It replaces 6 existing benefits for new claimants and existing claimants who have 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
You should now apply for Universal Credit for support with housing costs if you need to make a new benefit claim, in most cases.
If you're a tenant, your payment will include an amount for your rent payment - but remember that you're responsible for paying rent to your landlord.
You'll also need to apply for Universal Credit if:
- you're already claiming benefits, and
- you need to report a change in circumstances (in some cases)
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.
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.
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