Universal Credit includes help with living costs and help with housing costs.
Universal Credit has replaced 6 benefits for new working age claimants and existing claimants who have had a change of circumstances:
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
If you are already claiming one of these 6 benefits you should get benefits advice before making a claim for Universal Credit.
If you're a tenant, your Universal Credit payment will include an amount for your rent payment - but remember that you're responsible for paying rent to your landlord.
Find out if you can claim Universal Credit
Check your eligibility before making a claim for Universal Credit, to see how a claim would impact your finances:
- use a benefits calculator
- check our Universal Credit eligibility criteria
- get benefits advice
- visit Understanding Universal Credit
Make your claim as soon as possible as you can't backdate it except in exceptional circumstances.
Making a claim for Universal Credit
Payments are made monthly in arrears directly into your bank account.
Read advice about getting a bank account (Citizens Advice) if you don't already have one.
Making a claim for Council Tax Support
You can claim Council Tax Support for help with paying Council Tax. Universal Credit is separate from Council Tax Support.
If you receive Universal Credit and pay council tax, you'll need to claim Council Tax Support separately or pay your council tax in full.
Changes in circumstances for current benefit claimants
You may need to claim Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit if any of the following apply to you:
- you start a new job
- you stop working or your working hours are reduced
- you're 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're a lone parent and a child under 5 permanently leaves your household