Universal Credit (UC) is a payment to help with living costs. It’s paid monthly.
You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work. The Government introduced UC in 2013.
How does it work?
UC replaces the following benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Budgeting loans and crises loans
Provided that your income and savings don’t go above certain limits, you can carry on claiming UC if you are working or out of work.
UC may help you if you are on a low income or move in and out of work. Your benefit will not stop and start every time this happens.
What will happen to Housing Benefit when Universal Credit comes in?
Housing Benefit is being replaced by UC. You can only make a claim for Housing Benefit if:
- you get the severe disability premium (or are entitled to it)
- you got/were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and you're still entitled to it
- you have reached state pension age
- you are in supported, sheltered or temporary housing
If you are not eligible for Housing Benefit
Any benefit you receive towards housing costs will be paid as part of your UC payment.
The housing element of UC will not be paid directly to us. It will be your responsibility to pay your rent from your UC payment.
There may be some circumstances when rent payments can be paid directly to us instead.
How do you claim Universal Credit?
You will usually have to be aged 18 or over to make a claim. Young people under 18, students and people from abroad (or not usually resident in the UK) are not usually able to claim. There will be some exceptions to this.
You won’t be able to claim UC if both you and your partner are over Pension Credit (PC) age. You will have to claim PC instead.
You will be able to claim as a single person or as a couple.
In couples where one partner is of working age, the other PC age, but the former isn’t working, you may receive £100 less per week. You will have to claim UC, rather than PC.
You need to claim for UC online and you need to advise of changes to your circumstances online too.
How do I apply for Universal Credit?
You can apply for UC online.
You might also need to attend an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus. You’ll be told if you need to after applying.
If your application is successful, you’ll get your first payment around 6 weeks after applying online.
A map showing free Wi-Fi and public computer locations across Babergh and Mid Suffolk:
How will Universal Credit be paid?
Payments will usually be paid every month.
In order to receive UC you will need a bank account, Post Office account or Credit Union account for the benefit to be paid into.
What will happen if you have a changes in circumstances?
You have a duty to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of changes in circumstances that may affect your benefit. If you don’t notify them without good reason, you could be fined £50. You can make changes when you log into your UC account.
How can you get ready for Universal Credit?
The Money Advice Service’s Online Money Manager is an interactive tool that offers personalised advice, on making the most of your money while you’re on UC. It offers help and advice on a range of money topics, including opening a bank account, managing bills and dealing with debt.