What is Universal Credit?
It’s a benefit for working age people that replaces a number of other benefits and tax credits. It’s a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. The idea is to make it easier to move into and out of work because you don’t need to transfer to a different benefit as your situation changes.
Will it affect me?
Universal Credit will affect you if you are of working age (currently set at 18 - 60 years and 6 months) and are currently claiming, or want to claim, any of the following benefits:
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit.
When could it affect me?
Universal Credit is now being introduced across the country for couples and those with children in certain areas. To find out if you are in one of the areas where couples and parents can claim, see the list of jobcentre areas where you can claim Universal Credit. New Claims from single people seeking work should already be directed to Universal Credit in all areas of the country.
If you are making a claim to Universal Credit let us know.
How is it paid to claimants?
In the majority of cases, Universal Credit will be a single, monthly payment which is paid in arrears directly into the claimant’s account.
If you are part of a couple, living in the same household, and both of you are claiming Universal Credit you will receive one monthly payment.
Universal Credit will include housing costs, which means that you will be responsible for paying your rent directly to us as your landlord.
How to get ready for Universal Credit
There are things you can do to make sure you’re prepared for Universal Credit.
- Make sure you have a bank, building society or credit union account that Universal Credit can be paid into, and from which you can pay rent and other bills by Direct Debit
- Get online - you will have to make your Universal Credit claim and manage your account online
- Draw up and work to a monthly budget. The Government’s Money Advice Service has a useful tool: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/budget-planner
Where can I find more information?
Money Advice Service has a variety of helpful information and tools regarding Universal Credit such as:
- An independent guide illustrating how Universal Credit works and how to claim: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/universal-credit-an-introduction
- Advice for couples: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/joint-universal-credit-payments-for-couples
- A Money Manager tool which can be used by Universal Credit claimants to help them manage their finances: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-manager
For further information you can contact Money Advice Service direct via:
- The internet: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
- Telephone: 0800 138 7777
- Typetalk: 18001 0800 915 4622
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (Closed weekends and Bank Holidays)
The Government website also carries information about Universal Credit.