Universal Credit is a new benefit for working age people who are on low income or out of work.
The scheme is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rather than ourselves.
Universal Credit replaces a number of existing benefits and tax credits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
If you are already claiming at least one of these benefits, or tax credits, and your circumstances do not change, the DWP will transfer you onto Universal Credit later.
Applying for Universal Credit
You have to apply online and it will take around five to six weeks to receive your first payment from the DWP.
Universal Credit is paid in arrears via single monthly payments direct to your bank, building society or credit union account.
Universal Credit does NOT include help with paying your council tax – for information about this please visit our council tax pages.
You will not have to claim Universal Credit for your housing costs if:
- in your accommodation you also receive care, support or supervision – you will need to claim Housing Benefit for your rent and Universal Credit for your daily living costs.
- you are homeless, or at risk or becoming homeless, and have been placed in our emergency temporary accommodation. Depending on your circumstances, you will need to claim Housing Benefit for your housing costs and either Income Support, Job Seeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance for your living costs. You can also apply for Tax Credits if applicable.
You can find more about Universal Credit on the government website.
If you have been awarded Universal Credit and are still having problems paying your rent, you can apply for discretionary housing payment to help with your housing costs.
For free general financial advice, you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau. They can also provide advice if you are having difficulties in claiming Universal Credit.