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Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for the unemployed or those on a low income, paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

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.

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get help towards interest payments on:

  • your mortgage
  • loans you’ve taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home

This help is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

If you’re entitled to Universal Credit, you may be able to get other help and advice from the government, the local council and other organisations. See details of other financial support which is available (GOV.UK).

See further information about the Universal Credit claim process:

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:

Make your claim as soon as possible as you can't backdate it except in exceptional circumstances.

Your Jobcentre Plus or Tax Credits office will tell you whether you should start claiming Universal Credit if you're already claiming benefits.

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Being asked to move to Universal Credit

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may ask you to claim Universal Credit as part of its managed migration programme to move everyone on legacy benefits to Universal Credit.

If you're asked to move, you shouldn't initially be worse off on Universal Credit. If the amount you’re entitled to is less on Universal Credit than your old benefits, your payment will be topped up under Transitional Protection to make sure you don't lose out.

You won't be moved to Universal Credit automatically.

You'll receive a Migration Notice letter from the DWP asking you to claim Universal Credit within 3 months from the date on the letter.

You'll need to make the claim online, but there's lots of support available if you feel you will struggle to do this.

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Make a claim for Universal Credit

Claim Universal Credit

Get help claiming 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.

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Make a claim for Council Tax Support

Universal Credit is separate from Council Tax Support.

If you receive Universal Credit and pay council tax, you will not automatically be awarded Council Tax Support.

You'll need to check if you're eligible to make a separate claim for claim Council Tax Support for help with paying your council tax, or pay your council tax in full.

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Changes in circumstances for current benefit claimants

Let us know about a change in circumstances if you're currently receiving Housing Benefit.

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

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Also see