Universal Credit is a monthly benefit payment to help with living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re not working, cannot work, or on a low income. There’s a lot of information available about Universal Credit on the GOV.UK website, including eligibility information and how to claim.

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

When you get a ‘Migration Notice’ letter from the Department of Work and Pensions, you must move to Universal Credit within three months to keep getting financial support.

Who can claim Universal Credit?

Anyone can claim Universal Credit. To claim, you must:

  • live in the UK
  • be aged 18 or over (there are exceptions if you’re aged between 16 - 17)
  • be under State Pension age
  • have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investments

Universal Credit will help you pay for living costs like bills and rent. It will also help toward day-to-day living costs, like buying food and clothing.

What happens when I make a claim for Universal Credit?

When you apply for Universal Credit, you’ll be assigned a Work Coach. They will support you in accessing training, education, or job opportunities. They’ll also be able to help you understand more about Universal Credit.

When you make your first claim, it will take around six weeks before you receive your first payment. Your Work Coach might suggest you benefit from an advance payment at your initial appointment, which will help cover essential costs as your wait for your Universal Credit application to be approved. You’ll need to repay any advance payments, and these will be deducted from future Universal Credit payments.

Your Work Coach will also create a set of objectives that you need to complete in order to qualify for Universal Credit. These could include actively looking for work, or attending training, depending on your circumstances.

If you don’t meet these objectives, you might be sanctioned for a period of time and you won’t receive Universal Credit payments.

How is Universal Credit paid?

Universal Credit is paid on the same date each month, and you’ll get one payment per household. It is paid directly into your bank, building society, or credit union account. It is a standard allowance, which means that the amount you get will vary according to your circumstances. You’ll be responsible for budgeting your Universal Credit payment.

If you’re entitled to help with your rent, this will not automatically be taken from your Universal Credit payment. Unlike Housing Benefit which was automatically deducted and paid directly to your landlord, you’ll need to pay rent to us.

There are many different ways to pay your rent, but we recommend paying by direct debit as it is easy and secure.

If I get sanctioned, can I still pay my rent?

It’s important to meet the objectives set by your Work Coach to stop this from happening. However, if you’re sanctioned for a period of time, it’s important to maintain your rent payments. If you miss a rent payment, you risk falling into arrears, which can spiral out of control quickly.

You might be able to get a hardship payment if you’re sanctioned, but always check if you’re eligible.

If you’re worried about money, whether from being sanctioned or you need budgeting advice, we’re here to help. Please contact your Customer Account Manager who can give you support and make sure you stay financially resilient.

What if I don’t have a bank/building society/credit union account?

You’ll need a bank, building society, or credit union account to get Universal Credit payments. If you don’t have one of these, then you’ll need to open one.

If you need help with opening an account, you can contact your Customer Account Manager or speak to your Work Coach.

How do I claim Universal Credit?

You can apply for Universal Credit online. You can also claim by calling the Universal Credit helpline from Monday – Friday between 8am to 6pm. Calls to the Universal Credit helpline are free.

There are some documents that you will need prepared before you apply. Make sure you check what you need before you apply for Universal Credit so you’re able to complete the application.

Does Universal Credit pay for Council Tax?

Universal Credit doesn’t contribute toward council tax. If you need help with paying council tax, you can apply for a council tax reduction. This will give you a discount on your council tax if you’re eligible.

I’m worried about money. What other support is available?

You may be entitled to Discretionary Assistance Fund payments, which can help toward day-to-day costs of food and clothing, and also cover bill payments for a temporary period.

You can also speak to your Customer Account Manager who will be able to provide budgeting advice, make sure you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to, and help you stay financially resilient.

Our Energy Advice team are also available to help you save money on energy bills by looking at your energy usage, giving advice on how you can reduce the energy you use, and help you apply for energy bill grants and support.

What’s Managed Migration?

Benefits are changing, and legacy benefits are coming to an end. They are being replaced by Universal Credit.

This is known as Managed Migration, or Move to UC, and is a process managed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

We have information available about Managed Migration on our website, and the government have also published guidance about the Move to UC.

We strongly recommend reading this information so you are prepared.

Remember – you won’t be moved automatically, so it’s important that you apply for UC when you receive a Migration Notice letter.

Customer Services

Your Customer Account Manager

Our customer account teams collect rent and recover outstanding arrears. They are there to support you with any financial difficulties you may have, so please get in touch.

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