Universal Credit

If you are claiming/will be claiming Universal Credit, here's what you'll need to know.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) is a means tested benefit for people of a working age who are on a low income

Universal Credit is replacing the following legacy benefits:

- Housing Benefit

- Income based job seekers allowance

- Income based employment & support allowance

- Income support

- Child tax credits

- Working tax credits

Universal Credit will be paid to you in a single monthly payment, broken down into two separate elements:

Personal element – This helps to cover everyday living costs for you and your family

Housing element – This is the money that you need to pay to your landlord for your rent

When will I have to claim Universal Credit?

If your circumstances have changed and you need to make a new benefit claim it is likely that you will need to claim Universal  Credit. Likewise if you have a significant change in circumstances that will affect your current benefit entitlement you may be advised to claim it.

If you're unsure of anything or would like more information, our Financial Independence Team is here to help. You can also visit www.gov.uk/universalcredit

Universal Credit – full digital service

By the end of 2018 the only way you will be able to make a claim for Universal Credit will be online, as well as managing your claim through an online journal. 

Be prepared

Before making a claim you will need to be prepared so that you can receive your UC payments as soon as possible.

  • Access to a computer and the internet – To make and manage an online claim
  • An email address – To register and receive updates regarding your claim
  • Details of your household members – Dates of birth are required
  • Verification – As part of the claim you will need to verify yourself with the DWP – further information can be found here.
  • A bank or credit union account – To receive your UC payments into and to set up regular payments to your rent account via direct debit or standing order
  • Tenancy agreement – To provide proof of your rent and/or service charges

Your claim can take up to 5 weeks after providing all the supporting evidence needed. During this time you can apply for an 'Advanced Payment' which will be equal to your monthly payment and you can pay this back over 12 months. Find out how to apply for an 'Advanced Payment' here.

You may also be entitled to a 2 week ‘run on’ of Housing Benefit payments to help reduce any rent arrears on your account – maximum Housing Benefit will be paid minus any deductions for spare bedrooms and non-dependants.

If you are moving between Local Authorities this ‘run on’ will be paid by your old Local Authority, it is important that you contact them to request the ‘run on’ which may be paid directly to yourself.