What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is the benefit that supports you if you’re on a low income or out of work.
It replaces income-based Jobseekers’ Allowance, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.
Please get sound advice before you apply for Universal Credit because not everyone is entitled to it and once you apply for it previous benefits will stop and there is no going back.
If you live in temporary or supported accommodation, you may need to claim Housing Benefit for help with your rent as well as Universal Credit for your living costs.
Everyone on one of the old benefits will have to claim Universal Credit by the end of 2028.
We have an easy, step by step tool for Universal Credit claimants to help you through the application process.
To find out if you’re ready to claim Universal Credit, the Department for Work and Pensions have prepared this short online questionnaire, click the button below to complete it:
You can find out more about Universal Credit here.
Will I have to move from my current benefits to Universal Credit?
The Department for Work and Pensions are in the process of contacting people of working age who are currently claiming old style benefits such as Tax Credits, Income Support and Housing Benefit to tell them they need to claim Universal Credit instead.
The first people likely to be contacted are those who receive Tax Credits without receiving other means tested benefits.
The Department for Work and Pensions will then start contacting people who are receiving other means tested benefits to invite them to claim Universal Credit. Those receiving just income-related employment and support allowance, or income-related employment and support allowance with Housing Benefit won’t receive their notice telling them to claim Universal Credit until 2028.
What should I do if I receive a Universal Credit migration notice?
The migration notice will tell you the deadline you have to claim Universal Credit by if you want to continue claiming means tested benefits. You’ll need to actively claim Universal Credit, and your existing claim will not just be transferred to a Universal Credit claim. If you havn’t claimed Universal Credit by the date on your notice, your existing benefits are likely to stop.
If you need help with making a claim for Universal Credit or further advice about your claim please see our section below on help with making a claim.
How do I claim Universal Credit?
- You need to claim and manage Universal Credit payments online here. If you’re classed as a vulnerable person or not computer literate, you should apply via the Department for Work and Pension’s telephone service: 0800 328 5644.
- You must have a bank, building society or credit union account.
- You need an email address and mobile number.
- You’ll need to make any claim for Council Tax support separately to your local council so contact them for further information.
If you don’t have a computer at home, you can try accessing one free of charge at:
- Your local jobcentre
- Your local library
- Through our Digital Support team
Please be aware that:
- You must apply as a couple if you and your partner live together – you don’t need to be married or in a civil partnership.
- You must respond to all requests for information on your claim otherwise your application will be closed.
How is Universal Credit paid?
Monthly in arrears as one payment per household, directly into your bank, building society or credit union account.
How is my rent paid if I’m on Universal Credit?
- Your Universal Credit will be paid directly to you. This means you’re responsible for paying your rent on time to us. If you currently receive Housing Benefit your council may pay your rent directly to us. If your Housing Benefit is paid direct to you, you will pay your rent to us.
- The easiest way is to pay your rent is by Direct Debit, see paying my rent and charges to set this up.
- Please contact your Income Officer before applying for your Housing Element (rent) part of Universal Credit to be paid directly to us.
- If you’re struggling to pay your rent then please speak with your Income Officer.
Is there any help whilst waiting for my first payment?
You will have to wait at least five weeks for your first payment. You can ask for an advance payment to help you manage but will need to pay this back a bit at a time from future payments. Please let us know if you need support, such as a food bank parcel. You can contact the Moneywise team by completing the form on your MyRaven online account.