Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a benefit for people in or out of work that is replacing some of the benefits and tax credits you might be getting now. These are:

  • Housing Benefit.
  • Child Tax Credit.
  • Income Support.
  • Working Tax Credit.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

Universal credit combines all these benefits into one monthly payment, paid direct to you. The amount that you get depends on your personal situation (e.g. if you have children or a partner) and, if you’re working, how much you earn.

If you are receiving any of the above benefits you may want to get some advice before you claim.


How Do I claim UC?

Claims for UC must be made online.

If you need help claiming online you can call the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644 – the helpline adviser may be able to complete an online form on your behalf. If you need help to claim you can contact one of the local advice services or call our Debt & Benefits Advice Team. We can help to make sure that you make your claim correctly and get all of the help that you’re entitled to.

The date of your claim is usually the date your online claim is received by the DWP.

Couples must make a joint claim for Universal Credit.


Backdating a UC claim

UC can only be backdated for one month, and only if one or more circumstances applied that meant you (and your partner if you are making a joint claim) could not reasonably have claimed earlier.


What do I need to know before I claim UC?

» The Housing Element of Universal Credit  (for your rent) is paid by default to you rather than to us as your landlord. You will need to budget for this and make sure that you are paying all of your rent.

» Universal Credit can only be paid into a bank account (Post Office accounts are not accepted)

Universal credit doesn’t usually send letters to you in the post. Their main way of contacting you is by text message and via your online claim

Your first payment of Universal Credit will take anything up to 5 weeks to arrive. It’s really important that you let us know if you claim Universal Credit. That way we will know that you might need some extra support over the next few weeks and, if your rent isn’t paid, the reason why you might have increasing rent arrears and we can work with you to help sort them out.