more children does of course make a difference. The premium version of the Universal Credit Calculator (designed for advisors) allows you to enter up to six children and offers a host of other features. I will try to add features to the free version of the Universal Credit calculator over time.
      Thanks, Deven.

    • Dear HM,

      The free version of the calculator has now been upgraded so that users can select more children. I hope this will be of help to you.

  38. christopher williams

    Hi the calculator does not show the child disability elements it used to but not now

    • Dear Christopher,

      We have recently added child disability to the free version of the calculator. I hope that it will now be more useful to you. Thank you for pointing this out.

      • Anastacia

        You might have added it to the key but no amount shows on the bar chart itself. Why? Does that mean you don’t get any amount even though you have a child with a disability ( highest component) cause I cannot see any amount on the chart.

        • Dear Anastacia,

          We have recently made some updates to the calculator which may have affected the way it worked in your browser. Try your calculation again, and if the child disability element is still not showing for you, try clearing your cache. If you select child disability, this should appear in the breakdown in Step 2 and in the chart in Step 4 as both ‘Child Disability Support’ (the element of Universal Credit) and ‘Non-means-tested Income’ (DLA).

  39. ruth manito

    i am a full time carer for my mentally disabled 19 yr old son. we carers survive on less than pensioners and are being hit again in this reform. when will the calculator consider carers?

    • Dear Ruth,

      Full time carers are entitled to support under Universal Credit, but a household may only be entitled to an adult disability element or a carer element as part of their Universal Credit award, not both. Carer support can be selected in the ‘Adult Disability’ box in the calculator.

  40. It doesn’t take into account the Self Employed

  41. Ronald John Martin

    hi, would like asking you must forget new calculator income tax and national insurance update for 2013/2014, when i post policy practice calculator workout my take home earning that is from 2012/13 for tax and national insurance, so can you setup new for 2013/14 for income tax and national isurance??

  42. Hi,

    Thank you for the handy calculator which I find quite useful.

    Just 1 thing, regarding the income, there is a slight difference between the calculated earnings (it should be a gross) and the earnings amount displayed in the bar chart. Can I understand the earnings amount in the bar chart indicates Net Income after tax & NIC? If it already takes NIC into account, probably it is based on Class 1, so for SE, we should adjust into class 2 & 4, correct?

    Appreciate your input.

    Vinci

    • Dear Vinci,

      Thanks for your comment. We have now labelled gross and net earnings in the boxes to make this clearer. What you see in the bar chart is your net earnings. The calculator is assuming Class 1 for National Insurance (12% above the £149 threshold).

  43. I want to know how my financial situation will change and for this reason I can only assume the premium version is not available because the news will not be good. According to this ‘free’ version I will be worse off – as a single mother of two working 34 hours a week – by around £300 to £400 a month, however I can’t be sure as I can’t get access to the premium version. Why on earth is it not available to everyone?????

    • Dear Jill,

      Thank you for your comment. The Universal Calculator was developed entirely on a voluntary basis and as such, unfortunately we charge for the premium version of the calculator in order to cover our costs. We are always seeking to add to the features available in the calculator and hope to reach as many as people as possible. The free version is maintained on the same basis as the premium version and provides sufficient information for most claimants. The premium version is targeted at welfare support advisors and advice agencies. What features on the premium version do you feel would make your calculation more accurate?

      Without knowing your full set of circumstances, I cannot be sure if your calculations are correct. If you would like me to look into your case further, please reply to this comment with the full set of circumstances that you are entering into the calculator (local authority, rent, etc.).

  44. Hi, I am paid fortnightly, would there be an option for this when the UC system starts, also does the UC system take into acount any pension payments being made into a personal pension as do the Tax Credit system does, Thanks

    • Dear Mike,

      Universal Credit will be paid monthly in the majority of cases.

      It will be possible to receive payments more frequently in exceptional cases. An advisor will decide this and their decision will be partly discretionary and partly based on a set of questions designed to determine your level of vulnerability. You may be asked to provide a written statement to DWP detailing your personal circumstances and why you need to receive payments more frequently.

      Payments into a personal pension scheme will be disregarded from your net income when calculating your Universal Credit entitlement.

      Under Universal Credit, personal pension schemes will be treated as capital. This has recently been detailed in the DWP’s Advice for Decision Making. (See the definition of capital in section H1020.)

      If your total capital (personal pension scheme contributions + savings + investments, etc) is below £6,000, your Universal Credit entitlement will not be affected. If your total capital is between £6,000-£16,000, your Universal Credit entitlement will be reduced by £4.35 for each £250 or part of £250 over £6,000. Capital above £16,000 would make you ineligible for Universal Credit.

  45. my 24 year old daughter ,currently unfit for work- has some savings (£13000) but a larger amount of student debt (£22000) will the debt figure also be taken into consideration in calculating her benefit entitlement..How does this work out in practice?

    • Dear Mike,

      Universal Credit will only take into account your daughter’s savings, not her amount of student debt. Her monthly Universal Credit award will be reduced by £1 for every £250 she has in savings over £6,000. (And if her savings were to reach £16,000, she would not be entitled to Universal Credit).

  46. don’t like it you should get more dosh for the more you earn that’s a reward no point in working at all by this is a scam it could be illegal it a short term carrot /a long carrot 6 months grace call it what you like a sweetener

    • Dear Spud,

      Universal Credit aims to make people better off in work by allowing them to keep more of their earnings before Universal Credit is withdrawn, and by withdrawing at a single taper rate.

      Why do you feel you will be no better off in work?

  47. Chris Gregory

    Why isn’t Tunbridge Wells Borough Council or Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council in the drop-down Local Authority Area selection?

    • Dear Chris,

      The drop-down for Local Authority Area does not directly correspond to each local authority, but rather to the Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA) that is used to calculate housing benefit. A local authority may only have one BRMA, but many have more than one (especially in London).

      You can input either your postcode or local authority into the BRMA finder to find your BRMA, then select this area in the drop-down.

  48. Hi
    I was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and again sept 2012 and had to reduce my hours of work as I can’t sustain an 8 hour day. Under tax credits I get the disability element due to this. I don’t get dla I have recently become self employed. Unsure what work conditionality group I will be in. Will I be assessed? Thanks

  49. tracy christine

    I work 36.25 hours a week and according to this calculator, when the universal credits replace my existing working tax credits and child tax credits, I will be -£147.00 per month worse off than I would be if I were unemployed. I thought this was supposed to make work pay?!

    • Dear Tracy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It is one of Universal Credit’s main goals to make people better off in work than on benefits so we are sorry to hear that you believe that this is not the case for your family.

      It is difficult to comment on your calculation without knowing the full set of circumstances that you have entered into the calculator.

      If you would like us to look into your case further, please reply to this comment with the full set of circumstances that you have entered.

    • I work as a researcher in a university at 40 hours a week with a disabled child. I’m going to be better off not working!
      Why did I bother getting a doctorate?
      I could be spending my time with my child and not stuck in traffic for 2 hours a day.
      Makes you think doesn’t it???

      • Dear F,

        Thanks for your comment.

        Will you be financially worse off in work or do you feel that the financial benefits of work do not outweigh the time you are losing with your child?

        • I imagine that once F has paid for travel and childcare, the financial benefit of working will have more than disappeared, eating in to the amount F would have had in benefits alone, and is thus better off not going to work.

          • Hi Mary,
            Without knowing the exact circumstances it is difficult to determine that. It depends on income, level of disability of the child, housing circumstances, as well as exact travel and child care cost like you pointed out. Unfortunately there is a chance that F might be better off not working – at least in the short-term (considering long-term prospects it should hopefully still be worthwhile). Universal Credit does generally have strong and clear work incentives, and in most cases it will have a positive impact on pockets and prospects. However Universal Credit cannot solve other issues like low wages and high housing costs.

  50. Like one of the previous posts, judging by the calculator provided it looks as if I am going to receive £300 to £400 less a month on universal credit than the current tax credit. I am currently going through the divorce process and trying to calculate a settlement based on ‘need’ and so it is important to know if come April 2014 I will be impacted by such a large change? (I work 32 hours a week and have 2 children under the age of 10 who live with me).

    I have also read that payment amounts will not change (a transitional top up will be paid? For how long?) unless my circumstances change. Please can you clarify what constitutes a ‘change’ that will trigger the change over to the new, seemingly lesser, universal credit payment? For example if I got a modest pay rise which amounted to post tax amount of £10 a month, would that be a ‘change in circumstance’ that triggered the lesser payment ?

    With thanks.

    • Dear Eleanor,

      If your Universal Credit entitlement is lower than under the current system, then you may receive transitional protection to top-up the difference between the old system and Universal Credit.

      Transitional protection will continue as long as the claim remains open and there are no changes in circumstance. However cash protection will not be adjusted for inflation each year, so its value will slowly decrease.

      According to the DWP, the following changes of circumstance will end the transitional protection:
      • A partner leaving or joining the household
      • A member of the household stops working.
      • A sustained (3 month) earnings drop beneath the level of work that is expected of them according to their claimant commitment
      • the Universal Credit award ends (the household no longer qualifies)

      If you were to receive a pay rise, your cash protection will not be affected but your Universal Credit award may decrease. For example, say you received £100 Universal Credit and £50 in cash protection, a total of £150. If your earnings increased by £10, you would then receive £93.50 Universal Credit and £50 cash protection, a total of £143.50 (plus your £10).

      You can read more about transitional protection in the DWP’s Universal Credit Briefing Note.

      I hope that helps.

  51. hi ive recently lost both my parents and as a result have inherited a large amount of money in the ball park of £50,000. i cant bring myself to spend the money due to the nature of their passing and would like to save it for my childrens education does this mean i will be punished for giving my children a better start by ensuring they dont have student loans. i would like a reply as i read that if you have savings over £16,000 you are not entitled to UC but i entered my savings on the calculator and it says iam entitled. if the former is true how does this encourage saving?

    • Dear Vicki,

      People with savings above £16,000 will not be entitled to Universal Credit. We agree that this does not encourage savings, and Policy in Practice have argued that this threshold should be higher.

      If you enter savings above £16,000 into the calculator, it does not display an entitlement to Universal Credit (but may show entitlement to Child Benefit or DLA).

      Please reply with the circumstances that you have entered into the calculator and we will look into the issue further.

  52. Hi,
    I am not working now and i am getting JSA, so if I choose in calculator that im working 16 or 40 hours in week it still count that i will get same amount like im getting JSA. So it means that if I start to work I still will be getting about 72 pounds in week or this is some mistake?

    • Dear Odeta,

      You may still receive Universal Credit even when working full-time (just as with Working Tax Credit under the current system). What elements of Universal Credit are showing in the chart? (Look at the legend below the chart to see which colour represents each element).

      It is hard to comment on your specific calculation without knowing the details that you have entered into the calculator. If you would like us to look into it further and explain your calculation, please reply to this comment with the details that you are entering into the calculator.

  53. Dear devon the uc helpline was honest enough and with a sense of humour! To say a full claim in runcorn is reallistically 2 to 3 years away maybe even by 2017! . As zero is onoffer from the current credit system but 650 pounds!!! From universal credit . Per month. A great idea that will come too late to save many like us. Total income is £ 23000 pa so zero tax credits/ housing benefit . Any ideas? .

    • Dear Paul,

      Thanks for sharing your situation with us. It is great to hear that you will be so much better off under Universal Credit than under the current system. Unfortunately, there is no way to claim Universal Credit before it is available in your area.

      However, an income of £23,000 does not necessarily mean you are ineligible for Tax Credits or Housing Benefit under the current system. This will depend not only on your income, but on your circumstances (e.g. if you have children, your rent, how many hours you work, etc.)

      Contact your local authority, or Citizens Advice Bureau to find out what you might be able to claim.. You could still be entitled to benefits under the current system, even with your income.

  54. I am slightly concerned that being a lone parent working part-time at 30 hours per week and just about managing on the benefits I get, that the Universal Credit calculator suggests I will be worse off by approx £40 a week but if I earned just slightly less then I could get more credit. This doesnt seem right. I struggle to get by as it is.

    • Dear Alipea,

      Thank you for your message.

      I’m not sure whether your question refers to being £40 worse off as a result of switching to Universal Credit or whether it refers to being better or worse off the more hours you work.

      If you are saying that you will be £40 worse off under Universal Credit than under the current system, it is important to note that if you are an existing claimant and there are no changes in your circumstances you will be eligible for Transitional Protection. This is essentially a top-up, to ensure that you are no worse off in cash terms as a result of the changes. In your case, if the changes make you £40 worse off, you are likely to receive £40 on top of your Universal Credit entitlement.

      The number of hours you work will affect your benefit entitlement but it will be different under each system:

      -Under Universal Credit, for each additional hour worked the benefit payment is reduced at a rate of 65 per cent for those earning under the personal tax threshold, and 76 per cent for basic rate taxpayers. So if you were to work fewer hours you will probably notice your credit entitlement go up.
      -Because of the way Universal Credit is structured, you should always be better off the more hours you work. So any withdrawal of benefits should be more than compensated by an increase in earnings.
      -Under the Current System, the various benefits are withdrawn at different rates. In some cases this might result in being worse off by working an extra hour.

      If you are still unclear, please reply to this comment with more details about what circumstances you are entering into the calculator.

  55. I am concerned that your calculator appears to ADD the childcare support element of universal credit to the “Take home Income”, but not to DEDUCT the actual cost of your childcare. This gives a misleading impression of what someone claiming childcare costs is actually left with each month, after paying for their childcare. Would you consider revising the calculator to add in the childcare support amount, but also deduct the actual childcare cost, thus giving a real “take home income” figure that is meaningful for a parent trying to see the financial impact of moving from unemployment into work?

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      We agree that it is important to have a realistic picture of the take home income when moving into work, which is why we do deduct child care cost from net earnings. If you have a look at Step 4 and go to “Click here to see a detailed breakdown”, click on the magnifying glasses next to the net earnings figure. You should now see that we deduct the amount that parents have to cover themselves (i.e. the difference between childcare support and actual childcare cost).

      The argument for adding childcare support to the income is that – similar to housing benefit – it is income, even if it can only be spent on childcare. Does this seem sufficient to you or do you think it is important to deduct the whole amount?

  56. Im so lost by all off this stuff.I did the calculater as i work under 16 hours (12.45 as work w/ends) Just been told i carnt claim job seekers and im living on fresh air with a 17 year old lad.There is no help for working all my life i feel depressed.The calculater says i am entitled to money but this isnt in my area i dont think.

    • Daniel Cavanillas

      Hi Wendy;

      It is difficult to provide any guidance without understanding your particular circumstances. You may be entitled to housing support, or if you increase your hours to 16 you may be able to claim Working Tax Credit.

      Under Universal Credit, the hours you work will not affect your claim – you will receive in-work support even if you work under 16 hours, provided that your income is low enough. Therefore, people in your situation are likely to be better off under Universal Credit.

      Daniel

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