What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a new benefit that replaces the following six benefits:
- Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Support
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
Universal Credit is paid directly to the person claiming benefit and includes housing costs. It is normally paid monthly in arrears. If you receive UC you will normally be responsible for paying your own rent. Find out more about UC on the gov.uk website.
Do I need to claim Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is now available everywhere in Great Britain.
You can claim if you are below Pension Credit age and:
- You need to claim benefits for the first time
- You have a change in circumstances that means your existing benefits cannot continue
Don’t forget you still need to claim Council Tax Support if you claim UC.
If you are looking at UC housing costs and you have previously had a Housing Benefit claim, you may be able to reopen your old claim. Please speak to a member of our team to check.
Our team can also work with you to look at all your options if you can’t claim UC.
Get ready for Universal Credit
Get the right bank account
Universal Credit is paid monthly into your chosen bank or Post Office account.
If you don’t have one you will need to open an account. For more information on how to do this visit the Citizens Advice website.
You will need access to the internet and an email address to apply for and manage your account online.
Need help getting online? Please contact our Resident Engagement Service.
Once online you will need to:
- Fill out all the fields on your online account
- Use the online journal to keep notes and records of your actions
- Keep your work capability assessments up to date
- Always update your details if your circumstances change
Ask for Help
If you are struggling with your UC application, have had sanctions* applied, cannot pay your rent whilst waiting for a claim to be awarded, or would simply like to talk through the process with someone, please contact our Income team
*A sanction is a reduction of your UC benefit amount. It can vary in length and time.
Pay on time
If you receive UC, you must inform the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) whenever there is a change in your circumstances. This includes when your rent and service charges change. You must let them know of the change within 14 days to make sure you get the correct payment or you could be left out of pocket.
Find out more information on Payment on Time.
Set up a budget and prioritise your rent
Your UC payment will be paid to you and you need to make paying your rent your priority.
Set up a monthly budget now to avoid falling into debt on your rent.
Guidance for EU citizens
With Brexit and the tightening of Welfare Benefit regulations since 2014, it has become increasingly important for European Union (EU) citizens to ensure they are aware of their status in the UK. EU citizens who have grown up in the UK are often surprised to discover they need to show that they have the permanent right to reside in the UK – and finding the documents to prove this can be difficult.
Gov.uk’s page UK residence for EU citizens provides more information.