Universal Credit is a new benefit that people of working age may qualify for that will replace a range of current benefits and tax credits. This new benefit is for anyone on a low to moderate income, no matter whether you are in work (or how many hours you work), out of work but seeking, caring or too ill to work.
Universal Credit is a single, monthly payment that includes help with your rent. In most circumstantces, you will have responsibility for paying your rent direct to your landlord.
The information below will help you prepare for the changes and what help is available to you.
What is Universal Credit replacing?
Universal Credit brings together six benefits and tax credits and replaces them with a single monthly payment. It is replacing:
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
Any benefits you receive which are not included in the above list will continue to be paid as usual, such as Child Benefit, Carers Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Council Tax Support and so on.
Universal Credit will be paid once a month, as a single payment, into an account that you choose. So, if you have a partner, and you have more than one account, you will need to choose which account it is paid into. Your first payment will be made one calendar month and seven days after your date of claim and then calendar monthly after that.
If you already receive one of the benefits Universal Credit is due to replace, you continue to do so as normal until you are told you need to claim Universal Credit instead. This change will take several years to complete – so it could be a long time before you need to be concerned about it.
Claiming Universal Credit
If you are making a new claim for Universal Credit or are transitioning from one of the benefits it's replacing, you will need to apply online. If you don’t have access to the internet at home you can use the computers at your local Jobcentre, a local community centre, library or local council offices to make the application. Boston Mayflower’s Community Hub at Chantry House, 3 Lincoln Lane, Boston, also has 10 internet-enabled computers which are available to use.
You will need to report any changes via the helpline - such as losing or getting a job, changes in your household, a rent increase, etc. Eventually this will be an online service. If you do not feel confident using a computer, watch for free computer courses in your area - and book yourself on!
Before you make your claim
Before you sit down to make your claim, make sure you have the following information ready:
- Your (and your partner’s) National Insurance number
- Your postcode
- Your landlord’s name and address
- Your eligible rent if you are living in social housing - this can be different from your full rent - make sure to check with your landlord so you get paid the right amount
- Details of any children/relatives/friends who live with you including their name, date of birth, age and income
- Account details of where you want your Universal Credit to be paid - account number and sort code
- Details of any savings
- If working, your estimated gross wage
- Details of any other income you receive
- Your email address, landline and/or mobile phone number
Once you’ve made your claim, most people will have to go to the Jobcentre for an interview, sign a ‘claimant commitment,’ provide documents and discuss personal budgeting needs.
If you are concerned about Universal Credit and how it affects you and your household, please contact the Benefits Liaison Officer or the FIT 4 Your Future team on 0345 604 1472.
We have included a helpful Introduction to Universal Credit leaflet which contains some Frequently Asked Questions.
Money Advice Service
Tel: 0300 500 5000 (English) or 0300 500 5555 (Welsh)
Department for Work and Pensions
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
For More Universal Credit information