If you need to make a new claim for benefits, in most cases you should now apply for Universal Credit for support with housing costs. In some cases, this will also apply to existing claimants who report a change in circumstances.
Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for those who are out of work or on a low income, and replaces 6 existing benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
If you are a tenant, your payment will include an amount for your rent payment - but remember that you are responsible for paying rent to your landlord.
Making a claim for Council Tax Support
Universal Credit does not replace Council Tax Support, which is administered by us, so you should make a separate claim for this. If you pay council tax and you get Universal Credit, you will need to claim Council Tax Support or pay your council tax in full.
Find out if you can claim Universal Credit
Check the Universal Credit eligibility criteria to find out if you are eligible to claim Universal Credit.
Do not delay in making your claim as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) cannot backdate your claim except in exceptional circumstances.
Making a claim for Universal Credit
Payments are made monthly in arrears directly into your account; if you don't already have one, find out more about getting a bank account (Citizens Advice).
Changes in circumstances for current benefit claimants
Some changes in circumstances will mean that you will be able to claim Universal Credit rather than continue to receive Housing Benefit.
You may need to claim Universal Credit if any of the following apply to you:
- you start a new job
- you stop working or your working hours are reduced
- you are signed off sick
- you become a jobseeker after a period of sickness
- your household becomes responsible for a child for the first time
- you and your partner separate
- you are a lone parent and a child under 5 permanently leaves your household